As I’ve said numerous times, I don’t think Apple will ever release an Apple-branded automotive. However, if I’m wrong, such a vehicle could sport a holographic display.
Apple has filed for a patent (number 20190018364) for a “vehicle onboard holographic communication system.” In the filing, the tech giant says that electronic devices are increasingly incorporating intelligent computerized assistants in smart device applications as part of man-machine command and communication interfaces. For example, new automotive vehicle designs often incorporate voice commands and high-definition 2D graphics for various automotive infotainment, navigation, and vehicle control applications for driver and passenger entertainment and convenience.
Some automotive man-machine interfaces are also configured to capture and process naturalized human language as voice commands and accommodate in-dash Internet web browsing, videoconferencing, or other real-time multimedia communications from an interior of a vehicle. Apple says that, although such conventional implementations of various digitized visual and voice assistance in automotive user interfaces have enhanced driver and passenger experience and convenience, today's automotive infotainment, navigation, and control system interfaces are unable to provide visually-humanized and lifelike digital assistants or three-dimensional holographic objects for driver and/or passenger infotainment and communication needs.
What’s more, conventional automotive infotainment systems don’t incorporate three-dimensional display or holographic display capabilities that may enhance driver and/or passenger communication, command, and entertainment experiences inside a vehicle. Apple’s idea is to provide a “novel electronic system that can provide various three-dimensional holographic objects, holographic digital assistance, and dynamically-updatable holographic contents in an automotive infotainment, vehicle control, and occupant communication environments.”
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The company says it may also be beneficial to provide a specialized in-dash holographic pod or another in-vehicle holographic presentation platform that can display lifelike high-resolution holographic objects for driver and passenger infotainment, controls, and communication needs. In addition, Apple is eyeing a user gesture-sensing holographic man-machine interface for enabling various gesture commands to holographic objects displayed inside a vehicle.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “A novel vehicle onboard holographic communication system is configured to generate, manage, and display various three-dimensional holographic objects, holographic digital assistance, and dynamically-updatable holographic contents in automotive infotainment, vehicle control, and occupant communication environments.
“Preferably, the vehicle onboard holographic communication system includes a vehicle infotainment hardware module, a vehicle infotainment operating system (e.g. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, etc.) and a vehicle onboard holographic communication operating system (e.g. ‘HoloDash OS’) executed in a CPU and a memory unit of the vehicle infotainment hardware module, and a holographic display pod integrated into a vehicle dashboard or another part of the vehicle interior.
“The in-vehicle holographic display pod provides lifelike high-resolution 3D holographic objects for vehicle occupant infotainment, vehicle control, and communication applications. Furthermore, the vehicle onboard holographic communication system allows in-vehicle holograms to receive and interpret driver or passenger gesture commands with embedded sensors, which enable bilaterally-interactive experiences with the in-vehicle holograms.”
Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.