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New patent shows how Apple would fix car blind spots

Apple Car patent drawing
Apple Car patent drawing (Image credit: Patently Apple)

What you need to know

  • A new patent shows plans to project blind spot imagery onto windows.
  • Blind spots are a big problem in some cars.
  • Apple has long been said to have a car in the works.

Apple has tons and tons of new patents granted every year and today saw 61 of them. One in particular appears to relate to the so-called Apple Car – or Project Titan, if you prefer – and could see the end of car blind spots.

Blind spots are created in the area where a car's side mirrors can't quite capture what is happening. And because the area is behind the driver, they can't see anything either. The result is a blind spot, and it's where a lot of accidents happen. But Apple thinks it has a fix.

"Systems for improving side-mirror functionality of a vehicle," spotted by Patently Apple, would theoretically work in both driver and autonomous modes and would see side mirrors project images onto windows.

The patent also covers retractable side mirrors that would only appear when a sensor detects that the driver is looking in a specific direction.

A sensor is coupled to the vehicle, and oriented to capture a facial feature of a driver. A control unit is in communication with the actuator and the sensor. The mirror is configured to be in the retracted position when the facial feature is not oriented towards the mirror.The actuator is configured to move the mirror into the extended position when the sensor, during operation of the vehicle, captures the facial feature oriented towards the mirror.

Many cars already have mirrors that fold in when the car is parked and then fold out again when it is in-use, but this patent appears to suggest the mirrors will move during driving.

None of this will matter if Apple doesn't ship the rumored Apple Car, and even if it does it doesn't necessarily mean that this patent will ever be used. But if it was, it'd certainly be an interesting addition to what would already no doubt be an intriguing vehicle.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.