Apple has long been suspected of developing its own self-driving car, a project that Tim Cook has previously described as the “mother of all AI”.
To fuel more discussion on the topic, the company has just published a patent for a new “autonomous navigation system”. The latter happens to be the title of the document.
With little information from the firm on its intentions with the patent, the company made a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday.
As reported by CNBC, the tech giant has had the system under wraps for a while. In fact, it’s thought that Apple has been developing the technology since 2015.
Of course, Apple hasn’t responded to these rumours, but the patent document does give a glimpse into how the system might work.
The main aim of the patent is to make self-driving navigation systems more efficient, according to the filing. Currently, these technologies can take a while to generate maps with significant detail. Apple is looking to change this.
Most navigation technologies used in self-driving cars rely on maps and sensors to monitor real-life elements that change on a day-to-day basis. This helps cars deal with intense computing workloads.
Apple doesn’t think that’s good enough, though. As noted by CNBC, it’s proposing a system that controls the car “independently of any data received from any devices external to the vehicle and any navigation data stored locally to the vehicle prior to any monitoring of navigation”.
It’s essentially a more refined computerised model for controlling self-driving cars, making use of powerful sensors and processors. The system would be able to predict routes accurately.
CNBC attempted to get in touch with Apple to comment, but it didn’t respond to the report. And there’s no word on when the system may become a reality. So the rumour mill continues.