An ‘Apple Car’ could let you know when there are small cracks in its windows

Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has filed for a patent (number 20200363362) for a system for detecting cracks in a vehicle’s windows. 

The goal is to make an Apple Car, should one ever arrive, have enhanced safety features. Apple notes that vehicle windows sometimes include thin films through which ohmic heating current may be applied to defrost the windows. Impact from road debris and other objects can damage windows. For example, a thin film layer in a window that is used for heating the window may become damaged. 

When this damage is left undetected, there is a risk that the thin film will corrode due to exposure to moisture or that the thin film may not perform properly. Windows that develop small cracks may also be prone to more extensive cracking. Apple’s idea is for a vehicle to be able to detect such cracks and alert its owners so that appropriate steps can be taken.

Here’s the summary of the patent filing: “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.”