United States Patent application filing shows Apple developing a drone modem that might communicate with the Apple car.
Drone XL discovered that Apple may be working on a modem for drones. A deeper dive showcases that this drone modem might be communicating with an Apple car. (or just another car)...It could also be showcasing an entirely new way to map an environment with drones and cars together.
The patent details a high tech drone modem that is used to determine wifi signal quality. The patent seems to showcase wifi signal quality along a flight path. Almost as if to see changes with signal quality as an effect of the placement of a drone in a room.
The patent also discusses signal quality as to determine best direction of a signal. One possibility for this is to reorient an antenna to improve communication quality. It also seems like this modem could be used to Map an environment. Could apple be using the drone modem to map rooms and communicate with the apple car? We don't know...
Further in the patent filing you find more detailed images and drawings that help us better understand what this patent is all about.
From the upper image we can see the flight path of a drone represented in a straight line. The lower image seems to showcase signal quality of some sort during the duration of the flight. Would Apple be using this modem to help create maps of interior spaces by measuring interference from Wifi routers?
Would it help Apple connect to the best wifi router to increase signal quality? Could this signal quality help Apple map environments at scale?
The patent filing even shows various cars and signal strengths in the filing. During the filming of our Ask Drone U News Podcast today, we asked the question. Does this new development from Apple have anything to do with the recent release of Remote ID?
If the Apple drone modem is flying outside and potentially communicating with a car... then it is easy to assume that Remote ID might be involved. Based on the fact that Apple was using drones for drone mapping, it is easy to assume there is some link.
In 2016, Bloomberg reported that Apple was using a drone fleet to update their Maps application. They needed a way to leapfrog the success of google maps. The drone fleet provided a faster solution to scale map updates. As the drones could map areas the car can't see. They can also traverse areas and obstacles much easier than a car.
Apple's patent abstract eludes to a connection between the signal quality indicator from a drone and communications to an omnidirectional antenna. Yet the connection from the drone to the antenna doesn't seem to stop there. Some of the patent images showcase a wireless signal to a vehicle as well. Is the Apple drone modem communicating with the Apple car?
Is the drone helping update maps in real time to communicate with vehicles? It would be extremely intelligent to have drones utilized with a mother-ship vehicle. The vehicle could be driving down the street, but mapping data would be limited, as it can only map what can be seen from a low angle. The drones provide information in places the mother-ship couldn't see. Filling in the holes of the map.
We ponder if the Apple drone modem patent has to do with updating Apple Maps, but in 3d. Apple has offered a great 3d user interface already within the Apple Maps application. It is becoming clear that Apple finds drone mapping extremely valuable. Further images from the Apple modem patent even detail how 3d mapping information is used in the workflow.
What does this all mean for the Apple Drone? It seems they have developed some serious sensor applications for a drone; but, we're not seeing a drone. It is also fascinating to see the connection between vehicles and drones. The Apple car might have a few more new features that we're not used to. Will your Apple car be able to launch a drone and check traffic? Maybe, but it wouldn't be the first time.
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