In what could be a revolutionary development for the auto industry, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has officially granted Apple a patent related to windshield area intrusion control. Apple’s granted patent (11,021,126), which has been covered and analyzed by Patently Apple, details and describes an apparatus for resisting entry of objects through a windshield of a vehicle that contains a passenger cabin. Further, the apparatus includes an instrument panel situated between the windshield and the passenger cabin and an airbag that is deployable into an area above the instrument panel to resist entry of objects into the passenger cabin.
According to the patent background, Apple said that during a vehicular crash, “portions of a vehicle will deform upon impact with other objects. A vehicle can be configured to reduce or eliminate entry of structures, such as exterior body components, into a passenger cabin of the vehicle. As an example, crush zones may be designed to allow longitudinal crushing along the hood or fenders of the vehicle in a way that reduces the likelihood that components will intrude into the passenger cabin. In many jurisdictions, vehicle safety regulations require that no exterior parts of a vehicle intrude into the passenger cabin during a crash. Crash testing, such as a frontal impact with a fixed structure, may be performed to confirm compliance with these regulations.”
Apple’s newly-granted patent also contains several noteworthy aspects. The patent details “an apparatus that includes a panel housing located at a periphery of the windshield, and a deployable panel that deploys from the panel housing in response to a detected impact or an imminent impact to cover a portion of the windshield. Another apparatus includes a fracturable feature that extends laterally across a width dimension of the windshield, and a stop structure that extends laterally across the windshield to limit deformation of a front portion of the vehicle. Further, it mentions an apparatus that includes an instrument panel that is located between the windshield and the passenger cabin, and an airbag that is deployable into an area above the instrument panel to resist entry of objects into the passenger cabin.”
For more details, review Apple’s granted patent (11,021,126).