Apple Files a Patent for Augmented Reality to Enhance Driver Safety

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【Summary】Software giant Apple has filed a patent dubbed "adaptive vehicle augmented reality display using stereographic imagery".

Manish Kharinta    Apr 17, 2018 11:42 AM PT
Apple Files a Patent for Augmented Reality to Enhance Driver Safety

Software giant Apple has filed a patent dubbed "adaptive vehicle augmented reality (AR) display using stereographic imagery". The patent details an under-development technology which will utilize a pre-generated 3D model of the world to aid an augmented reality system which will deliver 3D content for its users. 

AR systems have been gaining popularity in the automotive industry and there are projects which are trying to incorporate this technology into the manufacturing process of automobiles. Apple, however, is developing this system to deliver enhanced information to occupants of a vehicle while driving.

 The car's AR system will constitute 3D data of road routes, points of interests and locations which can be sorted on basis of driver's preference. The data will be stored in a remote cloud storage and will be available to be accessed by the driver. The AR system is also capable of collecting data over time and even on the move. 

A self-driving car's LIDAR sensors will relay information to the AR system which will evaluate the data on basis of the driver's previous interactions and driving history and will project the vital information onto a screen an even the windshield in form of a heads-up display.

The AR system will not be restricted by the limitations of the car's sensor arrays. The system will be able to present the occupants of the vehicle with information about areas which are beyond the car's or its occupant's range of observation. This data will be presented in forms of images of routes down the path or images of roads in a distance which are obscured by buildings. 

The images are generated to provide occupants with an AR View of an area. This system will also be able to overlay a virtual car graphic onto a nearby vehicle if it goes out of the immediate field of vision or disappears behind a building to show the probable direction it might have taken.

The system also finds applications in scenarios where the visibility is compromised because of factors like poor weather conditions. In such cases and if the sensors on the car start malfunctioning, the AR system can pull pre-existing cloud data to put together an expected route and provide it to the driver. In cases of emergency, this system will help make cars safer by providing occupants more time for decision making.

The company is already heavily invested in the autonomous car segment. Currently, Apple is carrying out 45 self-driving vehicle prototype tests in California. All these vehicles get their own array of sensors which includes LIDAR and the cars monitor and record their surroundings on the move.

The ultimate objective of these tests has not been officially disclosed yet. Speculations claim that the technology will find its application in an autonomous taxi service, where third party OEMs will supply the vehicles. 

Last month, Apple filed patents for a car-to-car communication system, a gesture recognition system and another gesture recognition system which will better translate the gestures being made by a police officer who might be regulating traffic. It is safe to say Apple is heavily invested in developing autonomous driving aids for vehicles and might file for numerous patents in the coming future.

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