'Project Titan' Apple Car may have wide sliding doors and an adaptive stability system

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2019
Apple's 'Project Titan' self-driving car could include course-correction systems to assist with bad weather or road conditions, while sliding doors could have extra sensors to ensure they adapt to open as widely as possible, despite the presence of obstacles.




'Project Titan' is the name given to Apple's long-term automotive efforts, which originally started with the design of its own Apple car but in later years moved towards self-driving systems. While the ultimate goal of Project Titan remains uncertain, Apple is continuing to develop ideas in both vehicle design and automated transit which could appear in a future car, van, or truck.

A patent granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday for a "Vehicle stability control system" aims to tackle the issue of unsafe road conditions. Wind and rain, as well as gravel or mud on a road surface instead of tarmac, and even uneven terrain when going off-road, can affect how a vehicle accelerates, brakes, and steers around corners, both for self-driving vehicles and manually-controlled craft.

Apple acknowledges the existence of electronic stability control systems, which determine the steering direction by measuring the steering wheel angle, estimate the vehicle's intended course based on lateral acceleration, yaw, and road wheel speeds, as well as if the vehicle is stable. In the case of lost stability, such systems can apply braking to individual wheels or request propulsion torque, depending on the situation.

A visualization of a vehicle determining its anticipated versus real trajectory over the desired path
A visualization of a vehicle determining its anticipated versus real trajectory over the desired path


In Apple's version, the vehicle has an internal reference model that determines states for an expected vehicle response. States can be determined by measuring sensors around the vehicle, with a "stability determining module" identifying reference deviations between the measured state and the model.

Commands to reduce the deviations are then sent to actuators to change the speed of individual wheels.

The same stability control system could also feed data to the vehicle motion control system to optimally brake wheels based on a desired turn or motion. Throughout the turn, the stability module can keep monitoring for deviations form the planned commands, and compensate accordingly.

A second patent for "Doors with adaptive positioning" suggests how sliding doors could be added to a vehicle. In Apple's example, it uses two doors on sliders, with one moving towards the front of the vehicle while the other conventionally moves to the back, leaving a wide opening without a central door pillar obstructing access.

In Apple's vision for the doors, the rolling hinges closest to the front and back of the vehicle can be shifted between states, angled so the doors line up with the rest of the car body when closed, or pointed outward for the doors to slide open.

In particular for this system, the tree guide rails used for each door also include a sensor system to determine the door's motion, to help prevent it from coming into contact with items like other vehicles or pedestrians. The sensors feed the door system with data, which is then used to control the actuator that determines the angle the door protrudes away from the vehicle.

Apple's doors could have actuators at the sides to allow them to slide out more easily
Apple's doors could have actuators at the sides to allow them to slide out more easily


This is especially handy for the front-side doors, as they may not open fully with a conventional rails system due to the wheels potentially being at an angle and blocking the path. By using the actuators to angle the doors, they can avoid contacting the wheels in such situations.

Apple files numerous patent applications on a weekly basis, but while the publication by a USPTO indicates areas of interest for the company's research and development efforts, it does not necessarily guarantee the concepts will make it into a future product or service.

Apple has previously made filings in areas related to both door design and transit safety. For the former, wide-opening doors have been considered, in both sliding and hinged configurations, and without the central door pillar getting in the way.

For stability control, two April filings revealed skid recover systems that used sensors below the vehicle to monitor the ground in relation to the intended vehicle motion. For self-driving cars, Apple has also looked into "confidence algorithms" that can help a vehicle process from sensors using just-enough data, saving resources for other areas.

Apple has filed many other patents in the driving and vehicle design fields, ranging from a remote driver taking control of a self-driving vehicle's systems to safely get an injured driver to a hospital, to the design of retractable bumpers that could inflate and reduce impacts.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    Re the wide opening sliding doors.  This makes a helluva lot more sense than the original story from June about wide opening hinged doors.  
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 16
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    Looks pretty desperate to me. 
  • Reply 3 of 16
    Above_The_GodsAbove_The_Gods Posts: 25unconfirmed, member
    When is the car doing to debut?
  • Reply 4 of 16
    prolineproline Posts: 201member
    Great artists ship!

    - Steve Jobs
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 5 of 16
    It is great. We were just yesterday joking with friend how will Apple Car look like?

    Of course NO WINDOWS!!!!!

    And thanks God Apple is not entering house building market. You know how houses would look like :D))))

    edited August 2019
  • Reply 6 of 16
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,176member
    Of note both of these patents were filed back in 2017, one in May and the other in January of that year.  That would be back before the rumored disbanding of the Project Titan team tasked with building an actual car. 

