In June 2022 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple presented a Sneak Peek of CarPlay 2023 that ushers in an all-new In-Vehicle Experience that includes Customizing Instrument Clusters." Since then we've covered at least two patents from Apple supporting the customization of vehicle instrument clusters (01 and 02) with one of the patent figures presented below.
Apple is currently working with car manufactures around the globe to implement the next generation of CarPlay in the form of instrument clusters.
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to what's beyond the CarPlay instrument cluster system. Apple is working on a next-generation augmented reality display system included in a vehicle that generates information unto an augmented reality display such as a windshield (or on other windows in the vehicle).
The augmented reality display can include display elements which simulate one or more particular environmental objects in the environment, based on monitoring manual driving performance of the vehicle by a driver.
Apple notes in their patent application that in many situations, a graphical overlay can be provided on an environment that is perceived through a transparent surface, including a window or windshield of a vehicle. A graphical overlay can provide information to an observer, including information which is relevant to one or more portions of the perceived environment.
In some cases, a graphical overlay is used in a vehicle, where a graphical overlay can be perceived by an occupant of the vehicle and provides information relevant to one or more of the vehicle, including vehicle speed, and one or more portions of the environment in which the vehicle is located. Such information can be provided on a transparent surface such as a windshield, such that the information can be perceived by an operator of the vehicle, including a driver, near the line of sight of the operator as the operator observes the environment through which the vehicle is navigated, including an oncoming roadway.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates vehicle #t10 hat is located on the road that can include a vehicle navigation system (VNS) #140; FIGS. 3A-B illustrate a vehicle comprising a transparent surface which provides an augmented reality display which modifies occupant-perceived information presented by a sign located in the external environment; FIGS. 7A-B illustrate a vehicle which simulates, via one or more of a transparent surface which provides an augmented reality display and an active suspension system, one or more objects in the environment.
Apple's patent FIGS. 4A-B below illustrate a vehicle comprising a transparent surface which provides an augmented reality display which includes a display element which provides a representation of a static object in the environment which is presently obscured from direct view through the transparent surface of the vehicle, according to some embodiments. The representation can include a three-dimensional representation of the static object in the environment.
In some embodiments, the augmented reality display system included in a vehicle #410 navigating along a roadway #400 through environment #490 receives information regarding various static objects, including one or more structures, signs, landmarks, plants, etc..
In some embodiments, the augmented reality display system included in vehicle #410 determines a blind spot #440 associated with sensor data representations of the environment #490 which are generated by sensor devices included in vehicle #410, based on a presence of one or more various objects, including the illustrated vehicle #420.
Apple's patent FIGS. 8A-B above illustrate a vehicle comprising a transparent surface which provides an augmented reality display which includes a representation of a particular driving zone in the environment. A driving zone could be a school zone, a crossing zone, a zone associated with a presence of children, a zone associated with differently-abled individuals or some combination thereof, etc.
FaceTime Calls on the AR Display
Another feature buried in the patent filing under patent point #092 we learn that Apple is working on involves FaceTime between vehicle occupants and another vehicle. Apple specifically notes that "In some embodiments, an augmented reality display system included in a vehicle enables visual communication between an occupant of the vehicle and a remotely located user, including an occupant of a separate vehicle."
For finer details, review Apple's patent application 20230267896 titled "Visual Content Overlay System."