Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 11,226,625) for “guidance of autonomous vehicles in destination vicinities using intent signals.”
About the patent
In the patent data, Apple notes that motorized vehicles capable of sensing their environment and navigating to destinations with little or no ongoing input from occupants, and may therefore be referred to as “autonomous” or “self-driving” vehicles, are an increasing focus of research and development.
The tech giant adds that, given the multiplicity of choices that are typically available with respect to vehicle trajectories in real-world environments, occupant input or guidance with regard to selecting vehicle trajectories (without requiring traditional steering, braking, accelerating and the like) may be extremely valuable to the motion control components of such vehicles.
However, providing interfaces for such guidance which are intuitive and easy to use, especially within environments such as parking lots for which detailed and/or accurate mapping data may not be available, may present a “non-trivial challenge.” Apple’s idea is for systems and algorithms for using various types of signals from occupants for controlling the motion of autonomous or partially autonomous vehicles.
Summary of the patent
Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “Signals usable to determine a path of a vehicle towards a particular stopping point in a vicinity of a destination are detected from an individual authorized to provide guidance with respect to movements of the vehicle. Based at least in part on the signals and a data set pertaining to the external environment of the vehicle, one or more vehicular movements to be implemented to proceed along the path are identified. A directive is transmitted to a motion control subsystem of the vehicle to initiate one of the vehicular movements.”
When might we see an Apple Car?
On. Nov. 18, 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.