Apple Has Applied for 248 Car-Related Patents Since 2000

Apple has filed for and published a total 248 automobile-related patents since 2000, according to research conducted by Japanese news site Nikkei and Tokyo analytics firm Intellectual Property Landscape.

Apple car wheel icon feature triad
Patents cover self-driving technology, riding comfort, seats, suspensions, navigation, battery management, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity for car-to-car communication, and more. Apple has filed the most patents related to communication and navigation, followed by autonomous driving.

After Apple submits a patent application, it takes around 18 months for it to be published. Apple has so far had eight car-related patents published from 2021, but additional patents should be granted later this year, and the number of 2021 patents published is expected to exceed the number of patents Apple had published in 2020.

Car-related patent filings began picking up in 2016 after fewer than 10 per year in the 2010s, with Apple filing for 44. Patent filings ticked up even further in 2017, when Apple filed for a record 66 applications.

News of Apple's work on some kind of self-driving vehicle first surfaced in 2014, and since then, we've heard regular rumors about Apple's progress. The work on the car has shifted several times and there were moments when it looked like a full car was not going to happen, but in recent years, changes to the project indicate Apple is indeed pushing for some kind of electric autonomous vehicle to be released by the end of the decade.

Apple has been speaking with various vehicle manufacturers and part suppliers for the last couple years, but it is still not clear who exactly Apple plans to partner with (if any company) for its electric vehicle. Apple's many patents related to windows, seats, suspension, and other physical car components reinforce speculation that Apple is going to release a car rather than simply focus on autonomous driving software.

Recent rumors indicate that Apple has ambitious plans for its self-driving vehicle, with the aim of changing the car market the way the iPhone changed the smartphone market. Apple is exploring a design with four seats that face inward, with no steering wheel or brake pedal.

There is no word on when the Apple Car will be launching, but reliable sources like Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo have suggested that Apple is aiming for a 2025 release.

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Top Rated Comments

vercordio Avatar
26 months ago
250 patents and 0 products. That’s some Grade A patent trolling
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SD449 Avatar
26 months ago
"We've patented the hell out of it"
- Steve Jobs Jan 2007

That rounded rectangles patent could come in handy for the wheels…
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrisdazzo Avatar
26 months ago
Sigh. Apple is not building a car - they're building car technologies they can license out, like the fully-integrated Carplay functionality demoed at WWDC '22. But, I guess stuff like this continues to get clicks despite words like "suggested" and "aiming to", which I'm sure we're all familiar with from a great many Cybertruck-related articles... curious.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Slix Avatar
26 months ago
People apparently seem to forget that Apple had partnerships with a dozen or so iPod+car manufacturers in the mid 2000’s, and now have a bunch of CarPlay functionality partnerships with a bunch of car makers too. I still think the Apple Car rumor was just the CarPlay stuff and people let themselves get disappointed cuz Apple didn’t deliver on a promise they never promised.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Danoc Avatar
26 months ago
That's a paltry number that confirms to me that there won't be an Apple car. That's a rumour as strong as an Apple TV set.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
26 months ago
22+ years later and it's still not here. Not nowhere near completion. That's just insane.

Instead of focusing on the hardware. Apple should have focused on the software for the vehicles a long time ago. Things would have been different by now.

Is Apple developing a flying car?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)