Apple Car may use exterior screens to signal other drivers

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
An Apple Car could provide detailed warnings of its actions to other drivers by using LED screens all over the vehicle to tell other drivers what the self-driving system is doing.




Apple's long-rumored vehicle is anticipated to include some form of self-driving technology, given that Apple has been testing it for years on public roads. While Apple's testing seems to be centered on reading the road and responding to conditions, there are other features of driving that inbound systems have to deal with.

One of the problems is indicating to other drivers what the vehicle will do next. Unlike seeing the silhouette of the driver ahead to get a small clue for where they are about to go, or other smaller driving actions, there may not be the same opportunity for contextual clues if a driver has to encounter a driver-less vehicle.

In a patent granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday titled "Exterior Lighting and Warning System," Apple proposes that it could be more explicit in what a self-driving system can tell other road users. Instead of the usual array of simple indicator lights, Apple instead believes it can do the same job using more complex lighting systems.

In short, Apple's system involves the creation of displays that are placed on and around the vehicle, potentially as an all-encompassing strip of lights. This long display could show a variety of information to other road users, not just that brakes are applied or that they wish to travel left or right.

An example of an informative light strip that encircles a self-driving vehicle.
An example of an informative light strip that encircles a self-driving vehicle.


This can include more detailed braking information, the relative speed of the car to another following behind, countdown timers for actions, and other messages. They can be text, but also could consist of graphics and video.

For drivers parking the vehicle, the displays could show a goodbye message, or welcome the user on arrival to the vehicle itself.

Originally filed on October 24, 2018, the patent lists its inventors as Clarisse Mazuit, Arthur Y. Zhang, Albert J. Golko, Bivin J. Varghese, Christopher P. Child, Collin J. Palmer, Daniel E. Potter, and Thaddeus Stefanov-Wagner.

The latest patent is a follow-on from a previous patent of the same name, granted on October 30, 2018 with the same inventors. While that initial patent covered the idea of exterior-facing indicator signs, the new patent largely deals with technologies used to create the signs.

LEDs on a transparent substrate could be visible when illuminated, transparent when off.
LEDs on a transparent substrate could be visible when illuminated, transparent when off.


For example, one version involves the displays consisting of LEDs placed on a transparent substrate. When mounted on the body or the rear window, it will allow the display to be seen through, and to become visible only when the LEDs are lit.

Alternative ways of doing the same thing include light sources emitting light into a light guide, or the use of a mirror to reflect light out of the vehicle itself.

Apple files numerous patent applications on a weekly basis, but while the existence of a patent indicates areas of interest for Apple's research and development efforts, they don't guarantee the idea will appear in a future product or service.

This is far from the only light-centric patent Apple has relating to the Apple Car, and is among a large number pertaining to car designs.

For the outside of the vehicle, Apple's February 2020 patent for "System and method for light and image projection" offers a headlight that highlights part of the road that a driver should pay attention to, such as road signs or obstacles.

Inside the car, a privacy-based variable lighting system could combine narrow light band use with window filters that block specific light bands, allowing occupants to see each other, but prevents those outside the vehicle from seeing the illumination.

Apple has also mused about adding lighting systems in seats, to tell passengers how to use seat controls, and to instruct them to buckle up.

Read on AppleInsider
patchythepirate

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,390member
    The example shown in The picture is likely illegal. There are color limitations to what can be illuminated, also. 

    If I had such a display, it would t be showing such an obvious message, but probably I would use it to insult the driver behind me.  It would jot be a good thing. 

    I welcome improvements and don’t mean to pooh-pooh such advances.  However, getting FMVSS rules changes is a difficult process.  Just ask the companies trying to eliminate side mirrors.  
    muthuk_vanalingamMustSeeUHDTVbaconstangdarkvader
  • Reply 2 of 16
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,225member
    It's my understanding that in a number of jurisdictions this sort of thing is illegal. The reason is they were afraid of people with illuminated signs sending "F-you", or "Learn To Drive AH" messages and causing road-rage. 
    muthuk_vanalingamMustSeeUHDTVFileMakerFellerdarkvader
  • Reply 3 of 16
    Dud, thats what white light in tail lights are for…..and sounds for EV. What’s next smoker??
    beowulfschmidtmknelsonbaconstang
  • Reply 4 of 16
    DAalseth said:
    It's my understanding that in a number of jurisdictions this sort of thing is illegal. The reason is they were afraid of people with illuminated signs sending "F-you", or "Learn To Drive AH" messages and causing road-rage. 
    That's too bad because drivers are getting worse and need to be informed what they did wrong (or they think they can keep getting away with it). People rarely honk anymore. I have see people take right turn from the far left lane and vice versa (probably due to a late reaction to GPS). Do those people not realize they can take the next turn or simple do a U-turn later? People changing multiple lanes at a time without a pause during traffic (and sometimes without a signal).... People speeding up when you signal to not let you into their lane....People occupying the lane before the merge when the other lanes are open (don't they know about avoidance).....or people using the merge lane or shoulder to get around people..... Tons of other examples.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Perhaps the James Bond rockets under the rear bumper are still the best choice to get rid of a tailgater?
    bageljoeybaconstangHank2.0FileMakerFellerdarkvader
  • Reply 6 of 16
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    DAalseth said:
    It's my understanding that in a number of jurisdictions this sort of thing is illegal. The reason is they were afraid of people with illuminated signs sending "F-you", or "Learn To Drive AH" messages and causing road-rage. 
    That's too bad because drivers are getting worse and need to be informed what they did wrong (or they think they can keep getting away with it). People rarely honk anymore. I have see people take right turn from the far left lane and vice versa (probably due to a late reaction to GPS). Do those people not realize they can take the next turn or simple do a U-turn later? People changing multiple lanes at a time without a pause during traffic (and sometimes without a signal).... People speeding up when you signal to not let you into their lane....People occupying the lane before the merge when the other lanes are open (don't they know about avoidance).....or people using the merge lane or shoulder to get around people..... Tons of other examples.
    If they weren't cruising along in the left lane, they wouldn't have to make a right turn from it.
    I still adhere to the model of "Stay right except to pass" -- but obviously I'm out of date.

