OpinionsPatents

Apple files for climate control system for an ‘Apple Car’ (no foolin’)

Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has filed for a patent (number 20210094380) for a “climate control” system for a vehicle. 

Vehicle climate control systems often rely upon one or more air-conditioning units (an “ACU”) and one or more heater units, to control a climate in various portions of a vehicle cabin. Such control can include directing air, at least partially conditioned or heated by one or more elements, into various regions of the vehicle cabin (“cabin regions”) via various air vents located throughout the cabin, heating various surfaces in the cabin through heating elements, etc. 

However, Apple says that, in some cases, climate conditions in a vehicle cabin may be relatively uncomfortable for the occupant(s), particularly when they initially enter the vehicle cabin after the vehicle has been turned-off for awhile.

What’s more, Apple says some climate control systems may be limited in a capacity to anticipate optimal configurations (e.g., operating settings) of various climate control components for various situations, and for various particular users. In addition, some climate control components, when operating at a high level of operation to rapidly change climate conditions, can induce an uncomfortable experience for some occupants, “thereby becoming counterproductive with regard to the purpose of providing comfort to the occupants,” the tech giant adds.

Finally, Apple says that at least some of the various climate control components included in a vehicle require substantial expenditures of energy, also referred to herein as energy usage, in order to function. For example, an ACU may require substantial expenditures of electrical power to function. 

Where such electrical power is derived from an onboard energy source, including a battery, which can have a finite capacity of electrical power to distribute to climate control components, utilization of such climate control components can have a detrimental effect upon the capacity of the vehicle operate various vehicle components associated with other functions, including driving functions, and may negatively affect the capacity of the vehicle to deliver one or more occupants to one or more destinations. 

If/when we ever see an Apple-branded vehicle, it’s likely to sport an energy efficient climate control system that can be automatically active and de-activated at specific times.

Here’s the summary of the patent filing: “Some embodiments provide a vehicle climate control system for controlling climate conditions in various cabin regions of a vehicle cabin, where the climate control system is configured to control one or more vehicle components to change the set of climate conditions associated with one or more cabin regions to approximate a set of optimal comfort conditions. The climate control system controls various vehicle components to control climate conditions, including window assemblies, sunroof assemblies, etc. 

“The climate control system determines optimal comfort conditions which optimize perceived temperature of various occupant body parts and maintain various climate characteristics within one or more sets of thresholds. Output configurations of various vehicle components can be determined based at least in part upon determined optimal comfort conditions of various cabin regions. Output configurations can be generated based at least in part upon various control mode priorities.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the news editor of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.