Apple Car Could Use LiDAR and Other Sensor Data to a Better Self Driving Experience

Apple Self Driving Car Project

Apple has been working on multiple car projects, including a complete smart car and a self-driving car system. The company’s priorities seem to target ease of use and safety. Now, a new patent suggests that Apple is working on safer and more reliable self-driving algorithms that take data from multiple sensors and use that data in a variety of ways.

The Cupertino-based tech giant has been working on self-driving technologies for quite some time now. It even tested a fleet of vehicles fitted with its self-driving hardware and software in the US. We currently don’t know if the self-driving project is meant for Apple’s own car or if it has plans to license it out to other car brands. However, the company is working hard to improve it with each passing day.

According to a patent granted by the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), Apple is working on a system that takes data from multiple sensors fitted on a car and makes processing more collaborative. Usually, a sensor data processing pipeline involves collecting data from a sensor and passing it through a processing system which then decides a course of action. Data from other sensors aren’t included in the pipeline, so data from other sensors don’t affect the outcome of the pipeline.

Apple Car Patent Self-Driving Algorithm Shared Sensor Data LiDAR Across Pipelines

Apple’s new patent proposes a system that involves taking data from one sensor and processing it in combination with data from other sensors such as angular sensors, GPS, inertial, infrared, LiDAR, and radar. Data is shared between these processing pipelines so that multiple decisions could be made at different stages of those pipelines. This makes data more granular and one process can influence other processes to make decisions more reliable.

More data points could be collected at each stage so that the self-driving system could be ready for any possibility. For example, LiDAR can determine depth and distance but not colors, so data from the camera pipeline could be taken to recognize objects on the road more reliably. This makes the whole system relatively more foolproof and the whole self-driving car system could be made safer for more conditions.

Apple Car Patent Self-Driving Algorithm Shared Sensor Data Across Pipelines

Our Take

The new self-driving technology patent from Apple is quite complex, but it tends to make the whole system safer, which is one of Apple’s priorities with its project. The company is working on multiple technologies to make cars safer and easier to use. It is possible that this technology doesn’t get included in the first version of the end product. Right now, Apple just wants to improve the technology in as many ways as possible.

[Source: USPTO]