Apple may have cut 200 folks from its “Project Titan/Apple Car” team, but the tech giant is still working on automotive projects and has been granted a patent (number 10,189,434) for an “augmented safety restraint” for automated vehicles.
The invention includes a first restraint operable to secure a first passenger. The first restraint has an exposed surface facing away from a body of the first passenger. A gesture-sensing device is disposed on the exposed surface of the first restraint and is operable to receive an input from the first passenger.
In the patent filing, Apple says that, in the automotive field, recent vehicle designs have implemented features intended to enhance the experience of drivers and passengers. As an example, on-board entertainment systems have evolved from simple radio receivers to sophisticated multi-function devices that include navigation functions, multimedia file playback functions, video display functions, and telephone communication functions.
As another example, comfort amenities available in some vehicles include heated seats, cooled seats, and seats with massaging capabilities. Apple says that future developments, such as autonomous driving modes, will further increase user demand for an enhanced in-vehicle experience.
Upon development and adoption of fully autonomous driving modes, users will be able to treat travel time as leisure time, and participate in leisure activities such as communicating with other persons or consuming media content. And Apple wants to keep those enjoying iTunes and other company services safe on the road.
Of course, the company files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.