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Ford patents removable controls for driverless car

By David Bonnici, 19 Aug 2017 Car News

Ford patents removable controls for driverless car

Is it a fully autonomous car that can be driven, or a car that can become fully autonomous?

There’s still a lot of public scepticism over fully autonomous cars, but that hasn’t stopped car manufacturers from looking towards a driverless future.

This includes Ford, which aims to produce a driverless car by 2021 and has recently submitted a patent for removable driving controls - including the steering wheel and pedals.

The patent drawings show a car with and without controls, suggesting they can be removed or added depending on the default layout.

They also show how the airbag would be installed to work with both configurations.

The pedals appear to be mounted on a unit that can slide in and out from under the dashboard. According to Ford, the car would come primarily with no controls, though they would be used for development and testing before being removed with the ability to add them again as a customer option.

The controls would be quickly installed using snap-in spring-loaded fasteners, and once removed, the trim pieces would neatly cover its mounting points.

It remains to be seen what are Ford plans for the design and if it will make its way into a concept or production vehicle any time soon.

The company published the patent earlier this month, at the same time Ford’s new CEO Jim Hackett predicted autonomous cars won’t fully takeover our roads.

Speaking at the Ford-sponsored ‘The City of Tomorrow’ symposium in San Francisco, Hackett expected robot-driven taxis to share the road with human-driven cars that will be smarter and less accident prone.