Apple Patents New Type of Short-Range Vehicle-to-Vehicle Safety Tech

Could this be a sign that the fabled Apple Car will become a reality?

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Well, this is interesting. According to a patent published Thursday, Apple is has come up with an idea that could have big implications for autonomous vehicle driving systems and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology. The name of the patent is “Wireless Vehicle System for Enhancing Situational Awareness.”

V2V technology involves vehicles wirelessly communicating with other cars and trucks at short range, to alert them of hazards. For example, the 2017 Cadillac CTS comes standard with V2V communications that can alert other V2V-equipped Cadillacs when there’s a hard braking situation, slippery roads, etc. When a car receievs that signal, it alerts the driver, to add an extra layer of caution. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that widespread V2V adoption "could eliminate or mitigate the severity of up to 80 percent of non-impaired crashes, including crashes at intersections or while changing lanes."

The system that Apple has patented is similar to the V2V systems already in existence. It uses short-range wireless technology—in all likelihood, a Bluetooth-based system—while incorporating sensors and GPS systems to seek out road hazards and mention them to nearby vehicles. If it’s integrated with the Apple CarPlay operating system, it could have a distinct advantage over Android Auto in the future, potentially swaying more motorists to go with iOS over Android.

With renewed hype for an Apple Car percolating online these days, this new patent might be a sign that the fabled "iCar" could come into existence after all. By the time it comes out, V2V tech could be mandatory. But whatever the purpose behind this tech may be, it's clear Apple is planning something interesting in the automotive space.