Apple Car could have battery-filled floor and reinforced wide-opening doors

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple is continuing to come up with new designs for essential elements of a car, potentially as part of its "Project Titan" vehicular efforts, with ideas surrounding how to improve the floor assemblies and doors that make up a considerable portion of a vehicle's body to be stronger and to accommodate more batteries.

A testbed for a self-driving vehicle system as part of Apple's 'Project Titan'
A testbed for a self-driving vehicle system as part of Apple's 'Project Titan'


The way a car is constructed can define not only the appearance of the vehicle, but also how it performs and acts for drivers and passengers. While technology has enabled for the design of doors and other parts to become lighter and to move in alternative ways, such as being able to have "gull wing" and sliding doors alongside standard hinged versions, there is almost always room for improvement.

Based on a pair of patents granted to Apple by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday, Apple certainly believes it can make doors and floors better.

In the patent titled "Passenger vehicle and door structure," Apple envisions doors for a vehicle that open outward with hinges on opposite ends of the vehicle. Rather than having a vertical door pillar that stretches from the floor to the roof, Apple's system instead creates a large opening without an interfering section of the body, as well as wider views through the window.

Under Apple's argument for the patent, it claims the doors in vehicles are usually made to transfer the weight of loads to static body structures, like a door pillar. In cases where manufacturers form a movable door pillar as part of the door's design, this can transfer the load of the door to the roof and floor of the vehicle, effectively accomplishing the same job but at the same time maintaining the need for a door pillar.

In Apple's suggestion for a door design, it proposes the use of doors hinged on opposing ends, but without the need for a pillar, nor a quazi-pillar built into the door. Instead, Apple suggests the door's structure can be strengthened with diagonal sections that extend from the top of the door closest to the hinge side, down to the floor where the two doors meet.

Apple's door patent showing where beams offering structural integrity would be placed.
Apple's door patent showing where beams offering structural integrity would be placed.


When both doors are closed, the doors are coupled together, and a tension is extended between the two doors. By being connected together, as well as to latch mechanisms in the floor, the doors provide enough rigidity to override the need for a vertical door pillar, without sacrificing the view.

Various variations of the patent suggest ways the structural beams can come together, including how sections can overlap each other and the floor structure, multiple structures within a door, and multiple latching mechanisms that couple depending on if one or both doors are closed.

The second patent, "Vehicle floor and assemblies thereof" is a more straightforward patent, describing how a floor of a vehicle can be designed to provide as much structural integrity from outward impacts and from torsion generated by normal driving. This is accomplished at the same time as creating as much space as possible between upper and lower floor assemblies for storing elements, such as batteries in an electric vehicle, but without wasting too much vertical space.

Apple's solution requires the use of a lower plate, an upper plate, outboard structures attached to the two plates and a vertical core that is also adhered to the two plates. The two plates can be made from multiple separate plates that are stacked and edge-welded together, with varying thicknesses depending on where strength in the structure is required.

A cross-section of Apple's car floor sandwich, showing the external side sections and the upper plate sandwich.
A cross-section of Apple's car floor sandwich, showing the external side sections and the upper plate sandwich.


The design could also include energy-absorbing and force-spreading regions, which can be used to mitigate damage caused through accidents, with each having differing compressive strengths. The balance is to have enough strength to prevent the compression of sensitive components like banks of batteries, which could be dangerous if pierced.

The patent also covers the manufacturing process for the floor, which includes the laying of adhesives, alignment of the core and outboard structures, heating and pressurizing, cooling, flatness correction, and upper floor assembly.

Apple files numerous patents with the USPTO on a weekly basis. The publication of patents may not necessarily be a guarantee that the concepts on display will make an appearance in a future Apple product or service, but they do indicate areas of interest for the company's research and development efforts.

The new discoveries go under the umbrella of "Project Titan," Apple's catch-all term for its automotive and self-driving vehicle work. While the project has largely centered around self-driving vehicle technology, there have been times where there was the prospect of an Apple-branded car.

