Nikkei and Intellectual Property Landscape found that as of June 1, Apple had applied for and published 248 automobile-related patents since 2000. In recent times, the firm has continued to take onward step on the accelerator to secure patented technology to develop the ‘Apple Car’ of its dreams.
According to Nikkei, Apple began seriously applying for automobile-related patents in 2008. This is because the priority was to develop the technology to connect the iPhone, which was released in 2007. This became the foundation of the CarPlay technology, which was introduced in 2014.
Apple’s automobile-related patent applications averaged less than ten per year until the early 2010s. However, 44 cases were recorded in 2016, representing a more than 6-fold increase from 7 cases in 2015. It is the result of Apple’s ‘Titan’ electric vehicle project, which began in earnest in 2014. In 2017, an all-time high of 66 applications was filed.
In 2020, Apple applied for a total of 27 patents. So far, 8 cases for 2021 have been released. Given that it typically takes about a year and six months from patent application to publication, at least 20 applications are expected to have been filed.
However, according to Akira Yamauchi, CEO of IP Landscape, if future patents are included, there is a possibility that 2021 will surpass 2017, which was the highest in history. According to Nikkei, Apple has also applied for patents on car ride comfort technologies such as windows, doors, seats, and suspension.
As a result, it was evaluated as a technology to improve user experience (UX) to provide hardware that all users can easily handle, such as the iPhone. Thus, Yamauchi maintained that, unlike Google, which specializes in autonomous driving, Apple is applying for a patent to develop its car.
Meanwhile, Apple and Intel have applied for over 30 patents together. The majority of them are vehicle-to-vehicle (V2X) technologies. However, even though 17 patents in the telecommunications field were filed independently between 2020 and 2021, only one joint application with Intel was filed.
As a result of this influx of patent applications, Nikkei concluded that Apple’s desire to enter the automobile market has not waned. Rather, it was determined that there is a high likelihood of introducing ideas that are not currently present in vehicles. Accordingly, it is perceived that the auto industry should brace itself for the arrival of the “Apple car.” sooner. Follow TechGenyz for more updates.