Apple is seriously thinking about the ways it can change the car business. And a new patent illustrates one way it might do just that.
Patently Apple recently uncovered an Apple patent describing how Apple could use augmented reality technology and integrate it into a car windshield. The technology, which is more like a Heads Up Display, describes how you could get more contextual information while you drive. It also describes how a FaceTime video chat could be initiated between cars while you're in the vehicle.
At the core of Apple's technology is the ability to display graphical elements over the real world. In one embodiment, according to Patently Apple, the company describes how it could display vehicle speed, information about road conditions, and more. In order to deliver the augmented reality features, Apple said that the car would come equipped with a variety of external sensors, including cameras, infrared cameras, light beam scanning devices, audio sensor devices, radar and more.
Similarly, Apple says that the technology will require some internal sensors, including 30 infrared cameras, depth cameras and kinematic sensors.
The patent suggests the technology wouldn't only be limited to the windshield. Apple noted that it's designed to be used on any transparent surface in the car. So in addition to showing information on your windshield, it might also give you some data in your side windows or in the rear window.
Apple didn't dig too deeply into what the technology could ultimately deliver to you aside from speed information and much of the same data you already get from your dash. But arguably the most intriguing use could come from FaceTime.
According to Patently Mobile, Apple envisions its patented technology being used to allow for new car-to-car communication in the form of video chatting via FaceTime. Exactly how that would work is unclear, but it would likely only be available when the car is stationary or when you're in a self-driving vehicle and not driving the car yourself.
Either way, Apple is clearly eyeing ways to use augmented reality in its future car tech. Moreover, it seems to corroborate claims that Apple is currently more concerned about developing car technology than an actual car.