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Apple Secures Another Autonomous Vehicle Patent

The iPhone maker has been working on autonomous car tech since late 2014

Ben Wodecki

February 23, 2022

2 Min Read
Image shows a metallic gray sports car in the tunnel
Getty Images

Apple has secured another patent related to autonomous vehicles even as it remains tight-lipped about its AV plans.

Patent number 11,243,532 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office relates to machine learning systems and algorithms for reasoning, decision-making and motion-planning for controlling the motion of autonomous or partially autonomous vehicles.

First unearthed by Patently Apple, the patent, titled “evaluating varying-sized action spaces using reinforcement learning,” details a system that evaluates actions using a reinforcement learning model to help direct the movements of a vehicle.

“A set of actions corresponding to a particular state of the environment of a vehicle is identified. A respective encoding is generated for different actions of the set, using elements such as distinct colors to distinguish attributes such as target lane segments,” the abstract reads.

“Using the encodings as inputs to respective instances of a machine learning model, respective value metrics are estimated for each of the actions. One or more motion-control directives to implement a particular action selected using the value metrics are transmitted to motion-control subsystems of the vehicle.”

The patent suggests that occupants would be able to override decisions made by the vehicle’s decision-making system, and even disable it.

Last August, Apple also secured three patents covering Lidar systems and suspension actuators.

Project Titan

The iPhone maker has been working on autonomous car tech since late 2014 under the codename, “Project Titan.” Apple has been tight-lipped on the endeavor, though CEO Tim Cook broke that silence in 2017 to describe it as “the mother of all AI projects.”

Now, the company reportedly is working with an outsourced semiconductor assembly and test company to produce autonomous systems for vehicles, according to Korean site The Elec.

The project started last year and is expected to be completed in 2023.

The Elec reports that the partner company is working on chip modules for autonomous capabilities similar to AutoPilot found in Tesla vehicles.

AI Business has reached out to Apple for comment, though no response was received at the time of publication.

This article first appeared in IoT World Today’s sister publication AI Business.

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Junior Editor - AI Business

Ben Wodecki is the junior editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to junior editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others.

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