Ford recently filed for arguably the most controversial patent of the year, which involves the development of technology that allows the driver to stand in an SUV and control it using a panel located on the upper windshield arc.
The patent application mentions a convertible, so it’s probably a Bronco, which can gain a competitive advantage over its rival Jeep Wrangler. The patent rightly points out that certain situations require the driver to stand up or lean out of the car window to take a closer look at a difficult area before passing it.
The Indy Auto Man car experts note that the external features of the Bronco and Bronco Sport have already been presented to the public. The automaker shared official photos at the end of last month. Under the hood, the Bronco SUV will have a turbocharged motor with a capacity of 2.3 L, forced up to 270 hp. An alternative would be a 2.7-liter engine with a return of 325 hp. Both powertrains will have 7-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission options. All SUVs have 4WD.
Those who have ever ridden off-road probably know that, for example, when trying on large stones, visibility is usually low. Sometimes you need to lean out of the window or get out of the car to make sure that the trajectory is correct. But in these cases, the driver loses access to the main controls, including the gas and brake pedals. Some driver assistants also turn off when the driver leaves his seat. To solve this problem, Ford offers a new driver detection system, more advanced than the sensor in the seat, so that the aforementioned functions do not turn off.
Also, the manufacturer is to create an additional control system for special use cases. To ensure at least minimal security, it will be applied only in strictly defined situations, excluding high speeds (no more than 3 mph), while a driver is standing in an SUV. The system will also track metrics such as roll, lean, and the number of wheels in the air. Most likely, it will become an additional drive mode built into Ford’s G.O.A.T (Goes Over Any Terrain) system, one of the best to date.
An additional control system will work with micro-sensors to control speed and torque, as well as a key element—the steering wheel. This way, a driver will be able to keep one hand on top of the steering wheel while pressing down on the “pedals” on the panel located on top of the windshield. In principle, this panel can be installed anywhere, and the final decision on its placement has not yet been made.
Of course, some could accuse Ford of promoting unsafe driving, but on the other hand, maybe they want to make dangerous driving safer. And those who can’t stand such innovations can still opt for the good old Ford Bronc of previous generations.