Apple has been advancing its innovations in the automotive field, as evidenced by several recent patents. One notable patent involves a unique airbag system for the Apple Car, designed to address the challenges posed by self-driving cars with flexible interior layouts. In conventional vehicles, airbags are typically located in fixed interior locations like the steering wheel or dashboard. However, the Apple Car's design may include seats that can rotate, slide, and recline into various positions. Apple's solution is to store airbags under seats, allowing them to deploy in front of occupants regardless of their orientation in the vehicle. This innovative approach seeks to ensure passenger safety in a more dynamic cabin environment.
Another patent granted to Apple is for a 'Thermal Control System' for the Apple Car. This system aims to improve energy efficiency, particularly in cold environments. Traditional heating methods in vehicles can consume high levels of energy. Apple's design involves a heat-pump configuration combined with heat reclamation. The system includes a housing with an intake flow path and an exhaust flow path, with various doors positioned to control the airflow. By reclaiming heat that would otherwise be lost, Apple aims to lower power consumption while maintaining comfortable cabin temperatures.
Additionally, Apple has been granted a patent for 'Authorized Remote Control' for a vehicle. This patent focuses on the navigation of a vehicle through remote control. It encompasses an autonomous navigation system that can control the vehicle's driving elements. The system allows for remote driving control in scenarios like health emergencies, where an occupant may be unable to manually navigate the vehicle. The remote control system can generate commands causing the vehicle to navigate to a specific location without manual input from the occupant.
These patents reflect Apple's ongoing interest and development in the automotive sector, particularly in areas enhancing safety, energy efficiency, and autonomous navigation capabilities. However, the actual production and release of an Apple Car remain uncertain, with various reports suggesting different timelines and development stages.