Apple Won a Trio of Project Titan Patents today covering a Vehicle Charging System & Two Vehicle Camera Systems
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially published a series of 51newly granted patents for Apple Inc. today. In this particular report we cover a trio of Project Titan patents that relate to semi and fully automated vehicle system of the future. One patent covers a charging station. A second patent covers a vehicle video system that provides the vehicle guidance. Finally, Apple's third patent covers a vehicle camera system being able to take video of your various road trips you'll take over time capturing highway scenery, cityscapes and routes through the mountains and/or seaside roads. This last patent seems like it could provide user's with a lot of fun in assisting them film a large part of their road trip automatically and from multiple view points and more.
Vehicle Charging Station
Today Apple was granted their second patent for a "Vehicle Charging Station with passive alignment mechanism." The patent was first granted and covered in a late May 2020 report here, which covered a series of Project Titan patents that day.
The systems and methods described in Apple's patent allow an electric vehicle to connect to a charging station without manual connection by an operator. As an example, a charging station may include a charging plug that is mounted using one or more passive translation stages that change position upon contact with a structure that is formed on the vehicle. The vehicle-side structures, including a charging receptacle, are aligned with the charging plug by driving the vehicle, either under manual control or under autonomous control.
Apple's patent FIG. 1A is an illustration showing a charging station and a vehicle in a disconnected position; FIG. 1B is an illustration showing the charging station and the vehicle in a connected position; FIG. 10 is a block diagram that shows charging station components and vehicle charging system components.
Today's granted patent covers new patent claims being added to this invention. The first new claim states: "A charging station for an electric vehicle, comprising: a charging plug; a first rod; a second rod; a first upper slide that is positioned on the first rod; a first lower slide that is positioned on the first rod; a second upper slide that is positioned on the second rod; a second lower slide that is positioned on the second rod; first links that connect the first upper slide and the first lower slide to the charging plug; and second links that connect the second upper slide and the second lower slide to the charging plug, wherein the first upper slide, the first lower slide, the second upper slide, and the second lower slide are movable with respect to the first rod and the second rod for passive adjustment of the charging plug."
Review granted patent 10,807,486 to review the rest of the patent claims.
Vehicle Video System
Apple's second Project Titan granted patent 10,810,443 covers a vehicle video system. One aspect of the invention covers a method that includes obtaining images using one or more cameras mounted on a vehicle, sending data representing at least a portion of the obtained images to a display device, receiving data representing a selected part of the obtained images, correlating the selected part of the obtained images with a geolocation, and moving the vehicle toward the geolocation.
Another aspect of the disclosure is a vehicle that includes one or more cameras mounted on the vehicle, one or more processors, and a powertrain. The one or more processors are configured to obtain images using the one or more cameras, send data representing at least a portion of the obtained images to a display device, receive data representing a selected part of the obtained images, and correlate the selected part of the obtained images with a geolocation. The powertrain is configured to move the vehicle toward the geolocation.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates a flowchart of an exemplary process for interactively presenting images from a video generated by a vehicle; FIG. 6 is an illustration of an exemplary vehicle pick-up scenario.
Automatic Vehicle Camera System for Home Movies+
Apple's third and last Project Titan granted patent of the day is titled "Automated capture of image data for points of interest" under number 10,810,444. This seems like it could be a killer application for next-gen vehicles. When going on a road trip to another city, through the mountains or travelling along a seaside road, the vehicle camera system can capture your memories while you simply enjoy the ride.
Apple notes that the rise of interest in automated control and navigation of vehicles has led to the inclusion of different types of remote sensing equipment installed on vehicles. These sensors can include one or more radars, ultrasonic sensors, light beam scanning devices, visible light camera devices, infrared camera devices, near-infrared camera devices, depth camera devices which can include one or more light-scanning devices, including LIDAR devices, etc.
The systems and methods described in this granted patent may implement automated capture of image data for points of interest. Apple's patent FIG. 1 below illustrates a view of an environment that includes a point of interest detected by a vehicle, according to some embodiments.
Apple states that a point of interest may be a scene, event, or object in the environment external to the vehicle that may be captured for historical interest as part of a route, trip, itinerary, or journey undertaken by the vehicle. For example, a sunset ocean view, a famous landmark (e.g., the Brooklyn Bridge), a passing parade, or wildlife may be points of interest which a passenger or user of the vehicle may wish to capture for a historical record of the trip in image data.
Various kinds of machine vision, computer vision, and/or pattern recognition may be performed on the sensor data to detect points of interest automatically, without user input. In some embodiments, an interface may be provided which may receive manual requests to capture image data for points of interest (e.g., via graphical user interface or audible voice command).