Apple’s Latest Patent Details Wireless Charging for Self-Driving Cars

Apple helped wireless charging on iPhones go mainstream. Now, the Cupertino company has applied for wireless charging for electric cars. The patent application is titled “Wireless Charging Alignment Systems” and details a car which may use steering and propulsion system to park the car. Furthermore, the application also mentions how the car can use a wireless power receiver that is attached to the car body.

Once the car is in place it will be charged via a wireless power transmitter. Interestingly the patent application mentions Jeff Alves, a senior hardware engineering manager at Apple and a product design engineer by the name Derryk Davis. The application also mentions Hunter Wu, who is a power engineer at the Special Projects Group and has previously served as chief science officer at Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification.

It is no secret that Apple is working on an autonomous EV car. The company recently bought Drive.ai, a self-driving car startup. That being said Apple has not hinted at a timeline for the autonomous car launch, however, a recent report indicated that it will not be released until 2023.

The control circuitry may use the steering and propulsion system to park the vehicle in a parking space. Wireless power may be transferred from a wireless power transmitter in the parking space to a wireless power receiver coupled to a vehicle body in the vehicle. The control circuitry may use sensors to make sensor measurements during parking events.

Our Take

We have already witnessed self-parking cars like the BMW 5 Series. However, Apple seems to be taking it to the next level with wireless charging embedded into the parking spot. This reminds me of the hot-wheels car which can be charged by placing on the charger pads.

Plugging in chargers in an electric vehicle is cumbersome and it would be great to see Apple’s new patent in flesh. However, in case of wireless charging, aligning the receiver sensors with transmitter sensors is very crucial, if not done properly it might cause severe damage to the car.