Apple patent application reveals autonomous vehicles that can recharge each other

“Apple has filed for yet another patent (number 20190049996) involving an autonomous vehicle,” Dennis Sellers reports for Apple World Today. “Dubbed ‘peloton’ (a group or pack of vehicles) it involves at least two self-driving vehicles traveling together. As with a previous patent filing (number 10,108,202) it would allow one car to charge another even if both are moving.”

“Apple says that, in some cases, a navigation range of a vehicle from a given location is at least partially restricted by the internal energy storage of the vehicle, which can include fuel, electrical power, etc., which are consumed by one or more engines included in the vehicle to cause the vehicle to move,” Sellers reports. “While a vehicle can stop at a refueling station, recharging station, etc. [if one is available along the route] to replenish internal stored energy to extend the navigation range of the vehicle, such stops can extend the duration of a trip.”

Sellers reports, “This is why Apple thinks it would be great if one car could recharge another… ‘The vehicle can include a power management system which enables the vehicle to be electrically coupled to a battery included in another vehicle in the peloton, so that driving range differences between the vehicles can be reduced via load sharing via the electrical connection. The vehicle can include a power connector arm which extends a power connector to couple with an interface of another vehicle.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Prior art:


    1. Totally flawed interpretation, Dingler. First, there is the matter of choice – you would choose to join a linked group of vehicles (peloton, caravan, etc.). In making that choice, you would be providing authorization to share power. Second, as a member of the linked group, you would also share benefits with the rest of the group – reduced drag/energy consumption, reduced trip time, etc.

      I can see the potential for inequity in this process – someone with a nearly drained battery want to travel from LA to San Franciso, for instance, and finds a nice juiced-up group to join to enable the trip. But there are solutions. For instance, the expenditure of energy/fuel could be tracked by vehicle. If your contribution to the group is less than the average, then you pay. If you have a great, big, charged up battery and your energy contribution is greater, then you receive a credit. This is where Apple Pay comes in handy. If the payment strategy provides a slight premium to energy suppliers versus energy consumers in the group, then this would ultimately be advantageous for everyone. If you are energy poor at some point, then you could still make a long trip without risk of being stranded. If you are energy rich at some point, then you can earn a little bit of money supplying power to others in the group. Your payment would be a bit higher than the going rate for energy.

      The idea of linked pelotons/caravans makes a lot of sense from a physics/engineering perspective, and the idea of energy sharing enhances the potential benefits.

  1. Also don’t forget the possibility of this concept being applied to “mobile charge point” vehicles which have lots of onboard power (either battery or local generation) for the specific purpose of charging other vehicles on-the-roll. If this could be done, most electric car owners would be happy to pay twice what Blink or ChargePoint chargers cost for doing it without having to just sit there and wait for the charge to complete.

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