Ford Lets the Car Do the Work While the Driver Gets Some Shut-Eye

June 17th, 2023 by

NYE Ford 2023 Ford Super Duty

Photo Source: Ford

On June 6th, 2023, Ford Motor Company published a curious patent, which revolves around safely falling asleep at the wheel. Ford CEO Jim Farley made bold claims about self-driving technology and declared the automaker’s next electric pickup truck will drive itself. According to Ford Authority, the new E-Tourneo Custom has already been equipped with a folding steering wheel, while the Ford F-150 sports the Max Recline Seats. However, Farley is undoubtedly increasing his company’s pressure on Tesla, promoting the automaker’s next electric pickup truck set to launch in 2025 as a breakthrough product. The next-generation vehicle is codenamed Project T3.

The Future of Mobility

The type of system described would be a significant step forward from Ford’s existing driver-assistance feature, BlueCruise. BlueCruise invites drivers to take their hands off the wheel while it accelerates, steers, and brakes on certain highways, but drivers need to keep their eyes on the road and be prepared to take control at any time. 

Ford is the only manufacturer that currently offers anything above a semi-autonomous system on a privately owned vehicle in the United States, even though some setups are in testing form. With the degree of advancement occurring gradually, it is understandable at this stage that several automakers are waiting to adopt systems that require less driver input, where no occupant engagement is enabled or required. In other words, right now, consumers cannot buy a car that drives itself.

Ford Versus Tesla in the Battle of Electric Vehicles

For years, Elon Musk has declared that self-driving Teslas are on the way, but the technology is not ready yet. The firm has produced a prototype variant of its Full Self-Driving feature that attempts to navigate any and all driving environments. Still, it requires supervision and users have claimed that it sometimes behaves unpredictably. 

Ford has been coming after Tesla since it began focusing on electric vehicles like its Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning, and experts have announced Ford could surpass the electric vehicle-market leader’s sales by 2025. After all, Ford was the number two seller of electric vehicles in the United States in the 2022 model year. As ambitious as Farley has been about the company’s electrification plans, Ford is on track to spend $3 billion on its electric vehicle business, known as Model e, in 2023. 

The Next Generation

Ford is seeking greater efficiencies and profit margins on the next-generation electric vehicle. The pickup truck will provide a package that will combine elements of past ideas, and that is exactly what Ford’s latest patent seeks to accomplish. As a matter of fact, Ford Authority emphasizes, “Rather than seats that recline all the way back or a folding steering wheel, this new patent combines those ideas into one, and adds even more ways to clear out some space for those that wish to catch some Zs on the go.” 

The 29-page patent describes a steering wheel use position and a steering wheel stowed position. To be clear, in the steering wheel use position, the steering wheel is operable and able to rotate around a second axis to steer the vehicle. In contrast, the steering wheel stowed position stores the steering wheel when not in use and renders it inoperable for safety reasons. Moreover, the foot pedals can be moved away to make room for a footrest. There is even a reclinable feature to make the interior more comfortable.

Ford is pushing the limits of conventional mobility, and if you seek to follow the company’s venture, please come visit NYE Ford. We have a friendly and knowledgeable sales team that will make your time buying, leasing, or selling needs an absolute breeze for anything on our new vehicle inventory. Perhaps you are considering one of our wonderful used vehicles to take home. We have a plethora of options to choose from.