Apple's Self-Driving Car Dreams Go Far Back As Early 2000s, Study Of Patents Show

Apple's Self-Driving Car Dreams Go Far Back As Early 2000s, Study Of Patents Show

Apple, Inc.’s AAPL self-driving car has long been in the works under the "Project Titan" team.

What Happened:  Apple has made a slew of patent filings in recent years that relate to automotive-related technologies, Nikkei reported Monday, citing a joint investigation conducted by the publication and Tokyo-based analytics company Intellectual Property Landscape (IPL).

Apple’s patent applications peaked in 2017 and then tapered off briefly, the report said, citing Akira Yamauchi, CEO of IPL. Usually, patent applications are published only after 18 months of filing. If the yet-to-be-published filings are included, Apple’s 2021 patent filings may be on par with the record in 2017, the report added.

Apple has applied for and published about 248 automobile-related patents after 2000, Nikkei said.

Related Link: Apple Car Rumor Nudges Shares Into Record Territory; What Its Success Means For The Tech Giant

Key Findings On Apple’s Auto-Related Patent Filings: 

  • Vehicle-related patent applications picked up pace in 2008, a year after the first iPhone was released.
  • Apple initially focused on connectivity between iPhones and cars, with efforts centered on navigation that led to the launch of the Apple Car Play.
  • Patent filings rose from 10 per year to 44 in 2016, with 2017 seeing a record 66 applications, including those related to autonomous driving and entering traffic on highways. 
  • Apple has filed profusely for auto-related patents, including technology for materials and parts used to create windows, seats, suspension, and other components. This led to the possibility that Apple could also be developing its own cars.
  • Apple has filed 30 patents with Intel Corporation INTC for communications related to “vehicle-to-everything” technology.
  • V2X allows cars to communicate with each other and connect to the "Internet of Things," suggesting Apple could be developing its own platform as well.
  • Between 2020 and 2021, Apple filed 17 patients for communication, a bulk of them being solo filings. This suggests the company could be designing in-house chips for its cars.

Price Action: Apple shares ended 0.74% lower at $152.95 on Monday, before falling 0.18% in extended trading, according to Benzinga Pro data.

 

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