Apple files patent for autonomous vehicle collision avoidance system

“In one of the first pieces of documentation proving Apple’s investigation into autonomous vehicles, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published a patent application describing a basic collision avoidance system that could one day serve as the underpinnings of a self-driving car telemetry solution,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“Apple’s patent application for ‘Collision Avoidance Of Arbitrary Polygonal Obstacles,’ offers proof that the company is investigating the application of machine learning and computer vision to autonomous ‘agents’ (vehicles),” Campbell reports.

“Designed for robotics — a field from which autonomous cars emerged — the disclosed systems and methods detail a basic collision avoidance technique capable of successfully navigating an environment without prior knowledge of the objects within,” Campbell reports. “In particular, the system is able to operate in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional space, often a difficult task for computer vision systems.”

Read more, and see Apple patent application illustrations, in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We can’t wait fore the road test spy shots!

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[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. In particular, the system is able to operate in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional space…”
    In 3-dimensions allows for self-FLYING agents, such as drones, to avoid collisions with power wires, windmills, and other aircraft.

  2. Let’s hope Apple has beefed up its legal department with enough defense attorneys for the oncoming lawsuits attempting to take Apple for all it is worth.

    There are 3 ways to provide safe autonomous vehicles:
    1) operate only in controlled environments — see factory automation
    2) limit operation capability such that the vehicle is so slow or flimsy it can’t hurt anyone — see consumer toys
    3) make it so expensive that practically nobody can buy it — see aviation

    Otherwise, autonomous vehicles will eventually have safety and litigation issues of one kind or another. I don’t see how Apple has the magic bullet to get around any of the above constraints, so it better be prepared for the greedy lawyers going after them.

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