Ford is looking well ahead to the future, where passengers in self-driving cars can simply relax while heading to their destination.
The American automaker has filed a patent for an “autonomous car with reconfigurable seats” that allows the front seats to do a 180-degree flip so that the front passengers can sit face-to-face with the rear passengers. The patent was filed by Mark Cuddihy, Manoharprasad Rao and Jialiang Le, featuring a vehicle that can fully operate without any input from a driver. While self-driving cars aren’t anything new, the idea of configurable seats presents an interesting concept where the passenger cabin can transform itself into a lounge.
The patent filing details a number of configurations, with one rotating the front seats 180 degrees to face backwards, a layout that would be ideal for business meetings and family gatherings. Another layout shows the front seats folding into the footwells, creating an ottoman that the rear-seat passengers can use to rest their feet. Perhaps the most impressive part to the patent filing is that the seats can be reconfigured while the self-driving car is in motion.
Of course, not all patents become reality, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see a self-driving car with similar seating technology available in 10 years or so.
YouTube user PatentYogi created a video that you can watch below, illustrating the possibilities from Ford’s recent patent filing.
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
[Video Source: PatentYogi YouTube]
Discuss this story at our Ford Forum