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Apple Granted Autonomous Interface Patent

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

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Apple has been granted a patent (no. 20180164817) for “guidance of autonomous vehicles in destination vicinity using intent signals.” In the patent filing, Apple notes that autonomous cars or self-driving vehicles are designed to work in real-world environments without requiring traditional steering, braking, accelerating and alike.

However, the tech giant declares that “providing interfaces for such guidance which are intuitive and easy to use, especially within environments such as parking lots for which detailed or accurate mapping data may not be available, may present a non-trivial challenge.” However, Apple apparently believes is up for the challenge.

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “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.”

Although it is possible that Apple may not build a full-fledged car. Instead, it will work with current car manufacturers on hardware and software implementations. For instance, the tech giant has signed a deal with Volkswagen to make self-driving cars after BMW and Mercedes-Benz reportedly rebuffed the tech giant's requests to hand over control of the data and design of the planned cars. 

Apple tends to file for a vast number of patents with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. Nevertheless, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.

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