Apple Car Could Be Able to Detect and Follow Traffic Officers' Hand Signals

Apple doesn’t say a single thing about its plans for the automotive market, but everybody knows already the company is currently working on an electric vehicle.
The car would be able to detect a series of hand gestures 1 photo
Photo: USPTO
While the Cupertino-based tech behemoth does its best to keep all details away from our eyes and ears, information continues making the headlines through unofficial channels. The latest suggests the Apple Car project has reached the phase where the company is seeking a partner to manufacture the vehicle.

In the meantime, Apple keeps focusing heavily on its car's software side, so it has already filed for a series of patents covering technology that would eventually help its EV stand out from the crowd.

One such idea is described in a patent called “traffic direction gesture recognition,” which details how a car can automatically detect the hand signals of a traffic officer and then act accordingly. In other words, an autonomous vehicle can read the gesture and slow down, stop, or take a turn according to what the officer in front of it indicates using a hand gesture.

To do this, the car would be equipped with an army of sensors, all supposed to make sure the signal is correctly detected.

Traffic direction gesture recognition may be implemented for a vehicle in response to traffic diversion signals in the vehicles vicinity. Sensors implemented as part of a vehicle may collect data about pedestrians and other obstacles in the vicinity of the vehicle or along the vehicle's route of travel. Sensor data may be combined and analyzed to identify a traffic diversion condition, including identifying a traffic director directing traffic using gestures or signs,” Apple explains in the patent.

What’s more, Apple says the data collected by a vehicle can be used for other connected cars, thus preparing them for the moment they approach the traffic police officer for an even faster response.

Gestures of a traffic director may be interpreted and understood by the vehicle as commands to perform maneuvers related to the traffic diversion, including stopping, slowing, or turning onto a detour route. The vehicle may be equipped with a command acknowledgement device for acknowledging to a traffic director the vehicle's understanding of the traffic diversion condition or maneuver commands. Information, such as traffic diversion and detour information, may be shared with other vehicles and devices, or stored in a database,” the document reads.

As usual, this patent isn’t by any means a guarantee such a technology reaches mass production.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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