Apple has filed a patent application for a navigation system designed specifically for use in an autonomous vehicle.
The application, which was published on Thursday, details a navigation system that doesn’t rely on map data from an external device or pre-loaded data to determine a driving route, but rather a software model that uses sensors and other data to actively determine the route. The system also learns to change routes based on weather, traffic, road conditions and other factors, and will give drivers the option to manually select alternate routes throughout their trip. Drawings included in the application show the company’s early vision for a user interface in an autonomous vehicle:
Apple had previously expressed interest in developing an entire car, but the project was abandoned in favor of a less ambitious undertaking: developing software, hardware and other tech related to self-driving vehicles. The company has been working on autonomous cars for about three years and even leases a dedicated proving ground to test its technology, but is probably still well behind companies such as Google’s Waymo or General Motors’s Cruise Automation in regards to advancement. This patent application is a sign it’s serious about the undertaking, though, and there’s likely many more where this came from.