Ford patent movie screen windshield for autonomous cars 0

“Eyes on the road!” is a phrase that Ford hope to make redundant in a few years.

Image credit: United States Patent Office

Image credit: United States Patent Office

In news that is both pioneering and perplexing in equal measure, a patent has been filed in the United States by Ford for a new software/design concept that would see autonomous cars fitted with screens on the windshield (and possibly other areas) that will double up as personal entertainment systems.

The patent abstract reads as follows:
“A vehicle system includes an autonomous mode controller and an entertainment system controller. The autonomous mode controller controls a vehicle in an autonomous mode. The entertainment system controller presents media content on a first display while the vehicle is operating in the autonomous mode and on a second display when the vehicle is operating in a non-autonomous mode. A method includes determining whether a vehicle is operating in an autonomous mode, presenting media content on a first display while the vehicle is operating in the autonomous mode, and transferring presentation of the media content to a second display when the vehicle is operating in a non-autonomous mode.”

Quite the mouthful, but in short, it implies that they are developing a mode in which a vehicle, when engaged in autonomous driving mode, will turn into a quasi-cinema on wheels. The logistics, by the looks of the patent, will include screens and projectors that obstruct the windshield and fold into the ceiling when a driver wants to take back the wheel. When the driver takes back the wheel, it is possible to then switch the display to a wing mirror or a display in the dashboard.

Certainly a novel concept, and flouting the safety rules drivers have had ingrained into their psyche since their first driving lesson, the patent does not necessarily mean the software is a certainty. Ford spokesperson Allan Hall told Forbes: “We submit patents on innovative ideas as a normal course of business. Patent applications are intended to protect new ideas but aren’t necessarily an indication of new business or product plans.” So your dreams of catching up with Corrie whilst on your way to work might just remain a dream.

We want to know though, is this something you’d even want? Would you feel safe having no control over the wheel and having your attention focused elsewhere?