Apple’s patent history reveals a major push into autos


A joint investigation by Nikkei and a Tokyo analytics company found that Apple has jumped into automobile-related technologies, as shown by the company’s recent patent applications.

Apple has filed patents in self-driving and other vehicle software as well as in hardware related to riding comfort, such as seats and suspension. The U.S. tech and services company is also targeting vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology, which allows cars to communicate with each other and connect to the “Internet of Things,” moves seen as a major push by Apple to build its own platform and join a growing industry shift from just cars to overall mobility.

Nikkei and Intellectual Property Landscape found that as of June 1, Apple applied for and published 248 automobile-related patents after 2000.

It typically takes about 18 months after filing a patent for it to be published. While most of Apple’s applications in 2021 have yet to be published, eight were. This number is bound to increase throughout the year. Of Apple’s 27 applications made in 2020, five were published at the same time in 2021. The number of patents published in 2021 is almost certain to exceed this, according to Intellectual Property Landscape.

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