Ford Patents Autonomous Vehicle

Posted by at 12:48 pm on August 20, 2015

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Ford Motor Co. received a U.S. patent on its plans for an “autonomous vehicle with reconfigurable seats” earlier this month.

The seats can swivel and fold all while the vehicle is in motion, and the steering wheel can even retract into the dashboard to create more space in the vehicle cabin.

Among the available configurations is a rolling living room format, in which 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.

Ford Autonomous

The reconfigurable seating is similar to the interior design of Mercedes-Benz’s futuristic autonomous concept unveiled earlier this year at the International CES in Las Vegas.

The four seats in the Mercedes concept can also rotate to face each other in a lounge-like setting.

The Ford patent, submitted in November, states that autonomous vehicles will eventually only require passengers to select a destination, allowing passengers to focus on non-driving activities mid-travel.

This plan for a reimagined vehicle cabin is Ford’s most recent step in autonomous vehicle development, but it does not appear the automaker will be offering the technology and design laid out in the patent anytime soon.

While Ford is moving forward with autonomous technology development, it still lags behind many of its competitors.

IFord is making moves to catch up. Audi, Mercedes and BMW are already gearing up to offer advanced autonomous features within the next year.

Ford said it would move its self-driving technology development to its new advanced engineering operations in Silicon Valley as it moved into the advanced engineering stage of autonomous-vehicle development.

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