Ford's New Patent: Let's all stand and drive!
Ever felt the need to stand up while driving to get a better view of the terrain? Just picture it: you, towering over your vehicle like a tank commander, tackling the challenging off-road landscape. If that sounds like a thrilling idea to you, Ford has been brainstorming a similar concept. Not a done deal yet, but this patent has some pretty intriguing elements to it.
I was perusing the USPTO's (United States Patent and Trademark Office) website again to see what those crazy kids at Ford have been up to and stumbled across this beauty. Hot off the presses and granted on July 4th, is Patent No. 11,691,511 "Redundant Vehicle Controls Based on User Presence and Position."
Check out this mouthful, straight from the patent: "Redundant vehicle controls based on user presence and position are disclosed herein. A method can include determining a presence and a position of a driver in a sensing zone of a vehicle using a sensor platform integrated into the vehicle. The sensing zone is associated with a primary driving interface of the vehicle. Determining when the position of the driver indicates that the driver is not in a fully-seated position relative to a driver's seat of the vehicle, and that the vehicle is in a non-seated drive mode where the driver is permitted to operate the vehicle while not being in the fully-seated position. Activating a secondary driving interface of the vehicle when the driver is not in a fully-seated position and the vehicle is in the selected driving mode. The secondary driving interface can be used in combination with the primary driving interlace."
Did you get that? As you can see from the above image, the concept here is for Ford to create a set of secondary controls for when you're standing up in your Bronco. According to the patent, they're looking at using some nifty sensors that can tell when you've decided to go full 'commando mode' and stand up to drive.
The idea is to have the controls on the windshield header and use capacitive touch pads. Think controlling speed, steering, torque output - all while you're standing. But don't worry about going full throttle and flying out of your ride. Ford's way ahead of you - they're planning on putting some limits on how fast you can go when you're standing up and damping acceleration and braking.
Even though Ford's stand-up driving patent concept sounds like a thrilling adventure, it's important to remember that it's just that: a concept. Many patents, like this one, never transition from the drawing board to the assembly line; practicality, safety concerns, and production costs often keep them from becoming reality. However, the mere existence of such a patent makes me wonder. If stand-up driving is something Ford's willing to patent, just imagine the unpatented ideas brewing in the minds of their engineers. What crazy idea could be next?