Let the Apple Car rumors continue to roll. Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,309,132) for a “passenger vehicle and door structure.”
In the patent info, Apple notes that cars, trucks, and other automobiles typically include doors whose ends are configured to transfer loading, such as standard dynamic and quasi-static loading during test procedures under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to static structures of a body structure of the passenger vehicle.
In four-door vehicles (i.e., those having two openable doors on each side of a vehicle to provide passenger ingress and egress), the body structure of the vehicle typically includes an intermediately positioned vertical structure (e.g., a "B-pillar") extending upward from a floor structure to a roof structure of the body, which transfers standard loading from a rear end of a front door and a front end of a rear door to the roof and floor structures of the vehicle body.
Other vehicles may include a movable vertical structure (e.g., contained in a front end of the rear door), which similarly transfers standard loading from the rear end of the front door and the front end of the rear door to the vehicle body. These vertical structures, however, impede passengers' view from inside to outside the vehicle, and can also define separate openings for passenger ingress/egress. Apple apparently thinks it can do better.
Here’s the summary of the invention: “The vehicle body comprises a forward base structure, a rearward base structure, and a floor structure extending between the forward base structure and the rearward base structure, which cooperatively define a passenger compartment and a continuous opening for a passenger to enter into and exit out of the passenger compartment.
“The front door is movable between a first closed position and a first open position. The rear door is movable between a second closed position and a second open position. When the front door is in the first closed position and the rear door is simultaneously in the second closed position, the continuous opening is closed cooperatively by the front door and the rear door.”
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.