Apple Car could embed displays into the windscreen and other windows

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
An Apple Car could have displays embedded within any glass in the vehicle, with laminated glass sandwiching various other materials to block external light, emit its own light, or to display an image.




The assorted computer systems of modern vehicles are, for the most, still operated via a dedicated display. This screen is usually mounted in the dashboard or infotainment unit, and is very obviously a screen when it is turned off.

The need for displays limits how a car could be designed if it needs to incorporate them, and the parts used to create them give little room for maneuver other than dictating their size and placement in a vehicle.

In a patent granted to Apple by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday titled "System with windows," Apple envisions shifting the displays from physical screens to within windows. While this could easily involve dashboard units made with glass, it also has the potential to be used for the main glass panels used by the driver and passengers to see out and around the vehicle.

In Apple's proposal, a structural window layer and chemically-strengthened glass layer could be used to hold an "adjustable optical component layer." In short, this could be a display of some form, including an LCD panel with backlight, OLED panel, or an edge-lit light-guide plate, with any potentially able to display an image, a number, or some other form of visual feedback.

The final screen sandwich could contain many layers between two panes of glass.
The final screen sandwich could contain many layers between two panes of glass.


To assist this optical layer, Apple suggests elements could be added within the sandwich, either as an extra internal layer or as a treatment to the two glass panel's nearby surfaces. The layer could include an interposed polymer layer with a coating designed to block heat from the sun, as well as properties to create an antireflection layer or one that can block infrared light.

As these layers could be scratched or altered by exposure to the elements, embedding them within the laminated glass sandwich means they are sufficiently protected for everyday use.

In terms of the glass used, Apple suggests the chemically strengthened layer could consist of tempered soda lime glass layers or aluminosilicate glass. With minimum thicknesses of at least 1.5mm per layer of glass, this could result in a laminated glass panel that's the same or thinner than currently used automotive glass.

The patent lists its inventors as Peter F. Masschelein, Martin Melcher, Derek C. Scott, and David E. Kingman, and it was originally applied for in June 2018.

The optical layer could include a light emitter, liquid crystal elements, and color filters.
The optical layer could include a light emitter, liquid crystal elements, and color filters.


Apple files numerous patent applications on a weekly basis. While there is no guarantee at all that any concepts described in the filings will appear in a future product or service, they do serve as guides for where Apple's research and development teams are focusing attention on.

As to be expected, Apple has many patent filings that relate to Apple Car, covering many different design ideas and concepts. Naturally, some of these documents relate to improving how a car displays information to the driver.

For the glass, Apple has previously suggested in March 2019's "Lighting systems" that optical fiber loops could be used to display details within a transparent or translucent panel, with the possibility of it being embedded in glass. This means a fiber optic system could embed a display within the windscreen, without showing any components or hinting it is there at all, until it is needed for use.

An augmented reality system has also been proposed, overlaying route data over the real-world view of the road ahead. While it is seemingly relating to heads-up displays or Apple Glass, it is plausible such a system could be employed using an embedded display system within a windscreen.

The "Cosmetic integration of displays" from April 2020 suggests ways a screen could be hidden within the interior panels of a vehicle, so as to not display a large grey reflective square when the screen isn't in use. The seats may also be able to provide some visual information such as how to buckle up or to change its position.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    I wonder how this would increase the cost of repairs?  E.g., repairing a chipped windshield would now be replacing a “monitor/display”, not just a piece of glass. But I do like the functionality this brings.

    cornchipdewme
  • Reply 2 of 20
    There is no Apple car, there will be no Apple car any time soon, and most probably there never will be one ever.
    Lots of these patents are just being filed with the idea to license them out to others - yet no single carmaker has yet shown interest.
    Tim better depreciate/completely write off these car investments because he hasn’t the power to bring it to market in any practical form or shape and those who shape that industry have better solutions than Apple.
    It’s a multi-billion dollar baby never to be born
    edited August 2020
  • Reply 3 of 20
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,921member
    There is no Apple car, there will be no Apple car any time soon, and most probably there never will be one ever.
    Lots of these patents are just being filed with the idea to license them out to others - yet no single carmaker has yet shown interest.
    Tim better depreciate/completely write off these car investments because he hasn’t the power to bring it to market in any practical form or shape and those who shape that industry have better solutions than Apple.
    It’s a multi-billion dollar baby never to be born

    I believe time will prove you incorrect on all counts. 
    robertsmfastasleep
  • Reply 4 of 20
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,921member
    I’m guessing this tech will first appear in a pair of glasses... 
    martinp13SpamSandwich
  • Reply 5 of 20
    I wonder how this would increase the cost of repairs?  E.g., repairing a chipped windshield would now be replacing a “monitor/display”, not just a piece of glass. But I do like the functionality this brings.

