Audi has been granted a patent for a camera apparatus that uses a flexible carrier medium as a light guide to capture images of the surroundings. The device includes input and output coupling regions for light transmission and an image capture device for processing the captured images. GlobalData’s report on Audi gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Audi, was a key innovation area identified from patents. Audi's grant share as of February 2024 was 66%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Camera apparatus with flexible light guide for image capture

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Audi AG

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11927876B2) discloses a camera apparatus designed to generate an image representation of surroundings. The apparatus includes a carrier medium that acts as a light guide with input and output coupling regions. The input coupling region features a deflection structure to input light from the surroundings into the carrier medium, which then transmits the light via internal reflection to the output coupling region. An image capture device captures the transmitted light and provides image data correlated with the surroundings. Additionally, the apparatus includes a stowing device to alternate the carrier medium between a compact and operational position, with the carrier medium having a larger light incidence surface in the operational position.

Furthermore, the camera apparatus may include a support structure or guide mechanism within the stowing device to facilitate the folding and unfolding of the carrier medium. The carrier medium, which can be made of polymer or film, is transparent and may feature optical gratings in the input and output coupling regions. The apparatus may also incorporate a holographic optical element between the input and output coupling regions to enhance light transmission. The flexibility of at least a portion of the holographic optical element allows for efficient operation of the camera apparatus in capturing and processing light from the surroundings. Overall, the patented camera apparatus offers a unique and innovative design for generating high-quality image representations using a flexible and adaptable carrier medium.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.