Self-driving cars and 'Project Titan' still a big focus at Apple, according to patent fili...

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The latest Apple patent applications published by the US Patent and Trademark Office feature a number of filings relating to its self driving car efforts, including gesture recognition for both passengers inside the vehicle and for pedestrians diverting traffic on the road.




The self-explanatory "Gesture based control of autonomous vehicles" application from September 19, 2017 describes a system for a self-driving car to be given instructions by a passenger in situations where a choice needs to be made. Noting that the cars could drive between locations with minimal direction from people onboard, Apple suggests there needs to be a way to tell the vehicle what course of action to take.

According to the filing, the car's screen displays a number of options the passenger may want the car to perform, such as selecting where to park the car when the destination is reached, changing speed, or to change the direction of travel. While some options will be presented when required, the user can also bring up a list of currently-appropriate actions to perform in various ways, including a verbal prompt, with options selectable by voice or by gaze detection, among other techniques.

A notable inclusion is the system's use of gesture controls, performed within a designated space called the "interaction zone" in the car. A hand entering the space can bring up prompts on the screen, which can be selected by performing specific hand and finger poses and movements.




Analyzing body movements is also a key part of the "Traffic direction gesture recognition" application, also filed on September 19 last year, where a self-driving car can follow the directions of a person on a road directing vehicles. While technologies including real-time traffic condition monitoring and GPS-based applications do aid self-driving systems in selecting routes to follow, they do not take into account instances where a person on the road is driving vehicles away from a spot.

This can include police and other officials directing traffic at an intersection where existing traffic management systems have failed, but also other pedestrians. For example, another road user could stand in the road and purposefully stop traffic from traveling down a route in the event of an accident, or after a concert or public event.

The application details ways external sensors of a self-driving car could detect the presence of passengers on the road, work out if they are acting as a traffic director, and attempt to recognize the gesture being performed. As well as acknowledging to the director the command and acting upon it, the director's existence and commands could also be transmitted to other nearby vehicles, allowing them to make necessary route changes before being manually diverted.




The "Cognitive Load Routing Metric for Vehicle Guidance," filed on September 21 last year, determines the best route to take to a destination from multiple options, based on the complexity of the route. Affecting both driver and self-driving systems, the patent discusses how a routing mechanism can take into account things that can make the road difficult to drive.

For example, using an infrastructure database, it can take into account the number of lanes on a roadway, the narrowness of a road, the existence of traffic signals, and street lights, along with real-time vehicular and pedestrian traffic data, and details of the kind of expected weather conditions for each route.




Apple's "Vehicle Control System" application from September 18 covers how a self-driving car can interact with other self-driven and manually-driven vehicles on a highway. Using the multitude of external sensors, the car tries to determine the motion of other nearby vehicles, and either reacts to their predicted movements or perform other maneuvers it needs to accomplish in transit.

Flowcharts accompanying the application show how a self-driving system should work for changing lanes, starting from receiving the intent to change lane then moving to determine the car's kinematic state, detecting vehicles in a target lane, estimate the headway, and then to determine how feasible it is to change lanes before performing the action.

The same system also has to take into account the potential overtaking maneuvers of other vehicles, or in cases where it cannot make a move, planning out how it will perform its intended moves in the future.

Sensor array used by Apple for self-driving system testing
Sensor array used by Apple for self-driving system testing


Apple regularly applies for patents, but there is no guarantee that ideas it files will necessarily make an appearance in a future product or service.

The company is currently operating a fleet of vehicles registered with California's Department of Motor Vehicles for self-driving system testing. It is unclear what Apple's intentions are for its self-diving technology, but current suggestions include a platform for ride-hailing services usable by third parties, and the rumored electric vehicle.

The safety of self-driving vehicles has recently been questioned, following a test-related fatality earlier this week. Uber has halted its self-driving tests in Arizona following the death, but based on video from the car's cameras, the local police chief suggests it is unlikely to have been the company's fault due to the pedestrian's actions.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,017member
    But what if someone shouts “Hey you!” and while I’m looking round to see who is trying to get my attention, he makes some gestures and sends my car off a cliff!

    Someone’s going to say it. 