    I just had a windshield replaced, it was covered by insurance but the MSRP one the glass alone was about $750.  You start turning those into displays and that number is going to skyrocket.  I could a separate piece of glass that "Floated" on the dashboard that could have the display in it, working more like a HUD, but I would not want to be part of the windshield itself.
    cornchip
  • Reply 6 of 20
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,567member
    There is no Apple car, there will be no Apple car any time soon, and most probably there never will be one ever.
    Lots of these patents are just being filed with the idea to license them out to others - yet no single carmaker has yet shown interest.
    Tim better depreciate/completely write off these car investments because he hasn’t the power to bring it to market in any practical form or shape and those who shape that industry have better solutions than Apple.
    It’s a multi-billion dollar baby never to be born
    I was just thinking the same thing. Apple has been F-ing around with this for so long without any sign of actually producing anything that now I don’t expect to ever see one. You are right, most likely they are just amassing a portfolio of technologies to license to others. 
    edited August 2020
  • Reply 7 of 20
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,523member
    DAalseth said:
    There is no Apple car, there will be no Apple car any time soon, and most probably there never will be one ever.
    Lots of these patents are just being filed with the idea to license them out to others - yet no single carmaker has yet shown interest.
    Tim better depreciate/completely write off these car investments because he hasn’t the power to bring it to market in any practical form or shape and those who shape that industry have better solutions than Apple.
    It’s a multi-billion dollar baby never to be born
    I was just thinking the same thing. Apple has been F-ing around with this for so long without any sign of actually producing anything that now I don’t expect to ever see one. You are right, most likely they are just amassing a portfolio of technologies to license to others. 
    Or not.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    anomeanome Posts: 1,486member
    I seem to recall a study from years ago showing that HUDs were problematic, even in aircraft, because the pilots/drivers would check the full instrument panel less often.

    Of course, you didn't then replicate the full panel on the HUD because that got too busy, and provided actual distraction from the view out the windscreen. The things a HUD is actually useful for, also don't have much use in a car - range finding, targetting, etc.
    DAalsethspliff monkey
  • Reply 9 of 20
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,213member
    There is no Apple car, there will be no Apple car any time soon, and most probably there never will be one ever.
    Lots of these patents are just being filed with the idea to license them out to others - yet no single carmaker has yet shown interest.
    Tim better depreciate/completely write off these car investments because he hasn’t the power to bring it to market in any practical form or shape and those who shape that industry have better solutions than Apple.
    It’s a multi-billion dollar baby never to be born
    This is ridiculous to anyone with eyes and ears.
    mr. me
  • Reply 10 of 20
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,213member

    DAalseth said:
    There is no Apple car, there will be no Apple car any time soon, and most probably there never will be one ever.
    Lots of these patents are just being filed with the idea to license them out to others - yet no single carmaker has yet shown interest.
    Tim better depreciate/completely write off these car investments because he hasn’t the power to bring it to market in any practical form or shape and those who shape that industry have better solutions than Apple.
    It’s a multi-billion dollar baby never to be born
    I was just thinking the same thing. Apple has been F-ing around with this for so long without any sign of actually producing anything that now I don’t expect to ever see one. You are right, most likely they are just amassing a portfolio of technologies to license to others. 
    Have you just met Apple? Because that sounds like the opposite of what they do.
    spliff monkeymr. me
  • Reply 11 of 20
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,213member
    anome said:
    I seem to recall a study from years ago showing that HUDs were problematic, even in aircraft, because the pilots/drivers would check the full instrument panel less often.

