Apple may be closer to getting involved in the automotive market with a new patent that is meant to eliminate a car’s blind spots.
The patent, first reported by Patently Apple, is titled “Systems for improving side-mirror functionality of a vehicle.” Here’s how it works: The technology essentially projects images of the surrounding environment within the car’s blind spots onto the vehicle’s window or windshield.
There’s also some facial recognition technology involved, with a camera mounted on the windshield facing toward the driver that would be able to detect the driver’s face and facial features. By reading the driver’s face, the side mirrors would be able to retract or extend.
The patent’s technology seems similar to one that 14-year-old Alaina Gassler invented. Gassler’s idea focuses on a webcam outside of the passenger side and a projector that projects that webcam’s footage to the inside of the front pillar of the car, which is often a blind spot to drivers.
While Apple’s patent seems to be the same type of concept of displaying blind spot footage to where the driver can see it, Apple applied for the patent in 2016 while Gassler’s invention was created in 2019.
Apple’s patent is also supposedly meant for both driver and autonomous driving modes. The one question is, though, is this patent a very early glimpse into the beginnings of an Apple car?
Rumors have previously swirled around that Apple is interested in building a car. As recent as April, Reuters reported that Apple was in discussions with companies who create the sensor technology in autonomous vehicle systems.
Apple’s self-driving car project, nicknamed Project Titan, reportedly hired former employees of Tesla and Google to tackle self-driving car technology. According to Reuters, Apple has about 1,200 people working on Project Titan. It also logged nearly 80,000 miles testing self-driving cars in California last year.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted last year that the Apple Car would launch around 2023 to 2025, and the newly released patent could prove to be a step into that direction for an Apple Car to hit the market.
Digital Trends reached out to Apple to comment on the patent, and we’ll update this story once we hear back.
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