Apple has previously looked at how to improve doors in cars in the past, and has explored the possibility of similar wide-opening vehicle entryways. In terms of car design, it has also rethought how sunroof systems operate in multiple ways, the use of smart seatbelts, point of interest capture systems, inter-car communications, fiber optic lighting systems, and augmented reality navigational assistance.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    Yes and the car could also be priced at $500,000, if the newest Mac Pro is any indication.
    chemengin1
  • Reply 2 of 30
    digital_guydigital_guy Posts: 147member
    Anyone have any idea if Apple is specifically conducting R&D related to  solid state batteries , or are they leaving this up to the market/industry as a whole?


  • Reply 3 of 30
    LatkoLatko Posts: 398member
    Anyone have any idea if Apple is specifically conducting R&D related to  solid state batteries , or are they leaving this up to the market/industry as a whole?


    Just as with Project Titan, they seem to hold their cards against their sleeves. So tightly that there is no opportunity to hint or inform enthousiastic supporters, or offer any perspective more than the ludicrous camera facade on the picture (which by current standards seems to stem from the last century...)
    edited June 4 lolliver
  • Reply 4 of 30
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 1,034member
    The design could also include energy-absorbing and force-spreading regions, which can be used to mitigate damage caused through accidents
    I thought self-driving cars weren't supposed to have accidents

    /s
    fotoformat
  • Reply 5 of 30
    Anyone have an idea why Apple would be working on wide opening doors?  Mass transit maybe?  Commercial vehicles?  Certainly not for standard cars.  Maybe I'm not thinking broadly enough but wide opening doors doesn't seem...
  • Reply 6 of 30
    buckkalubuckkalu Posts: 26member
    Electric cars are a scam.  Just build a car that uses gas.
  • Reply 7 of 30
    Apple will make a car that is a big ol' battery.
  • Reply 8 of 30
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 3,314member
    Anyone have an idea why Apple would be working on wide opening doors?  Mass transit maybe?  Commercial vehicles?  Certainly not for standard cars.  Maybe I'm not thinking broadly enough but wide opening doors doesn't seem...
    Rideshare vehicles as a service would be my guess. 
  • Reply 9 of 30
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 3,314member

    buckkalu said:
    Electric cars are a scam.  Just build a car that uses gas.
    Yeah maybe they should just build a faster horse. 
    Soliking editor the grateminicoffee
  • Reply 10 of 30
    boxcatcherboxcatcher Posts: 166member
    buckkalu said:
    Electric cars are a scam.  Just build a car that uses gas.
    Lol, what a limp troll attempt.
    Soliminicoffee
  • Reply 11 of 30
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 552member

    I’m kind of surprised that no one here gets that much can be gained by re-examining from the ground up every facet of automotive design.

    When young engineers enter the workforce at the big automotive companies they are shown the way it has been done for years.  And to second guess long held design rules and assumptions would be to pass judgement on the very senior engineers who hired them.  It takes time and patient to introduce changes in these large organizations that prefer stability to rapid change.  Apple will have none of those constraints.  They’ve never designed a car before.  What some see as a disadvantage is actually an advantage.

    fastasleepbadmonk
  • Reply 12 of 30
    hucom2000hucom2000 Posts: 65member
    JWSC said:

    I’m kind of surprised that no one here gets that much can be gained by re-examining from the ground up every facet of automotive design.

    When young engineers enter the workforce at the big automotive companies they are shown the way it has been done for years.  And to second guess long held design rules and assumptions would be to pass judgement on the very senior engineers who hired them.  It takes time and patient to introduce changes in these large organizations that prefer stability to rapid change.  Apple will have none of those constraints.  They’ve never designed a car before.  What some see as a disadvantage is actually an advantage.

    And they have never seen a car before either? Or hired people know know nothing about making a car? Well good luck to them then.

    Have you seen prototypes of companies you claim can’t re-imagine what a car could look like? 

