Patently Apple’s “Project Titan” archive holds dozens of Apple patents regarding future Apple vehicles from semi-autonomous to fully autonomous and electric vehicles. One of the many technologies that Apple has filed patents for is LiDAR in vehicles. Back in 2018 we posted a report covering two LiDAR patents. The first covered “Enabling LiDAR Detection and the second covered “Adaptive Vehicle AR Display using 3D Imagery.”
From an article in Patently Apple.
In the big picture, LiDAR uses a pulsed laser to detect distance, velocity and angle with high precision. LiDAR can classify objects, detect lane markings, and may also be used to accurately position an autonomous vehicle relative to a high definition map. LiDAR is a critical sensor for enabling autonomous vehicles.
Today Apple was granted patent 10,712,446, another LiDAR related patent titled “Remote sensing for detection and ranging of objects.”
One remote sensing application of more recent interest is terrestrial vehicle navigation. While automobiles have employed different types of remote sensing systems to detect obstacles and the like for years, sensing systems capable of facilitating more complicated functionality, such as autonomous vehicle control, remain elusive. This is the issue that Apple’s patent addresses.
Apple’s invention involves systems and methods for remote sensing of objects. In at least some embodiments, remote sensing is performed using a camera (e.g., an infrared camera) and associated light source, wherein an exposure window for the camera is timed relative to pulsing of the light source to enhance the ranging information yielded.
In some examples, the cameras may be employed in conjunction with light radar (LiDAR) systems to identify regions of interest that, when coupled with the enhanced ranging information (e.g., range-gated information), may be probed using the LiDAR systems to further improve the ranging information.
Apple’s patent discusses an autonomous vehicle in connection with other sensing devices, to facilitate control of acceleration, braking, steering, navigation, and other functions of the vehicle in various challenging environmental conditions during the day or at night.
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