Apple has recently been granted a patent for a retractable steering wheel and pedals in their self-driving car, according to recent reports. The patent suggests that the car will have the ability to drive autonomously on highways but will require manual driving on city streets.
Currently, traditional passenger vehicles are equipped with driver input devices such as a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal. However, with the advancement of autonomous driving systems, certain circumstances may no longer require these inputs. For instance, driving on the highway with adaptive cruise control and lane-centering systems can be efficiently handled by autonomous driving systems.
Level 4 autonomous cars, which heavily rely on detailed mapping of defined roads and require geofencing, still need conventional manual driving controls. Apple’s newly patented retractable steering wheel and pedals aim to address this limitation by providing more flexibility in the interior layout of the car and increasing overall safety.
Notably, Apple is not the only company exploring the concept of retractable steering wheels and pedals in self-driving cars. Audi, a renowned car manufacturer, has also been researching similar concepts.
It is important to note that Apple patents numerous ideas, many of which may not ultimately make it into production. Therefore, it remains uncertain whether Apple will release its own car or establish partnerships with existing car manufacturers.
As technology continues to advance rapidly, the future of self-driving cars remains an exciting and ever-evolving space. Apple’s latest patent is just one of many developments in this field, and it will be intriguing to see how the company’s ideas manifest in the automotive industry.
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