Apple invention is designed to reduce glare from an automobile’s mirrors

Let the Apple Car rumors continue. Apple has filed for a patent (number 20180304727) for an “active glare suppression” system designed to prevent glare from blinding a vehicle’s driver.

In the patent filing, Apple notes ambient light such as sunlight and light from headlights can reflect off a vehicle’s mirrors and into the eyes of a driver. A driver may also be exposed to sunlight, light from headlights, and other sources of glare through the windows of a vehicle. 

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Sunshades and window tinting may be used to reduce glare somewhat, but can be cumbersome and ineffective. Apple says it would be “desirable” to be able to provide improved ways in which to reduce glare in a vehicle. 

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A vehicle may have optical structures such as windows and mirrors that have the potential to allow glare from external objects to shine into the eyes of a driver or other vehicle occupant. A control circuit may gather information on where the eyes of the driver are located using a camera mounted in the vehicle and may gather information on where the sun or other source of glare are located outside of the vehicle. 

“Based on this information, the control circuit may direct a light modulator on a window or mirror to selectively darken an area that prevents the glare from reaching the eyes of the driver. The light modulator may have a photochromic layer that is adjusted by shining light onto the photochromic layer, may be a liquid crystal modulator, an electrochromic modulator, or other light modulator layer.”

As the Sellers Research Group (that’s me) has long said, I don't think that Apple will actually build its own automobiles, but will work with other manufactures to implement technologies such as enhanced CarPlay into their vehicles.

And, of course, Apple 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.