Apple patents complex articulated steering system for possible autonomous mass-transit bus; it is developed by military contractor BAE Systems
The multinational electronics giant Samsung has recently bought stakes in BYD, the largest electric vehicle maker in China. Following it up was a rumour that the Korean firm is looking to buy the famed Italian technology company Magneti Marelli from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
This goes on to show the increased dependence on electronics in the growing electric vehicle is playing into the hands of global brands like Samsung and Apple as the latter has speculated to be concentrating more on the inevitable autonomous driving technology.
Hot on the heels, the American conglomerate has patented an articulated vehicle steering system as the tech is utilised on a multi-section tracked design. Looking at the filed drawings, this could mean Apple might be considering developing an autonomous mass-transit bus. The patent rights were filed in July last year and the US Patent and Trademark released the information yesterday.
Buses have articulated vehicle system as they have a section in the centre allowing for tighter turning radius than rigid design. The patent says existing technology makes for bending possible from a couple of issues. One is the exposing of the steering components to elements resulting in severe damage potentially. The larger protective housing adds weight and reduces access to mechanical parts.
The changes in the Apple patent are to make the system more reliable and protect the articulation software. The radiator, air intake and header send warm or cold air around the steering housing as the components won’t get too hot in summer and contrarily in winter. Two movable protective elements at the bottom overlap shielding of parts and during turns the sections would pivot enough.
The developer of this system is military contractor BAE Systems Hägglunds Aktiebolag while Apple holds the patent rights. Apple could establish own sales and service networks for its autonomous buses as it vies for the spotlight against Mercedes-Benz.