Apple’s secretive car project seems to be accelerating. The fabled car was at times rumored to be all-electric and self-driving, but the company has hit roadblocks. However a recently unearthed patent indicates what might be in store for a futuristic Apple car that some of the most venerated Apple analysts say could hit the roads as early as 2023.
This latest patent revealed a system for developing headlights that make use of artificial intelligence and facial recognition systems to assist drivers on the road. First spotted by Patently Apple, patent details how the how the Apple Car’s front lights could make use of machine learning and Face ID tech in iPhones. This could be used to illuminate obstacles on the road during foggy or raining nights, but also have much more futuristic applications, for example to identify pedestrians crossing the street.
Unlike the headlights of most cars available today that shine a uniform cone of light ahead of the vehicle, the patent indicates that Apple Car’s light system will use computer vision to direct light where it is most needed. The patent document explains that when it spots a reflective traffic signal, like a spot sign, it will prioritize more light in that specific area rather than just spreading it across its entire field of view.
This lighting arrangement could potentially be complemented by an augmented reality head-up display system. This would provide drivers with real-time notifications about what’s happening on the road. An Apple AR system like this could make its first debut in the form of a headset as early as 2020. That tech could then be repurposed onto the Apple Car’s windshield.
According to previous a previous report by TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the heralded Apple’s vehicle is said to hit the asphalt somewhere between 2023 and 2025. This patent is further proof that the company is steadily working towards its automotive ambitions.
In a few years the Apple store might look more like an auto dealership.