A recently filed patent from Apple reveals the company’s plans for new tech that can read street signs and detect other vehicles when visibility is poor.
This isn’t necessarily a step towards Apple building its own car – something that was widely rumoured but unlikely to actually happen in my view. More likely, Apple will develop technology based on the CarPlay platform that can be deployed by multiple partners.
According to the report by Patently Apple, the system would use radar to read text under the snow or whatever is obscuring a sign and and relay it to the driver through a CarPlay display or some other device.
The system would use a retroreflector system to reflect radar and lidar (light detection and ranging) systems to detect other vehicles and information on signs to give drivers access to better information when driving in hazardous conditions.
Apple’s car tech, codenamed Project Titan, has gone through a number of changes with personnel and direction but it makes sense for the company to focus on in-car tech rather than building an entire vehicle.
Even success stories, like the Tesla, have taken many years to some to fruition and have struggled to gain teal mass-market adoption. It makes sense for Apple to stick to what it does best – tightly integrated hardware and software solutions – rather than move into an entirely new field where there is massive competition and very high barriers to entry for new players.
But this patent highlights that Apple is continuing development of its car technology and focussing on what drivers need through increased safety while potentially providing the technology that would support car makers in the further development of autonomous vehicles.