The Blue Oval company is one of the most involved automakers in the autonomous segment, seen by many specialists as one of the leaders in this innovative field – and they’re looking to stay that way.
For that matter, they seem to be readily preparing for the times when autonomous cars will be the norm, if we’re to judge by the findings from a recent patent filling. The company seems to believe that in the near future, the steering wheel and pedals might be obsolete – or at least optional. A new patent from Ford shows the Blue Oval considering the possibilities, filling the idea of a self-driving vehicle with a removable steering wheel and pedals. According to the filling, the “steering wheel [would be kept] for development purposes, and enables the easy provision of a steering wheel as a customer-requested option.”
Vehicles equipped with the new system would be fabricated with the cabin still holding special places or the steering wheel and pedals, with the needed locking points and connections, hidden by special trim pieces when not in use. The front safety would be fulfilled with a regular set of airbags, as well as another one in front of the driver in the dashboard – a sensor would see if the steering wheel is there or not and command the proper deployment method.