Patently Apple posted a patent application report back in late May 2019 titled "Apple Wins a Project Titan Patent Covering a new Suspension & High-End Haptics System to Improve Driver Situational Awareness." Today I was made aware of an Apple patent filing that was made in Germany last month titled "Active Suspension System" from Mr. John Eovl who sent it into our feedback email. Thanks John.
According to Apple, the active drive system may be an autonomous drive system that operates the various functional subsystems to move the vehicle to a user- selected location without further input from the user.
In Apple's patent background they note that passenger vehicles include suspension systems, which control transmission of forces, such as from road disturbances, between a vehicle body and wheels of the vehicle. Traditional suspension systems are passive systems that include a spring-damper system of which the spring and the damper have fixed characteristics.
Such fixed characteristics, however, may not be suited for passenger comfort given varying road conditions and varying passenger preferences. Newer suspension systems include active suspensions of which various characteristics may be controlled by the user (e.g., a driver of the vehicle) or automatically in response to various detected conditions.
For example, air spring suspensions may allow the driver to select a desired vehicle height. Magnetorheological dampers provide damping characteristics that may vary according to detected conditions, such as vehicle acceleration.
Apple's Active Suspension System
Apple's invention, as seen in various embodiments below of vehicle #100 and functional subsystems thereof, including a suspension system #160. More particularly, the suspension system is an active suspension system, which is configured to control generally vertical motion of the wheels with a linear actuator that can apply upward and downward force to introduce energy into and absorb energy from the wheels.
Referring to Patent FIG. 1 below, the vehicle generally includes a vehicle body #102 and a drive system #120 connected to the vehicle body. The vehicle body may, for example, include or define a passenger compartment for carrying passengers.
The drive system is configured to move the vehicle, including the passenger compartment. The drive system includes various functional subsystems, including a propulsion system #130 (i.e., for propelling the vehicle); a braking system #140 (i.e., for slowing the vehicle); a steering system #150 (i.e., for directing the vehicle in different directions); a suspension system #160 (i.e., for supporting the vehicle); a sensing system #170 (i.e., for sensing various aspects of the vehicle including the various subsystems and the external environment; and a control system #180 (i.e., for controlling the various other subsystems individually or in a coordinated manner).
The drive system may be an autonomous drive system that operates the various functional subsystems to move the vehicle 100 to a user- selected location without further input from the user.
Apple's patent FIG. 2 above is another schematic view of the vehicle of FIG. 1 with more detail; FIG. 7C is a schematic view of a vehicle comprising four suspension systems and a pressurized air source.
More specifically, patent FIG. 7C illustrates the electronics (i.e., the force sensors #671, the motor electronics #663, the position sensor #665, and the pressure sensor #766f) may be in communication with the control system #180, which may provide control signals to each of the suspension systems #660 (e.g., four suspension systems 660) for control thereof.
The vehicle may additionally include pressurized gas source #790, which is in fluidic communication with each of the suspension systems #760 of the vehicle (e.g., four) and which may be controlled by the control system #180 for supplying or releasing pressurized air from the air springs #766 of each of the suspension systems #760.
Apple's patent FIG. 3 below is a cross-sectional schematic view a suspension system of the vehicle of FIG. 1; FIG. 6A is an elevation schematic view of a suspension system for use with the vehicle of FIG. 1; and FIG. 11 A is a cross-sectional schematic view of another suspension system for use in the vehicle of FIG. 1.
Apple's German patent application DE112018002366 (T5X) was published in Q1 2020 by the European Patent Office. Earlier work had been done on this invention dating back to 2018. One of Apple's inventors is Jonathan Hall, Electromechanical Technology Leader at Apple.
Yesterday morning Patently Apple was first to post a granted patent report titled "Apple wins a Project Titan patent for a Car Seat system designed to provide occupants with a superior ride experience."