Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,423,665) for “intention recognition” for a vehicle.
About the patent
The patent involves autonomous navigation of a vehicle — in other words, a self-driving car. It particularly involves an autonomous navigation system that can be included in a vehicle and which navigates the vehicle in an environment, even when unexpected developments happen.
Apple notes that, in self-driving cars, in some cases, autonomous navigation is enabled via an autonomous navigation system (ANS) which can process and respond to detection of various elements in an external environment. These include static features (roadway lanes, road signs, etc.) and dynamic features (present locations of other vehicles in a roadway on which the route extends, present locations of pedestrians, present environmental conditions, roadway obstructions, etc.) along a route in real-time as they’re encountered. This replicates the real-time processing and driving capabilities of a human being.
Apple wants its Apple Car to offer autonomous navigation that includes navigating a vehicle in response to detection of one or more traffic participants in the environment through which the vehicle is being navigated. For example, where another vehicle is detected ahead of the navigated vehicle and is determined to be moving slower than the navigated vehicle, such that the navigated vehicle is approaching the other vehicle, the navigated vehicle can be slowed or stopped to prevent the vehicle paths intersecting.
In another example, where a pedestrian is identified near an edge of the roadway along which the vehicle is being navigated, the vehicle can be slowed or stopped in response to detection of the pedestrian.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s (technical) abstract of the patent: “Some embodiments provide an autonomous navigation system which autonomously navigates a vehicle through an environment based on predicted trajectories of one or more separate dynamic elements through the environment. The system identifies contextual cues associated with a monitored dynamic element, based on features of the dynamic element and actions of the dynamic element relative to various elements of the environment, including motions relative to other dynamic elements.
“A monitored dynamic element can be associated with a particular intention, which specifies a prediction of dynamic element movement through the environment, based on a correlation between identified contextual cues associated with the monitored dynamic element and a set of contextual cues which are associated with the particular intention. A predicted trajectory of the dynamic element is generated based on an associated intention. A targeted signal can be directed to a target dynamic element based on a predicted trajectory of the dynamic element.”
When might we see an Apple Car?
On. Nov. 18, 2021, Bloomberg reported that Apple is accelerating development on its “Apple Car.” The article says the electric vehicle will be self-driving and could roll out in 2025.
What’s more, in a note to clients — as noted by AppleInsider — investment bank Wedbush says Apple is likely to announce a strategic electric vehicle partnership in 2022 to lay the groundwork for an “Apple Car” release in 2025.