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Apple Files Patent For Crack-Detecting Windshield – Is An iCar On The Way?

Apple has quietly filed a patent for a smart windshield that can detect cracks and notify drivers when it needs fixing, fuelling rumours an Apple-branded car may be coming soon.

The patent, which was filed in August but only uncovered this week, describes a system which uses a conductive film between two layers of glass to identify if there has been damage.

It could potentially identify fissures and nicks which aren’t visible to the naked eye before they become serious.

The patent abstract reads as below:

‘A system such as a vehicle may have windows with one or more conductive layers. The conductive layers may form part of an infrared-light-blocking layer or other layer. The infrared-light-blocking layer or other layer may be formed as a coating on a transparent structural window layer such as an outer or inner glass layer in a laminated window or may be embedded in a polymer layer between the outer and inner layers. Segmented terminals and elongated terminals that may extend past two or more segmented terminals may be coupled to the edges of the conductive layers. Using these terminals, control circuitry can apply localized ohmic heating currents and can make resistance measurements on the conductive layers to detect cracks.’

The application also suggests the technology may even be able to notify the car’s computer to book an appointment to get the cracked glass fixed.

Apple product design engineers Martin Melcher, Christopher D. Jones and James R. Wilson are listed on the application as the inventors.

Just last month, Apple filed a similar patent for a ‘self-healing’ screen which could be used to repair cracked iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch displays.

The California-based iPhone maker has been hinting at diversifying into car manufacturing for years.

In 2015, Apple board member Mickey Drexler told Business Insider Steve Jobs was interested in developing an Apple car before his death in 2011.

‘Steve Jobs was gonna design an iCar,’ Drexler said. ‘I think cars have an extraordinary opportunity for cool design.’

Tech analysts have long believed Apple runs a secret lab in California named ‘Project Titan’ where engineers are working on an iCar. It’s rumoured the car will be self-driving and would be a similar design to Tesla.

Apple has never publicly confirmed development for an Apple-branded car however reports indicate the launch of an iCar could be between 2023 and 2025.

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