    StrangeDays
  • Reply 2 of 18
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 408member
    I was thinking about how those LiDAR systems need to be drastically miniaturized at some point. One of the draws to driverless technology is energy savings, but a mere bike rack can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 20%. 
  • Reply 3 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,031member
    hexclock said:
    I was thinking about how those LiDAR systems need to be drastically miniaturized at some point. One of the draws to driverless technology is energy savings, but a mere bike rack can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 20%. 
    Expect to see some solid-state LiDAR units sometime later this year that are far smaller since they don't use the typical rotating mirrors, and far less expensive as well. Several companies have them in testing and near ready for market.  
    edited March 22 patchythepiratejony0
  • Reply 4 of 18
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 595member
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. How about improving trains, mass transit could use some of your hired geniuses work. Taking cars off our roads would be progress not wasting time and money on this dumb idea.  
    canukstorm
  • Reply 5 of 18
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 408member
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. How about improving trains, mass transit could use some of your hired geniuses work. Taking cars off our roads would be progress not wasting time and money on this dumb idea.  
    I hate to break it to you but not everyone lives in a city. Building mass transit is very expensive and not always feasible because of geological conditions, etc. 
    StrangeDaysmwhitepatchythepiratejony0
  • Reply 6 of 18
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 595member
    hexclock said:
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. How about improving trains, mass transit could use some of your hired geniuses work. Taking cars off our roads would be progress not wasting time and money on this dumb idea.  
    I hate to break it to you but not everyone lives in a city. Building mass transit is very expensive and not always feasible because of geological conditions, etc. 
    More people are moving to cities whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is debatable. There will be less need for cars going forward and mass transit will need to keep up with the demands of getting all these city residents from point A to B.  Self driving cars will not do anything than make roads more dangerous, drivers over confident in the software their car is using and not do a thing to reduce the continual need for more and more energy. The cost on our environment in my opinion is too high a price to pay by supporting a more car society.  Oh and not everyone lives in a place where they need a car. I never got a drivers license nor have driven a car. 
  • Reply 7 of 18
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,285member
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. How about improving trains, mass transit could use some of your hired geniuses work. Taking cars off our roads would be progress not wasting time and money on this dumb idea.  
    There are big sociological differences between urban termite hill dwellers and rural free grazers.
    cornchip
  • Reply 8 of 18
    spice-boy said:
    hexclock said:
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. How about improving trains, mass transit could use some of your hired geniuses work. Taking cars off our roads would be progress not wasting time and money on this dumb idea.  
    I hate to break it to you but not everyone lives in a city. Building mass transit is very expensive and not always feasible because of geological conditions, etc. 
    More people are moving to cities whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is debatable. There will be less need for cars going forward and mass transit will need to keep up with the demands of getting all these city residents from point A to B.  Self driving cars will not do anything than make roads more dangerous, drivers over confident in the software their car is using and not do a thing to reduce the continual need for more and more energy. The cost on our environment in my opinion is too high a price to pay by supporting a more car society.  Oh and not everyone lives in a place where they need a car. I never got a drivers license nor have driven a car. 
    But... The Tesla Fans are salivating at the advent of a Level 4 Autopilot. They want to sleep, read a newspaper and even do unmentionables while their or rather their shared car takes them to work.
    In other news Pink Unicorns have been seen flying over Tesla HQ.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 5,343member
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. How about improving trains, mass transit could use some of your hired geniuses work. Taking cars off our roads would be progress not wasting time and money on this dumb idea.  
    Quick question -- do you still ride a horse by chance?

    Sorry, but self-driving cars will happen. It's a no brainer. Is definitely a want. 

    Fortunately it's not an either-or decision with improving mass transit, dur.
    mwhitefastasleeppatchythepirate
  • Reply 10 of 18
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 5,343member

    spice-boy said:
    hexclock said:
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. How about improving trains, mass transit could use some of your hired geniuses work. Taking cars off our roads would be progress not wasting time and money on this dumb idea.  
    I hate to break it to you but not everyone lives in a city. Building mass transit is very expensive and not always feasible because of geological conditions, etc. 
    More people are moving to cities whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is debatable. There will be less need for cars going forward and mass transit will need to keep up with the demands of getting all these city residents from point A to B.  Self driving cars will not do anything than make roads more dangerous, drivers over confident in the software their car is using and not do a thing to reduce the continual need for more and more energy. The cost on our environment in my opinion is too high a price to pay by supporting a more car society.  Oh and not everyone lives in a place where they need a car. I never got a drivers license nor have driven a car. 
    Then you sound like the absolute least qualified person to talk about the needs & wants of auto drivers and owners, don't you? 
    king editor the grateRayz2016mwhitecornchipfastasleeppatchythepirateSpamSandwichjony0
  • Reply 11 of 18
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,017member
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. 
    Don’t worry. You haven’t burst anything. Progress has a tendency to march on regardless. 
    mwhitecornchip
  • Reply 12 of 18
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 595member
    lkrupp said:
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. How about improving trains, mass transit could use some of your hired geniuses work. Taking cars off our roads would be progress not wasting time and money on this dumb idea.  
    There are big sociological differences between urban termite hill dwellers and rural free grazers.
    Why do you always find a way of insulting people you don't know?
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 18
    hexclockhexclock Posts: 408member
    spice-boy said:
    hexclock said:
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. How about improving trains, mass transit could use some of your hired geniuses work. Taking cars off our roads would be progress not wasting time and money on this dumb idea.  
    I hate to break it to you but not everyone lives in a city. Building mass transit is very expensive and not always feasible because of geological conditions, etc. 
    More people are moving to cities whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is debatable. There will be less need for cars going forward and mass transit will need to keep up with the demands of getting all these city residents from point A to B.  Self driving cars will not do anything than make roads more dangerous, drivers over confident in the software their car is using and not do a thing to reduce the continual need for more and more energy. The cost on our environment in my opinion is too high a price to pay by supporting a more car society.  Oh and not everyone lives in a place where they need a car. I never got a drivers license nor have driven a car. 
    Once the hydrogen fuel cell is worked out and all cars eventually become electric, a great deal of your environmental concerns will become a moot point. 
    Congrats on never having driven. Since my workplace varies from job to job, I will need a vehicle to get me there. 
    edited March 22
  • Reply 14 of 18
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 595member

