Apple wants to patent a new technology that lets you use voice commands to tell you where your self-driving car wants to go, and then the car will do the rest for you, such as navigation, driving and parking, according tomedia. The end result will be a Siri-like system to control your self-driving car.
The patent application, called “Self-Driving Car Destination Signal Guidance,” was originally filed on August 2 last year and was released on Thursday, August 23rd of this month. The technology described in the patent is designed to guide self-driving vehicles to their destinations using voice commands, gestures or touch screens.
The voice command technology is particularly impressive. You can tell your car where you want to go, and then it can take you there. Voice commands don’t need to be very specific – for example, if you tell your car you want to eat Indian food, it will find the nearest Indian restaurant, and then send you there and park your car automatically.
This proposed patented technology can even find the best parking location based on the product you want to buy. “For example, if you say ‘I want to buy some ornamental plants for my garden’ near a large retail store, the navigation manager (as described in the technology) will make a decision to park the vehicle near the entrance to a store marked ‘Gardening’ or ‘GardenIng Supplies’,” the patent reads. The patent also describes a situation where, when you say, “I want some coffee,” the “navigation manager” will choose a coffee shop that best fits your situation, taking into account factors such as the location of the coffee shop, the price, and your personal history of coffee shop visits. “
In addition to voice control, the technology can also use sensor devices to read gestures, gaze, or touch-based personal signals. An example of gesture-based technology is that you can use your phone to point to a specific parking space, and then your car will automatically park in the appropriate parking space based on your pointing. Some facial recognition techniques also involve installing a driver-facing camera on the windshield to detect the driver’s face and facial features, and then, by reading the driver’s facial information, the side mirror can be retracted or extended accordingly.
Whether Apple implements the self-driving technology in its own-design cars or simply sells the patent to other car companies is not clear in the patent documents. These tools may be integrated into Apple’s CarPlay, which has integrated Siri and is built into many different vehicles, but they require advanced autonomous driving capabilities to work.
This isn’t Apple’s first self-driving patent. In November, Apple won a patent aimed at eliminating blind spots in self-driving and self-driving mode. It follows rumours that Apple is interested in getting involved in car manufacturing. With these and more car patents in the future, Apple seems to be really moving into the car market.