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Apple patent involves ‘Multiband Adjustable Lights’ in an Apple Car

Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number US 11906124 B2) for “Multiband Adjustable Lights” in a vehicle.

About the patent

Apple wants headlights on an Apple Car to be more adjustable than those on most current vehicles. For example, the lights may be multiband lights that emit both visible and infrared light. During vehicle operation, infrared light from the lights may be used to illuminate objects that are monitored using infrared image sensors or other infrared sensors. 

Another example: an autonomous (self-driving) system in the vehicle may use infrared sensor information in performing autonomous driving operations. Visible light from the lights is used to illuminate objects for viewing by vehicle occupants and to support the operation of visible light sensors.

Summary of the patent 

Here’s Apple’s abstract of the patent: “A system may have lights. The lights may emit visible and infrared light. Infrared light may be used to illuminate objects that are monitored using infrared image sensors or other infrared sensors. Visible light may be used to illuminate objects that are viewed by users and which may be monitored using sensors. The lights may be adjustable. 

“An adjustable light may have a light source that contains an infrared light-emitting device such as an infrared light-emitting diode and a visible light-emitting device such as a visible light-emitting diode. A reflector may reflect light from the light source towards a lens. An adjustable light-blocking device may be located between the reflector and the lens. The light-blocking device may allow infrared light to pass unimpeded while adjusting visible light passing to the lens.”

When might we see an Apple Car?

Don’t expect an Apple-branded vehicle anytime soon — especially a self-driving one. Apple will purportedly roll out a “scaled down” Apple Car in 2028, according to a January 23 Bloomberg article by Mark Gurman.

“Apple Inc. is reaching a make-or-break point in its decade-old effort to build a car, has pivoted to a less ambitious design with the intent of finally bringing an electric vehicle to market,” he writes. “After previously envisioning a truly driverless car, the company is now working on an EV with more limited features, according to people with knowledge of the project.”

Apple had originally hoped to debut a long-in-the-works Apple Car in 2026, but plans and personnel on the project have changed multiple times. If the company can’t debut an electric vehicle with the feature set it wants, executives may “seriously reconsider the project’s existence,” Gurman writes.

The Apple Car project — dubbed (at least at onetime) Project: Titan — has had a tumultuous history. For example, in July 2021 it was announced that Apple Vice President of Technology Kevin Lynch would take a role in leading the development of the Apple Car. This happened after Doug Field, who had headed the project, left Apple for Ford.

Lynch joined Apple in 2013 after working as the chief technology officer of Adobe Systems. He has been responsible for, among other things, developing the Apple Watch software.

In 2016, Apple convinced Bob Mansfield, former Senior Vice President of Technologies, to come out of retirement to run Project Titan. However, he retired again in 2020 with (at that point) John Giannandrea, Apple’s senior vice president of machine learning and AI strategy, assuming command of Project Titan.

Article provided with permission from AppleWorld.Today
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