Apple was granted 2-Project Titan Patents today that relate to Vehicle Actuator Systems which cause or affect Motion of a Vehicle
Today the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially granted Apple two Project Titan patents. Both patents relate to vehicle actuator systems which are controllable systems that cause or affect motion of a vehicle. Such systems include propulsion actuators, braking actuators, steering actuators, suspension actuators and more.
Patent #1: Redundant Vehicle Actuator System
Vehicle actuators are controllable systems that cause or affect motion of a vehicle. Examples of vehicle actuators are propulsion actuators, braking actuators, steering actuators, and suspension actuators. Proper functioning of all of these actuator systems allows for proper control of the vehicle. A failure of one or more of these actuator systems may render the vehicle uncontrollable, and thus, unable to continue operating.
One aspect of Apple's granted patent covers a vehicle actuator system that includes an actuator, a first actuator controller that is operable to control operation of the actuator and is operable to determine a first value for a parameter that relates to operation of the actuator, a second actuator controller that is operable to control operation of the actuator and is operable to determine a second value for the parameter, and at least one additional component that is operable to determine a third value for the parameter.
A fault is identified in response to determining that the first value does not agree with at least one of the second value or the third value. The first actuator controller changes from an activated state in which the first actuator controller is responsible for control of the actuator to a deactivated state in which the first actuator controller is not responsible for control of the actuator in response to identification of the fault. The second actuator controller changes from a deactivated state in which the second actuator controller is not responsible for control of the actuator to an activated state in which the second actuator controller is responsible for control of the actuator in response to identification of the fault.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below shows a vehicle (#100) that has a vehicle body (#102). The vehicle body may include internal structural portions and external portions that are aesthetic and/or structural in nature. As examples, the vehicle body may include one or more of a unibody, a frame, a subframe, a monocoque, and body panels. The vehicle also includes suspension components that may include actuators that are able to cause modification of characteristics of the components of the suspension components (#106) in response to control signals.
Apple's patent FIG. 6 above is an illustration showing a braking system (#618) that includes a supervisor (#620), a primary brake control module (#622), a secondary brake control module (#624), braking actuators (#'s 651, 652, 653, and #654), and pressurized fluid lines (#656) (i.e., brake lines) that deliver pressurized fluid from the primary brake control module and/or the secondary brake control module in order to cause operation of the braking actuators, which may be fluid pressure operated pistons that cause engagement of friction braking components, such as brake pads and rotors, to cause deceleration of one or more road wheels of a vehicle, such as the road wheels of the vehicle.
For more details, review Apple's granted patent 11,046,330
Patent #2: Fully-actuated suspension system
Some embodiments of Apple's granted patent # 11,046,143 provide a fully-actuated suspension system which can provide adjustable displacement of a sprung mass from a neutral suspension position over an unsprung mass. The system includes a variable pressure air spring which can adjust the neutral suspension position and execute low-frequency displacements and a hydraulically-driven piston which can execute high-frequency displacements.
The system can communicate information to a driver, via haptic feedback provided via actuator displacements, which can augment the driver's situational awareness.
The system can provide augmented vehicle braking via displacing the unsprung mass of the vehicle towards the surface upon which the vehicle rests to increase the normal force and contact area of the unsprung mass on the surface, unload torsion of the wheel induced by applied braking pressure to the wheel, etc.
The system can compensate for vehicle oscillations at frequencies below the primary ride frequency, thereby mitigating the risk of occupant motion sickness.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 illustrates a vehicle which includes a fully-actuated suspension system.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 above illustrates a vehicle which includes a fully-actuated suspension system, comprising a control system and a set of suspension actuators coupled to separate wheel assemblies, where the control system is configured to independently control the suspension actuators to at least communicate information to one or more occupants of the vehicle via haptic feedback.