A Ford patent application for a folding steering wheel that could be used as a support surface for a laptop has been uncovered by AutoGuide.
The patent is for a foldable steering wheel that “includes a first section, a second section and a pivot.” The pivot connects the first section to the second section, the patent says, and the first section is “displaced about the pivot between a home position and a folded position.” It’s fairly straightforward as far as automotive patents are concerned, and Ford’s reason for filing the patent is also rather simple.
“Many individuals utilize their motor vehicles for work,” the filing says. “Often these individuals need to utilize a laptop computer or other device for a work-related task. Many times, these individuals need to complete some work after arriving at a meeting early, while waiting to pick someone up or following a meeting.”
So Ford envisions this folding wheel/laptop support being used by businessmen or other working individuals who may need to send some emails or get other work done on the go. We’d probably just put a pizza box on it and enjoy a slice while parked at a waterfront or someplace else with a nice view, though.
We can’t see Ford actually putting such a steering wheel on a production vehicle. The risk of the locking mechanism failing and folding the wheel down while the vehicle is in motion seems too high, making it a bit of a liability. It’s still rather interesting, though, and is yet another weird idea in a long list of oddball Ford patents that includes a car with a deployable motorcycle, a retracting bike rack, a self-leveling cupholder, a privacy curtain for an SUV’s liftgate and heat-generated hood graphics for when it snows.
Stay weird, Ford.
With additional reporting by Dennis Chung.
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