    Rayz2016 said:
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. 
    Don’t worry. You haven’t burst anything. Progress has a tendency to march on regardless. 
    Self driving cars is not really progress at all, you do not have a big picture look at what progress is if you think sitting behind a steering wheel and daydreaming is progress. 
  • Reply 15 of 18
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,031member
    spice-boy said:

    Rayz2016 said:
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. 
    Don’t worry. You haven’t burst anything. Progress has a tendency to march on regardless. 
    Self driving cars is not really progress at all, you do not have a big picture look at what progress is if you think sitting behind a steering wheel and daydreaming is progress. 
    Then it's a good thing there probably won't be a steering wheel to sit behind.  ;)
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 16 of 18
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 595member
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. How about improving trains, mass transit could use some of your hired geniuses work. Taking cars off our roads would be progress not wasting time and money on this dumb idea.  
    Quick question -- do you still ride a horse by chance?

    Sorry, but self-driving cars will happen. It's a no brainer. Is definitely a want. 

    Fortunately it's not an either-or decision with improving mass transit, dur.
    My point is there is a brain drain to solve a silly non-problem. How many of your reading this said to yourself or someone else as a child "someday I want a self-driving car"?
    Besides the freedom of owning a car a big part of it's appeal people tell me is "driving it". Why do (most men) rich people buy high performance sports cars in hope someday they won't have to drive them? Again self driving cars are for billionaire tech guys that have run out of or perhaps never had a great idea. 
  • Reply 17 of 18
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 595member

    hexclock said:
    spice-boy said:
    hexclock said:
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. How about improving trains, mass transit could use some of your hired geniuses work. Taking cars off our roads would be progress not wasting time and money on this dumb idea.  
    I hate to break it to you but not everyone lives in a city. Building mass transit is very expensive and not always feasible because of geological conditions, etc. 
    More people are moving to cities whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is debatable. There will be less need for cars going forward and mass transit will need to keep up with the demands of getting all these city residents from point A to B.  Self driving cars will not do anything than make roads more dangerous, drivers over confident in the software their car is using and not do a thing to reduce the continual need for more and more energy. The cost on our environment in my opinion is too high a price to pay by supporting a more car society.  Oh and not everyone lives in a place where they need a car. I never got a drivers license nor have driven a car. 
    Once the hydrogen fuel cell is worked out and all cars eventually become electric, a great deal of your environmental concerns will become a moot point. 
    Congrats on never having driven. Since my workplace varies from job to job, I will need a vehicle to get me there. 
    I agree finding a better (renewable, clean) way to fuel a car should be the priority. 
  • Reply 18 of 18
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,017member
    spice-boy said:

    Rayz2016 said:
    spice-boy said:
    I'm sorry to bust the Silicon Valley billionaire's bubble but we don't want nor need self driving cars. 
    Don’t worry. You haven’t burst anything. Progress has a tendency to march on regardless. 
    Self driving cars is not really progress at all, you do not have a big picture look at what progress is if you think sitting behind a steering wheel and daydreaming is progress. 

    Of course it’s progress. Automotive AI will lead to safer travel, a decrease in traffic on roads (since ride-hailing will mean we’ll be travelling in electric runabouts) and advancements in machine learning that will further benefit other fields such as medicine (being able to predict health problems years before they show symptoms), air travel and space flight. 

    You think it’s not progress because you lack imagination … and a driver’s licence. 
    cornchipStrangeDaysfastasleep
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