Apple Invents a Windshield That Can Warn You About Cracks

Apple patent drawing 5 photos
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Officially, Apple isn’t necessarily looking into the automotive industry because, you know, iPhones, MacBooks, iPads are the kind of products the Cupertino company is fully committed to.
But unofficially, Apple has been super-busy inventing all kinds of new stuff that can be used on modern vehicles, and it’s believed some of this tech would eventually make its way on the highly-anticipated but still unconfirmed Apple Car.

This is the case of a system for detecting cracks in the windshield, a new tech Apple described in a recent patent spotted by CNET.

Apple is envisioning several implementations of such a system, some pretty basic, but others completely giving an autonomous car a totally new purpose.

First and foremost, the Cupertino-based firm says it can use conductive layers to detect when there’s a crack in the windshield and then issue alerts to the driver. These can be either audio or visual, thus letting them know the windshield needs to be replaced.

That’s pretty cool, there’s no doubt about it, but what’s even cooler is how Apple sees this system being used on a self-driving car.

The company explains the feature can be paired with artificial intelligence (AI) to even call a service center and book an appointment for windshield repairs. As this wasn’t already enough, the self-driving car can go to the service center on its own when you don’t need it, such as during the night.

A system such as a vehicle may have windows with one or more conductive layers. The conductive layers may form part of an infrared-light-blocking layer or other layer. The infrared-light-blocking layer or other layer may be formed as a coating on a transparent structural window layer such as an outer or inner glass layer in a laminated window or may be embedded in a polymer layer between the outer and inner layers. Segmented terminals and elongated terminals that may extend past two or more segmented terminals may be coupled to the edges of the conductive layers. Using these terminals, control circuitry can apply localized ohmic heating currents and can make resistance measurements on the conductive layers to detect cracks,” Apple says in a more technical description in the patent.

Of course, this is just a patent for now, but with Apple becoming more and more committed to the automotive industry, it’s probably just a matter of time until these ideas become real.
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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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