ford's patent for removable steering wheels and pedals of self-driving cars

ford's patent for removable steering wheels and pedals of self-driving cars

ford has filled for a patent that would allow its vehicles to have removable steering wheels and pedals, taking another step towards the future of the self driving car. dashboard components that can be either present of absent would, according to ford, be more valuable than ones without any controls at all. ‘some vehicle owners may prefer the familiarity of being in a vehicle having a steering wheel, or a steering wheel may be needed to allow a vehicle occupant to assume control, even if the steering wheel is inactive in an autonomous mode,’ the patent explains. 

ford patent removable steering wheel
perspective view of the exemplary interior seat and steering wheel/dashboard arrangement



plans submitted by ford to the US patent and trademark office, first reported by motor1, include drawings that indicate the functionality and features of the removable steering wheels and pedals. the wheel can be shifted between an installed driving position and a stowed location. when the steering wheel is removed, a driver-side airbag, mounted within the dashboard, would be deployed in the event of a crash. similarly, floor control pedals — both accelerator and brake — can be removed and replaced as ‘modules’ within the vehicle. ‘displacement of pedals is detected with electronic displacement transducers incorporated into the floor,’ the patent explains. 

ford patent removable steering wheel
fig.7: a perspective view of an exemplary steering module
fig.8: a perspective view of an exemplary filler module

ford patent removable steering wheel
a schematic side view of an exemplary driver seat arrangement of a vehicle with both the steering wheel and floor control pedals removed — both with and without an airbag deployed 


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