Ford Wants to Turn Autonomous Cars into Mobile Movie Theatres

Ford entertainment system 4 photos
Photo: Ford
Ford entertainment system
The thing with patents is that they can be as crazy as you like them - as long as the one who's filing them pays the money and his proposal doesn't infringe any existing patents, he'll get his wish.
So what if it's obvious right from the start that his idea will never make it into production? It's his idea, and the man has all the rights in the world to protect it. Even though it does nothing to keep the aliens from using it, and for some "inventors" that's a real problem.

Ford definitely isn't crazy, nor is it an individual, but that doesn't save it from patenting some very weird ideas. We all know that autonomous cars will change the way we use our vehicles, and they will also modify the current interior layout, but this Ford proposal is either ahead of its time, or just plain ridiculous.

Catching up with our favorite shows on Netflix while going to work is something we're all looking forward to, and Ford apparently thought it should capitalize on that. And because a tablet-sized LCD screen on the dashboard would be just so... non-autonomous, the company decided to take things further.

Ford is putting its money on a future where autonomous cars can switch back and forth from driving on their own to handing over the vehicle's controls into the hands of a human. Or, at least, that's what this latest patent for an "Autonomous Vehicle Entertainment System" would have us believe. Anticipating our Netflix needs, Ford is filing for a system that uses two displays, depending on the driving mode of the vehicle. When the AI is in control, the passengers get the whole movie theater experience thanks to a projection screen that drops from the roof and covers the windshield. A projector situated further back does the same thing, and provided Ford also has some plans for how to make it really dark inside as well, the last movie ticket you bought may actually be the last you'll ever need to buy.

When the driver takes over, the screen retracts, and the video can further be viewed on a display that can be integrated into the dashboard, the instrument cluster or even the rearview mirror. Why would you want to have a film running in the rearview mirror while you're driving (presumably forwards) is beyond us, and we suspect the police wouldn't be on board with all this either. Not to mention that, according to Ford's drawings, the car has had its front row of seats removed (unless they magically disappear when in autonomous mode, along with the people occupying them), which would make driving virtually impossible for anyone under seven feet tall. But, hey, it's just a patent. These things are filed just so other companies won't do it first.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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