Befitting its tagline, “Go further”, American multinational automaker Ford Motor Company has gone further and patented a Mechanical Invention concept in the US for an autonomous car that can reconfigure its seats and can make a car interior into a living room.
The future open ups its possibilities into the world of autonomous cars or self driving cars. Ultimately, the goal of self-driving cars is to require nothing of the passengers, therefore seats that face the front of the car aren’t really a necessity. Self driven cars are not unfamiliar but the relevance of Ford’s new patented technology is that the autonomous vehicles will eventually only require passengers to select a destination, leaving passengers to focus on non-driving related tasks.
With the press of a button the patented technology converts the interior of the car into a living room. The seats inside the car can be rotated or moved as well. Everything from the seats to the steering wheel is re-configurable. The seat can be moved from a front-facing position to a rear-facing position when the vehicle is stationary or while the vehicle is operating in an autonomous mode. The console usually placed between the front seats is movable and can be moved anywhere between the car to act as a table. Thus, travelling can be used for business meetings by instantly setting up a round table conference. The seats can swivel and fold even while the vehicle is in motion, and the steering wheel can even retract into the dashboard to create more space in the vehicle cabin. The front seats can rotate backwards 180 degrees to face the back row. The front seats can also be folded down and used as a footrest for backseat passengers.
The patent drawings detail a variety of seat styles that can be maniplated to allow a variety of seating positions. One features a bench that can fold such that its either facing the front or rear, while another features front seats that tuck under the dashboard.
The patented technology is similar to the Mercedes-Benz F 015 “Luxury In Motion” futuristic concept that was launched earlier this year. Mercedes for the first time opened up the possibility of luxury, and a relaxing buffer between work and home. Ford may not be exploring the luxury angle quite to the same extent as Mercedes is, but clearly it’s looking at what’s possible for, when drivers become passengers.
While Ford is moving forward with autonomous technology development, it still lags behind many of its competitors like Audi, Mercedes, Volvo, and BMW. This plan for a reimagined vehicle cabin is Ford’s most recent step in autonomous vehicle development. While Audi, Mercedes, Volvo and BMW have a class and elegance of their own, they are undoubtedly a little hard on the consumer pocket. Ford in comparison to this is rather easy going, which is why there is a sense of eagerness looming large for the launch of the new vehicle. According to news reports however, we just might have to wait “further” before we can get our hands on this piece of modern technology.
Authored by Blessen Koshy
Contributed by Mechanical and Automotive Patent Division of BananaIP in India