Patent suggests Apple Car's headlights could highlight areas of interest as it drives

Apple Car
Apple Car (Image credit: The Verge)

What you need to know

  • A new patent points to new, advanced headlights.
  • They could highlight points of interest as needed.
  • These headlights may one day be part of Apple Car.

There was a time in the not too distant past that you couldn't go a day without reading a headline that had the words "Apple" and "Car" in them. It was more a question of when Apple would announce a car, rather than if it would do it. But here we are, and we still don't have one. But that doesn't mean the patents have stopped. The latest seems to suggest Apple has looked into new, advanced headlighting.

The patent, spotted by Apple Insider and titled "System and method for light and image projection" was first applied for in May 2018. It's now been granted. And it makes for some interesting reading.

Apple Car Headlight Patent

Apple Car Headlight Patent (Image credit: Apple Insider)

The theory appears to be sound. The patent suggests that headlights could alter the light they project in such a way that obstacles and other points of interest could be brought to a driver's attention without making it difficult to see the rest of the road. The system would rely on sensors that would read the road ahead, with a computer then analyzing what the sensors pick up. The road would then be lit in such a way that all obstacles would be immediately visible.

One implementation of the present disclosure may take the form of a method for illuminating a field of view for a vehicle. The method includes the operations receiving scene information of the field of view for the vehicle from one or more sensors in communication with a light controller, analyzing the scene information to detect the presence of an object in the field of view, and classifying the object using the scene information and a database of known object profiles. The method may also include the operations of predicting a location of the classified object within the field of view of the vehicle and projecting, utilizing the light controller, an illuminated indicator at the predicted location of the classified object in the field of view of the vehicle.

Of course, none of this means that Apple will be launching a new car at WWDC, so let's not get any hopes up just yet. Apple patents just about everything any of its engineers come up with. Few of them turn into shipping products, and that's obviously very much the case when it comes to cars.

Still, it doesn't hurt to dream.

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.