Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,124,035) for a “multi-stage active suspension actuator” for a vehicle.
About the patent
In the patent data, Apple notes that conventional vehicle suspension systems are passive systems having a spring and a damper that transfer and damp forces between the sprung mass (e.g., vehicle body) and the unsprung mass (e.g., tires, wheels, brakes, etc.). However, the tech giant thinks it can do better? How? In Apple’s words: “Handling characteristics of the vehicle and passenger comfort may be improved with an active suspension system that selectively controls force transfer to the vehicle body.”
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A suspension actuator includes an upper mount, a lower mount, a first actuator mechanism, and a second actuator mechanism. The upper mount is connectable to a sprung mass of a vehicle. The lower mount is connectable to an unsprung mass of the vehicle. The first actuator mechanism forms a first load path between the upper mount and the lower mount. “The first actuator mechanism is one of an electromagnetic linear actuator mechanism or a ball screw actuator mechanism. The second actuator mechanism forms a second load path in parallel with the first load path between the upper mount and the lower mount. The second actuator mechanism is one of a mechanical linear actuator mechanism, an air spring actuator mechanism, or a hydraulic actuator mechanism.”
When might we see an Apple Car?
The status of an Apple auto is unclear. On June 2, Bloomberg reported that Apple has lost “several” top managers from its “Apple Car” project. Here’s what the report says: Apple Inc. has lost multiple top managers of its self-driving car team in recent months, a sign of attrition at the division involved in what could become an important future product.
If an Apple Car ever arrives, it probably won’t arrive until 2024 at the earliest. In fact, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo doesn’t expect it until at least 2025.The accompanying graphic illustrates a vehicle comprising a transparent surface which provides an augmented reality display that modifies occupant-perceived information presented by a sign located in the external environment.
The graphic is a schematic view of a vehicle.