Apple was granted its first patent for vehicle hardware today, but it's not for a car. The invention is related to "articulated vehicles", or ones with a pivoting joint in the middle of its construction like a large bus. So will there be an Apple bus in the near future? Who knows. Image: USPTO
The patent, first reported by Patently Apple, is a new linking mechanism connecting the first cabin and second cabin in an articulated vehicle chain. The invention would help drivers control both parts of a large vehicle and protect drivers from snow and ice. The official description is difficult to parse, but here's exactly how Apple and BAE Systems (both assignees of the patent) describe the invention:
The present invention relates to a steering device comprising a steering member for mutually steering a first vehicle unit and a second vehicle unit of an articulated vehicle which comprises a link mechanism for mutually pivoting said vehicle units, a housing configuration arranged to form a supply space between said vehicle units and a removal mechanism arranged in the supply space, wherein the removal mechanism comprises a heating device arranged to heat air intended to stream through the housing configuration. The invention also relates to an articulated vehicle with a steering member.
Although this isn't the Apple Car patent we've all been waiting for, it does give us hope that Apple is beginning to focus on the transportation industry. Maybe this is just a stupid joint that helps funnel brake fluid, hydraulics, cardan shaft or other important components through a large vehicle. But at least we know Apple engineers are working on things like how vehicles are controlled, especially in icy and snowy conditions.