    Of course, you didn't then replicate the full panel on the HUD because that got too busy, and provided actual distraction from the view out the windscreen. The things a HUD is actually useful for, also don't have much use in a car - range finding, targetting, etc.
    Why would you need to check a full instrument panel often?
  • Reply 12 of 20
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,979member
    cornchip said:
    I’m guessing this tech will first appear in a pair of glasses... 
    Or new iMac design. Display is a single sheet of laminated glass glued to the processing box.

  • Reply 13 of 20
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,788member
    anome said:
    I seem to recall a study from years ago showing that HUDs were problematic, even in aircraft, because the pilots/drivers would check the full instrument panel less often.

    Of course, you didn't then replicate the full panel on the HUD because that got too busy, and provided actual distraction from the view out the windscreen. The things a HUD is actually useful for, also don't have much use in a car - range finding, targetting, etc.
    Why would you need to check a full instrument panel often?
    To check which weapon systems are active.
    spliff monkey
  • Reply 14 of 20
    I just had a windshield replaced, it was covered by insurance but the MSRP one the glass alone was about $750.  You start turning those into displays and that number is going to skyrocket.  I could a separate piece of glass that "Floated" on the dashboard that could have the display in it, working more like a HUD, but I would not want to be part of the windshield itself.
    I drive a car with a HUD and it is great. Tech does not need to be embedded into the windscreen. That is as you found out a replacable item. It is designed that way. Until we have a non chippable (as in stone damage), non breakable windscreen then there should be no more tech embedded in it. Getting the rain sensors to work after a replacement screen it fittied can be a PITA.
    The proposed HUD for the VW ID.x series looks brilliant. It uses augmented reality to help guide you.
  • Reply 15 of 20
    I wish they'd hurry tf up with whatever they're doing.  I'd like a reliable, working, self-driving car sometime before I die. 😝
  • Reply 16 of 20
    If the cost of replacing a windshield and car insurance isn't expensive enough already....
    edited August 2020
  • Reply 17 of 20
    anome said:
    I seem to recall a study from years ago showing that HUDs were problematic, even in aircraft, because the pilots/drivers would check the full instrument panel less often.

    Of course, you didn't then replicate the full panel on the HUD because that got too busy, and provided actual distraction from the view out the windscreen. The things a HUD is actually useful for, also don't have much use in a car - range finding, targetting, etc.
    It's called target fixation.  

  • Reply 18 of 20
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,407member
    cornchip said:
    There is no Apple car, there will be no Apple car any time soon, and most probably there never will be one ever.
    Lots of these patents are just being filed with the idea to license them out to others - yet no single carmaker has yet shown interest.
    Tim better depreciate/completely write off these car investments because he hasn’t the power to bring it to market in any practical form or shape and those who shape that industry have better solutions than Apple.
    It’s a multi-billion dollar baby never to be born

    I believe time will prove you incorrect on all counts. 
    Would Tim be willing to bet it all on an “Apple Transit”? He hasn’t demonstrated a lot of willingness for high-risk decisions.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,979member
    There is no Apple car, there will be no Apple car any time soon, and most probably there never will be one ever.
    Lots of these patents are just being filed with the idea to license them out to others - yet no single carmaker has yet shown interest.
    Tim better depreciate/completely write off these car investments because he hasn’t the power to bring it to market in any practical form or shape and those who shape that industry have better solutions than Apple.
    It’s a multi-billion dollar baby never to be born
    I'd think Apple is waiting till it is driverless. So they can sell it as mobile personal space, not a car?
    They want to win the living room by giving it wheels and make the garage a habitable part of your house.

    Everyone else can battle for carshare sales to take care of peoples transport needs (the second car) Apple wants the first car slot the one you own for emotional as much as practical reasons. They want you to be able to relax enjoy your time with the other passengers/family/ friends you travel with.

    That to me seems like a fight they could win or at least make buckets of profit from.
  • Reply 20 of 20
    mr. memr. me Posts: 3,221member
    anome said:
    I seem to recall a study from years ago showing that HUDs were problematic, even in aircraft, because the pilots/drivers would check the full instrument panel less often.

    Of course, you didn't then replicate the full panel on the HUD because that got too busy, and provided actual distraction from the view out the windscreen. The things a HUD is actually useful for, also don't have much use in a car - range finding, targetting, etc.
    Having owned severals cars with HUDs, I can state without fear of contradiction that HUDs are great. 
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