    None of the patents granted to Apple are relatively recent filings, "post-Titan team disbanding" (?), so whether Apple is still pursuing hardware that might potentially be used to build a real vehicle cannot be determined from the patents granted so far. Even the patent filings revealed this year are provisional updates to patents filed in 2018 prior to "new management" taking over the project. So much still up in the air. 
    edited August 2019 CloudTalkinknowitallAnotherBrick
  • Reply 7 of 16
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    If Apple doesn’t deliver on all their secret R&D on this, what in the world was the point?

    ”We spent $12 billion and have now determined that designing and building cars is far too difficult and outside of our area of expertise.”
  • Reply 8 of 16
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,502member
    gatorguy said:
    Of note both of these patents were filed back in 2017, one in May and the other in January of that year.  That would be back before the rumored disbanding of the Project Titan team tasked with building an actual car. 

    None of the patents granted to Apple are relatively recent filings, post-Titan team disbanding, so whether Apple is still pursuing hardware that might potentially be used to build a real vehicle cannot be determined from the patents granted so far. Even the patent filings revealed this year are provisional updates to patents filed in 2018 prior to "new management" taking over the project. So much still up in the air. 
    That means nothing. They just received a patent filed in 2014 on Project Titan dealing with car cameras. Should that indicate something? No. It shouldn't. It just indicates that prior art research can take an exhausting amount of time by the Patent Office before they deny or grant a patent.
    fastasleeplolliver
  • Reply 9 of 16
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,733member
    Oh and it’ll have a wall to keep the kids noise from bothering you, and wings, and, and lasers, lots of lasers. /S Speculation is cheap, I’ll wait until the thing is unveiled.
  • Reply 10 of 16
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    If Apple doesn’t deliver on all their secret R&D on this, what in the world was the point?

    ”We spent $12 billion and have now determined that designing and building cars is far too difficult and outside of our area of expertise.”
    Something like that.
  • Reply 11 of 16
    1348513485 Posts: 190member
    Unless the right and left mirrors have been made redundant by some other video tech, I imagine the angling has more to do with avoiding ripping off the mirrors than missing the tires.

    Some day.

    And I don't believe for a moment that the Titan team was disbanded as Gatorguy stated. Some people may have been let go or reassigned; happens every day in large corporations.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,176member
    13485 said:
    Unless the right and left mirrors have been made redundant by some other video tech, I imagine the angling has more to do with avoiding ripping off the mirrors than missing the tires.

    Some day.

    And I don't believe for a moment that the Titan team was disbanded as Gatorguy stated. Some people may have been let go or reassigned; happens every day in large corporations.
    I wasn't claiming it was being disbanded, simply repeating from stories published here at AI.
    https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/01/24/apple-lays-off-more-than-200-employees-from-project-titan-autonomous-vehicle-team
    edited August 2019
  • Reply 13 of 16
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,176member
    gatorguy said:
    Of note both of these patents were filed back in 2017, one in May and the other in January of that year.  That would be back before the rumored disbanding of the Project Titan team tasked with building an actual car. 

    None of the patents granted to Apple are relatively recent filings, post-Titan team disbanding, so whether Apple is still pursuing hardware that might potentially be used to build a real vehicle cannot be determined from the patents granted so far. Even the patent filings revealed this year are provisional updates to patents filed in 2018 prior to "new management" taking over the project. So much still up in the air. 
    That means nothing. They just received a patent filed in 2014 on Project Titan dealing with car cameras. Should that indicate something? No. It shouldn't. It just indicates that prior art research can take an exhausting amount of time by the Patent Office before they deny or grant a patent.
    Of course it means nothing. On that we 100% agree. Patents being issued now on filings made months or years previous isn't evidence of what direction the autonomous efforts at Apple are taking today.  
  • Reply 14 of 16
    gatorguy said:
    Of note both of these patents were filed back in 2017, one in May and the other in January of that year.  That would be back before the rumored disbanding of the Project Titan team tasked with building an actual car. 

    None of the patents granted to Apple are relatively recent filings, "post-Titan team disbanding" (?), so whether Apple is still pursuing hardware that might potentially be used to build a real vehicle cannot be determined from the patents granted so far. Even the patent filings revealed this year are provisional updates to patents filed in 2018 prior to "new management" taking over the project. So much still up in the air. 
    Thanks for the information. I was wondering why they were patenting physical concepts when they supposedly weren’t in the car making business anymore, just auto nav software.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,636member
    Apple is making a self driving lounge room on wheels not a car.
    All passengers will face the middle like the maglev craft in Minority Report.

    edit: check youtube realises bad memory. Anyway sort of like that.
    edited August 2019 fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 16
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,691member
    knowitall said:
    Looks pretty desperate to me. 
    You need a better handle.
    watto_cobra
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