The research indicated that 2017 was a peak year in terms of the number of patents applied for and approved, but that record may be broken. Akira Yamauchi, CEO of Intellectual Property Landscape, said that “if applications to be published in the future are included, the total for 2021 may be on par with the record set in 2017.” The patents are wide-ranging and include some in the areas of self-driving and other software that powers vehicles. In addition, the patents cover a number of hardware elements including those in the area of comfort like seats and suspension.
I don’t recall anyone ever keeping track of the amount of patents Apple possesses in the field, but it’s well known that the corporation has been discreetly working to launch an Apple Car and make a significant push into the automobile business. Nikkei and Intellectual Property Landscape, an analytics company, conducted research on Apple’s applications for and publications of 248 patents pertaining to the automotive sector.
The company also has patents in the area of car smarts or “vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology,” which allows vehicles to connect to the internet of things and to other vehicles. The report says that these particular patents potentially indicate “a major push by Apple to build its own platform and join a growing industry shift from just cars to overall mobility.” Despite the company’s continued growth of auto-related patents, skepticism remains about whether Apple can deliver a car since the company has never built something as major as it. Hiroto Suzuki, a managing partner at consultancy Arthur D. Little Japan, said that “I wonder if [Apple] can ensure safety when it outsources the production of cars, which require more parts and higher levels of safety.”
Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a “heavy” user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.
Other analysts have said that we can expect the company to announce the Apple Car within the decade, so we still have plenty of time to wait. While we’re waiting, the company also appears to be pushing the next evolution of CarPlay and attempting to entice other automakers into adopting the platform.