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Apple Files two Project Titan Patents Relating to Vehicle Doors, latches and Sunroof Systems

1 cover - 2 Apple patents regarding Vehicle doors

A year ago Patently Apple posted a Project Titan patent report about a futuristic multi-linkage vehicle door hinge. One year later and Apple has filed for two additional vehicle door patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The first patents covers side sliding doors, unfolding sunroof and reinforced vehicle windows, while the second patent relates to a door latch system that includes a striker, actuator and controller.

Patent #1: Doors With Adaptive Positioning

Apple notes in their patent filing that future Autonomous vehicles won't have a driver which will allow the door system to differ from traditional hinge-centric doors of today. The doors may open and close by moving along the side of the vehicle providing an unobstructed opening on the side of the vehicle that will allow passengers to easily enter and exit the vehicle, just as the image from Fiat Chrysler below illustrates on their autonomous vehicle.

(Click on image below to Enlarge) 2xxx Fiat Chrysler autonomous vehicle with slide-out doors

The doors may be independently controlled by an adaptive door positioning system. Rather than opening and closing in a fixed, non-adjustable manner, the doors may be adaptively positioned. The doors may, for example, be adaptively positioned based on sensor data or user input. Providing vehicle doors with adaptive positioning allows the doors to be opened and closed in a manner that can be adjusted based on the vehicle's surroundings. For example, doors may be adaptively positioned to avoid colliding with obstructions (e.g., nearby vehicles), to provide easier access to the vehicle when a passenger approaches from a given direction, to facilitate exiting the vehicle in tight parking spaces, to accommodate angled tires, to accommodate inclined surfaces, etc.

One or more latches may be used to secure a front door (see 2nd patent below) on the side of the vehicle to a rear door on the side of the vehicle, thereby eliminating the need for a pillar or column between the front seat and the back seat of the vehicle. This provides a large area for entry and exit and frees up additional space within the vehicle (e.g., for legroom, storage, gaming consoles, etc.).

 The door mechanism may be controlled by a door controller that receives sensor data from sensors in the vehicle. The door controller may determine how to move and position the door based on the sensor data and may issue corresponding control signals to actuators in the door mechanism to move and position the door accordingly. For example, the sensor data may include steering angle information that indicates an angle of a front tire and the front door may open at an angle relative to the side of the vehicle to accommodate the angled tire.

Apple's patent FIG. 1 illustrates the doors of the vehicle in the closed position and in FIG. 2 in the open position; FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of an illustrative vehicle or other system with adaptively positioned doors.

3 x Apple Vehicle door patent figs

Apple's patent FIGS. 5B-5D above are top views of a portion of an illustrative vehicle showing how sunroof panels (or doors) can slide and or unfold to open and close; FIG. 15 is a flow chart of illustrative steps involved in opening and closing a door of a vehicle using adaptive positioning.

According to Apple, the patent can apply to vehicles that are autonomous in a first mode, semi-autonomous in a second mode, and non-autonomous in a third mode.

For more details, review Apple's patent application #US 20230008084 A1. A few of the inventors of this patent include:

  • Matt Brown: Product Design, Strategy, & Engineering
  • Phil Hobson: senior product design engineer
  • Sung Kim: Sr. Health Sensor Engineer, Sr. Display Engineer


Patent #2 Door Latch System

Apple notes in their second Project Titan patent filed Thursday that vehicles, including passenger vehicles, include passenger and other compartments that are selectively openable by doors. The doors are movable relative to the vehicle and are further releasably coupleable to the vehicle with a door closure system. Typical door closure systems include a latch that is coupled to and positioned within a cavity of the door and a striker that is fixedly coupled to the vehicle and protrudes from a surface thereof. As the door is closed, the latch receives and releasably couples to the striker.

In one implementation, a door system includes a door, a door actuator, a latch, a striker, a striker actuator, and a controller. The door is movable relative to a door opening of a vehicle body between an open position and a closed position. The door actuator moves the door relative to the door opening. The latch is coupled to the door. The striker is movable relative to the vehicle body between a stowed position in which the striker is biased away from the door opening and a deployed position in which the striker is configured to be receive and couple to the latch of the door. The striker actuator moves the striker between the stowed position and the deployed position. The controller operates the door actuator and the striker actuator to move the striker from the stowed position to the deployed position while the door is moved from the open position toward the closed position.

4 Apple's 2nd Vehicle door patent  Latch system + - Patently Apple IP report Jan 13  2023

For more details, review Apple's patent application US 20230009718 A1.  

Apple Inventors

  • Ali Tavakoli: Product Design Engineering Manager
  • Don Monroe: Manager - Product Design (1 former employer was "Magna)
  • Steve Klotz: Product Design Engineer
  • Thuan Doan: Product Design Engineer


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