Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,974,688) for “extendable bumpers for vehicles.”
Naturally, car bumpers are usually located at the front and rear of the vehicle and they’re designed to, among other things, reduce the extent of pedestrian injuries by providing a soft initial contact, absorbing impact to prevent damage to other portions of the vehicle during a low-speed collision, and reducing the extent of height mismatch between vehicles of different sizes.
Bumpers often protrude longitudinally forward with respect to other vehicle structures such as body panels, or longitudinally rearward of other vehicle structures. In the event of a collision at the front or rear of a vehicle, the bumper is often the first part of the vehicle that’s struck.
A number of vehicle bumper structures have been utilized. A simple design includes a laterally extending metal beam supported forward of other vehicle structures by two or more support structures. Many modern designs include a plastic bumper cover that conceals an underlying bumper structure that is designed to absorb impact by crushing, such as a cellular structure formed from plastic.
However, Apple thinks it can do better. How? By including a movable, inflatable bumper.
Here’s the summary of the patent: “A vehicle includes a body portion, an opening defined by the body portion, and an extendable bumper that is positioned in the opening and is moveable with respect to the body portions between an extended position and a retracted position. The extendable bumper includes an inflatable structure that causes movement of the extendable bumper between the retracted position and the extended position in response to inflation and deflation of the inflatable structure.”
Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today