Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has filed for a patent (number 20210201048) for “nighttime sensing.” It would provide an automobile with “night vision.”

Background of the patent filing

In the patent filing, Apple says that automated vehicles gather process large quantities of sensor data to identify objects in the surrounding environment. The processing of sensor data is often subject to a real-time constraint to facilitate navigation and robust control of the vehicle. 

And, of course, detaching objects such as people and other vehicles, is especially difficult at night, in dense fog, or other dimly lit environments. Apple wants to make sure any vehicle it makes is as safe as possible in such conditions.

When can we expect an Apple Car?

The status of an Apple auto is unclear. On June 2, Bloomberg reported that Apple has lost “several” top managers from its “Apple Car” project. Here’s what the report says: Apple Inc. has lost multiple top managers of its self-driving car team in recent months, a sign of attrition at the division involved in what could become an important future product.

If an Apple Car ever arrives, it probably won’t arrive until 2024 at the earliest. In fact, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo doesn’t expect it until at least 2025.

Summary of the patent filing

Here’s the summary of the patent filing: “Systems and methods for night vision combining sensor image types. Some implementations may include obtaining a long wave infrared image from a long wave infrared sensor; detecting an object in the long wave infrared image; identifying a region of interest associated with the object; adjusting a control parameter of a near infrared sensor based on data associated with the region of interest; obtaining a near infrared image captured using the adjusted control parameter of the near infrared sensor; and determining a classification of the object based on data of the near infrared image associated with the region of interest.”

The accompanying graphic is a diagram of an example of overlapping fields of view for multiple sensors of different types mounted on a vehicle. 

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today