Let the Apple car rumors roll on. The tech giant has been granted a second patent (number 10,343,634) for “extendable bumpers for vehicles.” The first was patent number 10,336,290.
The invention includes a vehicle structure, a bumper, an elongate structural member, and an extension portion. In the patent filing, Apple notes that functions performed by bumpers include preventing damage to other portions of the vehicle during a low-speed collision, absorbing energy during higher speed collisions, and reducing the extent of height mismatch between vehicles of different sizes. The tech giant thinks it can improve upon current bumper structures.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “The elongate structural member is able to crush longitudinally in response to application of force in a longitudinal direction. The extension portion is able to crush longitudinally in response to application of force in the longitudinal direction, is connected to the elongate structural member such that the elongate structural member and the extension portion support the bumper with respect to the vehicle structure, and is operable to move the bumper between an extended position and a retracted position with respect to the vehicle structure to change a distance between the bumper and the vehicle structure.”
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.