Apple is continuing its development of technology that could end up in a potential Apple Car, including LiDAR barrier detection systems and touch-sensitive dashboards.
The company’s “Project Titan” initiative has long been a poorly kept secret, and is thought to be involved in designing systems and services for self-driving vehicles. Though concrete details are still scarce, it’s clear that Apple is still developing vehicular technologies.
In early December of 2020, for example, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a patent for a barrier detection system that could be critical for autonomous vehicles. The patent, titled “Barrier detection,” details a system that can use LIDAR to detect obstacles in a path.
“For example, lidar data may be used by an automated vehicle controller to detect objects in the environment of the vehicle and this information can be used for navigation and/or motion planning in a dynamic environment,” the patent reads
The system could take that LIDAR data and apply it to a bird’s-eye view map of an environment. From there, a machine learning could apply different classes to objects in the map based on their characteristics.
“This object classification data can be used as a mask for down-stream object trackers and/or map localizers. Analysis of these birds-eye-view maps may enable improvements in accuracy and efficiency of object recognition and tracking, which may in turn improve performance of automated vehicle control systems,” the patent contends.
The patent’s inventors are listed as Tarin Ziyaee and Tarek El-Gaaly. Of the two, Ziyaee has been previously credited as an inventor of an Apple patent related to depth perception for computer vision.
Apple was also granted a patent for a specific type of light guide display technology that could be useful in a vehicular environment.
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