    As for people speeding up when you want to merge into their lane:  I got a lesson in that 30 some years ago when I started spending time in Detroit on business:   In Pittsburgh putting on your signal meant "I want to get over, will you please let me in?"   But, in Detroit, it meant:  "Get the hell out of my way because I'm coming over!"

  • Reply 7 of 16
    1348513485 Posts: 239member
    As for people speeding up when you want to merge into their lane:  I got a lesson in that 30 some years ago when I started spending time in Detroit on business:   In Pittsburgh putting on your signal meant "I want to get over, will you please let me in?"   But, in Detroit, it meant:  "Get the hell out of my way because I'm coming over!"
    Oddly, in Minnesota the response is "Whaa?"

    Of course, we don't know how to merge either. A zipper merge is treated as if drivers still in the closed lane near the merging point are the butting into the line and deserve to be blocked by vehicles moving over to cover both lanes ("Don't even look at them Heather, it just encourages that type of buttinski driving. Make them wait.")
    GeorgeBMacFileMakerFellerdarkvader
  • Reply 8 of 16
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,500member
    13485 said:

    A zipper merge is treated as if drivers still in the closed lane near the merging point are the butting into the line and deserve to be blocked by vehicles moving over to cover both lanes ("Don't even look at them Heather, it just encourages that type of buttinski driving. Make them wait.")
    That's not really a black and white scenario.  There are situations where people are driving in the right lane and just happen upon something which blocks it (or it ends).  In that case it makes sense to allow them to zipper merge.  But there are other situations where people purposely change out of the left lane and into the right lane which is ending just to get a few car lengths ahead.  In that case, I don't let them over.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 9 of 16
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,150member
    Apple Car Case confirmed.
  • Reply 10 of 16
    Can hardly wait for ads to show up on the message strips...

    Also wonder how many languages will be available.  In Canadia, there will have to be at least 2.
    edited August 2021 darkvader
  • Reply 11 of 16
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,150member
    Can hardly wait for ads to show up on the message strips...

    Also wonder how many languages will be available.  In Canadia, there will have to be at least 2.
    Why would Apple put ads on the outside of their device? Does Apple ship any device that doesn't support the language(s) of the regions it's released in?
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 12 of 16
    Let's assume that this messaging idea actually gets implemented, I give it less than six months before it gets hacked and a whole lot of very inappropriate messages are made resulting in a significant increase of road rage.
    darkvaderMustSeeUHDTV
  • Reply 13 of 16
    eriamjh said:
    The example shown in The picture is likely illegal. There are color limitations to what can be illuminated, also. 

    If I had such a display, it would t be showing such an obvious message, but probably I would use it to insult the driver behind me.  It would jot be a good thing. 

    I welcome improvements and don’t mean to pooh-pooh such advances.  However, getting FMVSS rules changes is a difficult process.  Just ask the companies trying to eliminate side mirrors.  

    It's unreal that they're patenting this.  I mean, the whole "it's illegal" thing is why I didn't do this years ago.  I mean, who wouldn't want to push a button and have the back of the car say "BACK THE F**K OFF, A**HOLE!" to a tailgater?

    It's not even remotely a new idea, and it should absolutely not be patentable.

  • Reply 14 of 16
    If people are that serious about putting insults on the back of the car, why don't they just wire up their own LCD?
  • Reply 15 of 16
    1348513485 Posts: 239member
    auxio said:
    13485 said:

    A zipper merge is treated as if drivers still in the closed lane near the merging point are the butting into the line and deserve to be blocked by vehicles moving over to cover both lanes ("Don't even look at them Heather, it just encourages that type of buttinski driving. Make them wait.")
    That's not really a black and white scenario.  
    Yeah, it kinda is:
    Reducing congestion and crashes in work zones

    “Raising awareness for motorists to use the zipper merge in construction zones will help reduce crashes, speeds and congestion.” 

    --Brian Sorenson, State Traffic Engineer, MnDOT

    auxio said:
    ...  But there are other situations where people purposely change out of the left lane and into the right lane which is ending just to get a few car lengths ahead.  In that case, I don't let them over.

    And there it is.

    It's a "merge" not a blocking competition. Done right everyone wins--faster speeds, fewer crashes.

  • Reply 16 of 16
    Hank2.0 said:
    Let's assume that this messaging idea actually gets implemented, I give it less than six months before it gets hacked and a whole lot of very inappropriate messages are made resulting in a significant increase of road rage.
    Maybe not all Road Rage. It might also make connections. You be like okay that girl or guy is attractive....let me see if they are interested by writing witty messages....
    edited September 2021
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