Friday 20 May 2022 10:28 AM Apple Car could be windowless, patent suggests trends now
Apple's long-awaited Apple Car could have virtual displays on the inside instead of clear windows, according to a new patent.
The tech giant has filed a patent for a virtual reality (VR) vehicle system that matches up 'virtual views' with the physical motion of a car as it's travelling.
For example, if the car was careering down a hill, the system could project a virtual image of a rollercoaster ride.
Chairs in the car would move about to match the visuals, the patent suggests, much like an immersive '4DX' cinema experience.
But it would mean passing views of the real world – such as a beautiful medieval cathedral or stunning coastal hills – would be entirely replaced with virtual graphics.
Concept images of what the car could look like have been circulating on social media, leading to ridicule from some users - with one comparing it to a coffin.
Concept images of the upcoming Apple Car were created by Concept Creator and Letsgodigital (they are not Apple's own design; the tech giant has been notoriously secretive about the upcoming vehicle)
The patent includes sketches of a passenger in the Apple Car. Chairs in the car would move about to match the visuals, the patent suggests, much like an immersive '4DX' cinema experience
Apple Car is the long-rumoured self-driving car project of the Cupertino tech giant. It could be a vehicle or a self-driving software system available in other car makes.
Apple has enlisted the services of outside partners for elements of its car, including lidar sensors, which help self-driving cars get a 3D view of the road, sources familiar with Apple's plans previously said.
Apple Car will reportedly will be powered by breakthrough 'monocell' battery technology that could radically reduce costs and increase the vehicle's range before a recharge is needed.
It remains unclear who would assemble an Apple-branded car, but sources have said they expect the company to rely on a manufacturing partner to build vehicles.
The concept images pre-date the patent, although they show a black car with a sloped roof without much in the way of windows.
They were created by Concept Creator and LetsGoDigital, and are not Apple's own design.
Apple Car has been in development for the best part of a decade, but there's no word on when it might be officially revealed.
The new patent was granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office and listed on May 3.
'The VR system may provide virtual views that match visual cues with the physical motions that a passenger experiences,' Apple says in the patent.
'The VR system may provide immersive VR experiences by replacing the view of the real world with virtual environments.
'Active vehicle systems and/or vehicle control systems may be integrated with the VR system to provide physical effects with the virtual experiences.
'The virtual environments may be altered to accommodate a passenger upon determining that the passenger is prone to or is exhibiting signs of motion sickness.'
The car would be capable of 'projecting or displaying virtual frames to at least one window of the vehicle', Apple says, to provide 3D virtual views to passengers.
Passengers wouldn't have to wear a virtual reality mask; instead, the interior of the car would be the mask.
For this particular design feature to work, the car would be fully autonomous, and would drive itself along a pre-programmed route.
But it seems that the public aren't too keen on the potential design.
One Twitter user, @ItsDanSheehan, said: 'I always wanted a coffin that could commit vehicular manslaughter.'
@nowstartthegame also posted an image of a car sailing off a cliff with the words: 'love my apple car'.
And @OrdinaryGamers joked: 'I know Apple doesn't like Windows but come on.'
Apple Car has been hotly anticipated for years, so already several design firms have created artistic renderings of what it could look like
It seems that the public aren't too keen on being driven along without them being able to see where they're going. The concept images show a car akin to a 'coffin', one user said
Another Twitter user joked about Apple's rivalry with fellow tech firm Microsoft, which created the Windows operating system
'Shame about having to flip it over to charge': Apple's vehicle is expected to be both autonomous and electric
Motion sickness occurs when the brain receives conflicting messages from the ear, eyes, muscles and other parts of the body.
While in a car, passengers are sitting still in their seats, so their muscles tell the brain that they are motionless.
But on-screen movements make the eyes tell the brain that that we are moving, leading to confusion.