Technology

Apple Car Might Come With Seats That Vibrate And Even “Hugs” Driver

Apple Car patents project titian
Image Credit: MacRumors / YouTube video (screenshot)

Apple Project Titan has now been in the news for some years now, but so far, nothing concrete is known about the project officially. The source for news on the Apple car all this time has been rumors, patents and analysts reports, and now again; we have new Apple Car patents hinting at what the iPhone maker could finally have to offer.

Apple Car patents – what they tell us?

Last week, Apple was awarded two patents, one related to a strange type of seat, while the other was for a never heard of before sunroof tech. First, let’s talk about the sunroof patent, which is labeled as “Movable panels with nonlinear tracks.” Though the patent does not specifically mention sunroof, the wording suggests it to be related to a sunroof for a car.

“…a movable panel that is movable between a closed position and an open position, a first track, a second track, and an arm that is connected to the movable panel, the first track, and the second track,” reads the patent.

Apple’s patent details a retractable sunroof on cars with a unique design, which is narrower at the center and wider on either end. Such a design could accommodate bigger sunroofs. From the wording, it appears that Apple’s intention is not just to alter the shape, length, or width of the sunroof, but to completely redefine it.

The Apple Car patent shows a car with a rounded roof, in which a panel uses multiple tracks to slide along the top of the car. The car shown in the patent has a smooth rounded roof section. However, in reality, it is unlikely for a car to feature such a design. But, since its coming from Apple, anything is possible as the company usually includes its own products in the demonstration.

So, this might be a hint that Project Titan includes a car with a unique sunroof track system.

Seats that can hug drivers

Another patent that Apple received last week was related to the design, interaction, and customization of the seats of an automobile, possibly the Apple Car. The possible Apple Car patent details “Haptic feedback for dynamic seating system,” meaning a seating system that can automatically adjust as per the comfort of the passenger based on the data from the car.

Image Source: USPTO (screenshot)

Also, the patent talks about the seat-based warnings to inform the driver about a change in road conditions or a possible collision. For instance, the seat might alert the users by vibrating, or fold to ensure more safety for the passenger in the event of a collision. A seat folding in the event of a potential collision could also take various ways. For instance, the seat might be inclined more to ensure the safety of the driver. The patent states that such a safety method would mainly be applied when the car is in autonomous mode.

Such tech could come in handy in the self-driving car, a system that Apple has been known to be testing with Lexus SUVs. “…a dynamic seating system that includes one or more vehicle sensors that output information describing one or more operating characteristics of a vehicle…,” the possible Apple Car patent reads.

Under existing systems, cars usually give a beep sound when the vehicle changes a path. However, these new alerts could prove more useful under specific scenarios, such as if the driver is not fully attentive and is busy listening to a song.

Apple Project Titan – suspense continues

Patents awarded to Apple are no guarantee that the final product will include the tech talked about in the patent. So, these possible Apple Car patents must be taken with a pinch of salt like several others that Apple has filed with USPTO relating to the vehicles.

The majority of Apple Car patents are related to self-driving systems. For instance, a recent patent talked about a system which alerts others on the road about the self-driving cars’ intentions. Another patent last month talked about how a vehicle would change its driving style considering the mood of the passenger. In March, one patent talked about gesture-based controls.

Initially, Apple Project Titan was seen as an Apple-branded car, but after reports in 2016, it was largely suggested that the iPhone maker is working on self-driving vehicle systems. Apple is known to be using a fleet of vehicles to test its self-driving system. Trusted Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, however, still believes that Apple is working on its own vehicle, which could debut by 2023.