Apple may have let go of building its own self-driving car, but it's deeply invested in autonomous technologies. On Thursday, CNBC reported the technology giant has patented a navigation system for self-driving cars.
The system has reportedly been in the works since 2015 and it aims to simplify self-driving car navigation. Currently, self-driving cars rely on static information like maps that can be continuously updated. The static information relayed by the maps teams with in-vehilce sensors to help the car identify real-time information and minimize the computing power needed to operate.
Apple's system is different in that a computerized model would predict routes using on-board sensors and processors. The patent states that the system would direct the car "independently of any data received from any devices external to the vehicle, and any navigation data stored locally to the vehicle prior to any monitoring of navigation."
HERE and Mobileye joined forces last year to also develop HD maps for self-driving cars and simplify the navigation process. The maps would provide far more information for self-driving cars than sensors provide. Apple has also patented similar mapping technologies including a tile interface for mapped locations.
The company's decision to focus on self-driving car software and technology comes after the "Project Titan" car project dissolved due to a lack of clarity. Engineers and project heads reportedly tried to pull the project in numerous directions. The do-it-all approach Apple normally takes simply didn't translate to the physical car, which featured motorized doors, augmented reality, and spherical wheels as part of its conceptual design.
The iCar, so to speak, is dead, but the detailed patent is proof Apple doesn't have plans to sit on the self-driving car sidelines.