    Imagination is not the problem. Anyone can dream. Design is hampered by practicality (or lack there of) once it goes into production.
    edited June 5
  • Reply 13 of 30
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,195member
    buckkalu said:
    Electric cars are a scam.  Just build a car that uses gas.
    You should send Tim Cook an email with your incredible insight, I'm sure their eyes will be opened.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 14 of 30
    roakeroake Posts: 668member
    Anyone have an idea why Apple would be working on wide opening doors?  Mass transit maybe?  Commercial vehicles?  Certainly not for standard cars.  Maybe I'm not thinking broadly enough but wide opening doors doesn't seem...
    ...doesn’t seem broadly enough?
  • Reply 15 of 30
    roakeroake Posts: 668member
    hucom2000 said:
    JWSC said:

    I’m kind of surprised that no one here gets that much can be gained by re-examining from the ground up every facet of automotive design.

    When young engineers enter the workforce at the big automotive companies they are shown the way it has been done for years.  And to second guess long held design rules and assumptions would be to pass judgement on the very senior engineers who hired them.  It takes time and patient to introduce changes in these large organizations that prefer stability to rapid change.  Apple will have none of those constraints.  They’ve never designed a car before.  What some see as a disadvantage is actually an advantage.

    And they have never seen a car before either? Or hired people know know nothing about making a car? Well good luck to them then.

    Have you seen prototypes of companies you claim can’t re-imagine what a car could look like? 

    Imagination is not the problem. Anyone can dream. Design is hampered by practicality (or lack there of) once it goes into production.
    That’s why the Blackberry is the best phone out there!

    Oh, wait...
  • Reply 16 of 30
    buckkalubuckkalu Posts: 26member
    So all of you making fun if my prior post saying that electric cars are a scam.  The whole impetus behind them is to avoid CO2 emissions.  Of course if any of you actually did your research you would know that the whole global warming thing is also a big scam.  CO2 comprises just 0.04% of our atmosphere of which the contribution of burning fossil fuels is a tiny fraction of that 0.04%.  Did you also know that there have been 5 ice ages throughout history and many periods where the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere was much higher than it is today and somehow life goes on.  The earth naturally heats and cools and this has been going on for over 4.6 billion years.  You also may not know but CO2 is the gas of life and essential to life on earth.  What do you think they pump into greenhouses?  I could go on and tell you that all this wind turbine and solar is also a scam.  Do you know anywhere on the planet where the sun shines and wind blows consistently 24 hours a day?  Didn’t think so.
  • Reply 17 of 30
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 358member
    I look forward to self driving vehicles. Hope Apple can create one and make me a bit wealthier in the process. As for electric vehicles, I like the idea that they make very little noise. I don't know about all the environmental stuff. I assume that there are serious pros and cons and we should remain leary of anything where the govt appears to pick winners and losers. So, I look forward to that electric vehicle, self driving, taking me where I want to go, while I listen to my favorite music in a very quiet cabin. 
  • Reply 18 of 30
    tipootipoo Posts: 1,058member
    My brain skim-melded this headline into "battery filled doors" and I was like uh, that sounds like a horrible idea in a crash, lol 
  • Reply 19 of 30
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,511member
    Yes and the car could also be priced at $500,000, if the newest Mac Pro is any indication.
    If they introduce a very high-end luxury car for their first iteration, it wouldn’t be a complete surprise. In fact, I think it was Apple’s model that Tesla copied to build their following.
  • Reply 20 of 30
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,511member
    jdgaz said:
    I look forward to self driving vehicles. Hope Apple can create one and make me a bit wealthier in the process. As for electric vehicles, I like the idea that they make very little noise. I don't know about all the environmental stuff. I assume that there are serious pros and cons and we should remain leary of anything where the govt appears to pick winners and losers. So, I look forward to that electric vehicle, self driving, taking me where I want to go, while I listen to my favorite music in a very quiet cabin. 
    It’ll be common in a short number of years, especially for well-traveled routes in which the onboard AI doesn’t need to make a lot of complicated decisions about responding to other unpredictable drivers. It’ll take a bit longer until it’s veey safe for such systems to mix with the larger population of drivers in more unpredictable settings.
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