Rumors of Apple building an iCar have been making the rounds recently since it went viral this February. Though no official Apple source has either confirmed or debunked the rumors, more and more emerging evidence point to the fact that Apple might indeed be developing a car albeit in secret. Apple and secrets really make a good combination, so the more Apple tries to (if at all) keep its car research and development under wraps , the more speculations about the car emerges. Is Apple’s iCar going to be electric or self driven or both?. what’s going to be the price of the much hyped car when it is eventually launched? How is the iCar going to look like ? In addition to answering this questions, I’ll bring you some plausible evidence pointing to the fact that Apple might indeed have an automobile card up its clandestine sleeves.
Driverless or Not?
According to reports which first appeared on Cbslocal.com, ‘A mysterious minivan with an unknown apparatus on its roof is cruising around the Bay Area, creating speculation it may be a prototype of a self-driving vehicle – this time made by Apple”. More speculation kept pouring in by more reputable sources, with most claiming that the car was indeed Apple’s initial attempt to build a driverless car by exposing the it to an everyday road traffic scenarios. Apple however kicked out the speculation by announcing that the vehicles were actually maping vehicles being used to improve its Apple Maps service. Nonetheless, the cameras and sensors on the vehicle were
pointed at the corners of the car and thus nagating Apple’s comment. With this development, it’s still not clear whether Apple’s car will be driverless or not. Though a lot of Apple fans may want to see such, but taking into consideration present technological advancement and general global legislation on driverless cars, there is a 60% chance that Apple’s car will not be driverless.
An electric iCar is highly likely
One of those things that are almost certain is the notion of an electric iCar. Apple’s reputation for innovative products and the need to stay on top of its game and also ahead of its potential rivals all point towards this fact. With undeniable evidence of ex-Tesla staffs now being on Apple’s payroll, its quite logical to assume that Apple will create something similar to what Tesla currently manufactures – The best electric cars around. For electric car enthusiasts, you may have probably heard of Tesla Motor’s latest Tesla Model S P85D electric car. For those that are not that car savvy – Tesla’s Model S P85D features an emergency braking system, a cruise control that’ll manage the accelerator and breaks on motorways and in traffic, as well as an automatic lane changing system is activated by the flick of the indicator stalk. To play the naive game, coincidentally, all the aforementioned features of Tesla’s Model S P85D for some reasons are the same with the Wall Street Journal’s speculations on the most likely features of Apple’s iCar. Though I can’t ascertain at this point whether this features can only be possible with an electric car, its nonetheless a plausible to speculate that the iCar will almost certainly be electric, given the involvement of ex Tesla engineers.
Playing Around With iCar patent
Anybody who has been following Apple’s patent marathon will know that apart from making IPhone’s, what the company does best is filing a pile of seemingly unending patents. To get pointed in the right direction, I looked up Apple’s patent that may relate to or give any hint on the possibility of an iCar – as expected , Apple has a handful of automobile related patents.
According to an Apple patent titled “Accessing A Vehicle Using Portable Devices ” with US patent number – 20130099892 , Apple sought to patent a way to allow you to unlock your car and start your engine from an iDevice such as your iPhone or iPad. Considering the working principle of such an unlocking system , it will require the availability of a compatible hardware (receiver device) to function. Even if its possible, not all car manufacturers will play Santa Clause by retrofitting all its car models with hardware compatible with the system which means Apple will likely have to make its own bed if it wants to sleep .
Another notable patent which was filed by Apple inc. in 2009 , shows a design with in car camera technology which could be used for detecting gestures that could control car functions, such as the locking system or headlights. Similarly, Apple filed another patent in 2012 that will allow different users of the same car get a customised feel in functions or seating position. The system will use and iphone app to communicate with a comoatible car (iCar?), giving the user certain preset preferences.
Apple’s iCar may sound interesting , however apple has virtually no salvageable experience with automobile and diving deep into developing a jaw dropper might seem quite herculean even with it’s huge human and financial resources. How is the Apple Car going to look like? Watch this space for updates.