Apple's latest patent points to a VR system for your self-driving car

Ready Player One

What are we all going to be doing when cars are driving themselves? Wearing VR goggles to view the outside world, if Apple has anything to do with it – a newly revealed patent from the company points to an interesting virtual reality system for your in-car entertainment.

As spotted by Patently Apple, the filing demonstrates how VR headsets could be worn by all the passengers in a self-driving car, rendering windows with a view of the outside world – or indeed any world that the occupants of the car wanted to go through. Fancy a tour through Jurassic Park? Done.

You could even use the VR experiences to hold a virtual meeting in a virtual office space, according to the patent filing registered by Apple. In the future, there's going to be no excuse for getting stuck in traffic on the way to work.

Apple patent

One of the patent images (Image credit: Patently Apple)

There are some serious points here too: the VR goggles could help reduce motion sickness, Apple says, and make self-driving cars smaller and safer. If no windows are needed, car designs could potentially be more compact and better able to withstand collisions.

Once you get lost in VR, you could even imagine being in a spacious limousine rather than the pokey little banger you're actually in, Apple suggests. Of course, this is just a patent, so the usual rules apply here – we won't necessarily see anything like this come to market, at least not in the immediate future.

Still, we know Apple is interested in augmented reality and in self-driving technology, so in the years ahead this kind of VR system might become the norm. In the meantime, keep your eyes on the road if you're behind the wheel.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.