Science & Hi-Tech

Apple patents shape changing car seat that can ‘hug’ drivers to try and keep them safe inan accident

Apple has filed a patent that sheds new light on its rumored car plans. The iPhone maker filed a document Tuesday describing seats that would vibrate and change shape in an accident
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Apple has filed a patent that sheds new light on its rumored car plans. 

The iPhone maker filed a document Tuesday titled ‘Haptic feedback for dynamic seating system’ that describes a futuristic car seat capable of interacting with passengers in various ways. 

Seats might alert users via vibrating signals or fold to put the passenger in a more secure position. 

The tools could potentially be used to improve safety in a self-driving car – something Apple has been testing via Lexus SUVs equipped with sensors and cameras. 

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Apple has filed a patent that sheds new light on its rumored car plans. The iPhone maker filed a document Tuesday describing seats that would vibrate and change shape in an accident

The seats are fitted with sensors that would trigger a ‘haptic feedback system’ that vibrates to alert drivers when they should pay attention. 

Existing systems might beep when a car veers in a certain direction, but the patent proposes seats that would vibrate if a vehicle drifts too close to a lane line while it’s being driven. 

‘The method includes receiving external information relating to conditions that are external to the vehicle; determining that feedback is to be applied based on the external information; calculating a feedback level based on a degree of deviation of the external information from a predetermined state; and actuating a seating assembly based on the feedback level,’ the patent noted. 

The patent describes the creation of a 'dynamic seating system' that would enable car seats to change shape, height or seatbelt inflation depending on external conditions

It sheds new light on Apple's car ambitions

The patent describes the creation of a ‘dynamic seating system’ that would enable car seats to change shape, height or seatbelt inflation depending on external conditions

The haptic feedback system would operate using a single or multiple central processing units. 

Put simply, an onboard computer would analyze external conditions and alert the passenger if it senses something might risk their life, such as significant changes in the vehicle’s motion. 

Another component of the patent suggests creating seats that could fold in different positions to avoid passenger injuries. 

For example, the seat might be inclined more to put the driver in a safer position. 

IS APPLE SECRETLY DEVELOPING SELF-DRIVING CARS?

Chief Executive Tim Cook has suggested that Apple wants to move beyond integration of Apple smartphones into vehicle infotainment systems.

Chief Executive Tim Cook has suggested that Apple wants to move beyond integration of Apple smartphones into vehicle infotainment systems.

Apple officially secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California on April 14.

Rumours began sweeping the web last year that Apple was toying with the idea of developing its own self-driving car.

But Apple executives have been coy about their interest in the vehicles.

Chief Executive Tim Cook has suggested that Apple wants to move beyond integration of Apple smartphones into vehicle infotainment systems.  

Recently, several of Apple’s self-driving test cars have been spotted outside the company’s Cupertino, California offices.  

It could also increase the tension of a driver’s seatbelt or raise the seat height.

Apple states in the patent that it would be applied primarily when a car is being used in autonomous mode.  

The ‘control unit’ would direct the seat to move from a declined position to an inclined position, resulting in a ‘more erect posture’ for the driver, the patent explains. 

‘This change provides an optimal viewing angle of the environment and sends a signal that it is time for the occupant, in this case, the driver, to take manual control of the vehicle,’ it added. 

A separate patent describes 'movable panels with nonlinear tracks.' It involves a sunroof system that allows for a panel as wide as the roof to be used

A separate patent describes ‘movable panels with nonlinear tracks.’ It involves a sunroof system that allows for a panel as wide as the roof to be used

‘For example, if adverse driving conditions or aggressive driving behaviors are detected by any of the vehicle sensors, the inclination of the back of the seat and the tension of the restraint can be adjusted.’ 

Separately, another patent describes ‘movable panels with nonlinear tracks.’

It involves a sunroof system that allows for a panel as wide as the roof to be used. 

The illustrations show a car with a rounded roof, where a panel slides along the top of the car using multiple tracks.       


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