Apple once envisioned of self-driving vehicles with retractable bumpers. A few years back, the firm filed a copyright for “expandable bumpers” with the US PTO (Patent and Trademark Office). The patent was posted this week, but even if Apple was once serious about including inflatable bumpers to its cars, the firm has since scaled and pivoted back its efforts for self-driving vehicle Project Titan.
The patent tells about an inflatable bladder with an expandable bumper in front of it. The bumper can be placed flush with the car, or the bumper might expand forward when the bladder is inflated. To pull in, the bumper might depend on a spring method, and the inflatable bladder might be amassed in a hollow space within the car. As media underlines, this design might provide a unique aesthetic, as well as benefits such as being capable of retracting the bumper to fit into small parking spaces. In addition to this, a bumper supported by an air cushion can offer added defense in a collision.
While the patent is new, it is more of a sign for the types of stuff Project Titan envisioned up as compared to what it has promised. In 2016, Apple moved its aim from developing a complete vehicle to designing self-driving technology, and previously this year, the firm slashed off 190 members of Project Titan. Yet, the firm has carried on to make high-profile automotive appointments, comprising Andrew Kim, formerly of Microsoft and Tesla, and Doug Field, an ex-Tesla employee.
On a related note, the newest self-driving company to be merged is Drive.ai. The firm has been operating on AI tech for a few years for autonomous cars, but discovered itself low on money in a growing competitive industry. Now, just as the media claims that it filed with watchdogs about closing down, Apple purchased it for an unnamed amount.