Apple Files Patent for Window Defect Sensing, Image Processing

Apple has submitted a patent encompassing systems and techniques for sensing defects associated with windows and windshields, and for performing image processing based on the sensed defects. The system may even spot-clean windshields, and provide repair and replacement recommendations.

Photo by Laurenz Heymann on Unsplash.

Apple filed the patent in early September 2022, with the United States Patent & Trademark Office publishing the patent on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

“In some cases, the defects associated with the window may interfere with imaging of the scene. For instance, the window may be located between the scene and a sensor device used to capture images of the scene,” Apple writes in the patent. “As such, rather than providing an accurate representation of the scene, the images of the scene may provide an altered representation of the scene, e.g., a representation of the scene that is altered based at least in part on image altering effects caused by the defects.”

Apple’s solution is to perform image processing based “at least partly” on data corresponding to the window defects.

“A sensor device may be used to capture images of the window to obtain the data corresponding to the window defects,” Apple continues. “Furthermore, one or multiple lighting modules may be used to illuminate the window to facilitate detection of the defects by the sensor device.”

According to the patent application, the proposed system could include a window, one or multiple sensor devices, one or multiple lighting modules, and one or multiple processors. Through those processors, additional functions such as automatic window cleaning are on the table.

“In some examples, the vehicle may include a window cleaning system configured to spot clean the window. For instance, the processor(s) may be configured to evaluate, based at least in part on the first data (obtained by imaging the window), one or more parameters that characterize the defects associated with the window to produce parameter evaluation data.”

Through that evaluation, processors may then activate a “spot clean” of one or more areas of the window. Processors may also be able to address repair and replacement status.

“In some examples, designation of the repair status and/or the replace status may be based at least in part on the first data obtained by imaging the window,” Apple continues. “Designation of the repair status may indicate a suggestion to repair at least a portion of the window. Similarly, designation of the replace status may indicate a suggestion to replace at least a portion of the window.”

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