Automakers, as well as any other companies associated with any developments, often file quite interesting patents that do not end up in production. Most incredible ideas remain in the back drawer, which is not alien to Ford, the world’s largest car manufacturer, at one time filed a lot of patents for cool designs that never made it to mass production. For example, the company has patented heated seat belts, retractable exhaust pipes and more. And now the company has received a patent for a drone that should scan the off-road in search of the best path for an SUV.
It should be noted right away that this is not the first patent for Ford related to a deployable drone – back in 2016, the manufacturer applied for the Blue Oval patent, which was approved in 2019. This patent describes a quadcopter that can follow a vehicle, but the new patent, which was published today, January 21, has a much more complex design and a larger set of functions. The company believes that the new unmanned drone will process GPS data and information from the car’s on-board computer to help the vehicle navigate rough terrain.
What’s more, Ford believes the technology will make it easier for fleets, as the drone will provide route information and help determine which vehicle is best suited to overcome difficult terrain, which is especially useful in a variety of extreme weather conditions. And the drone will also be useful in developing countries and areas where the population does not have the opportunity to use high-quality all-season roads. However, where the newest Ford cars with drones and the necessary infrastructure come from in developing countries is an open question.
And, of course, this is just a patent, not a real project – many companies obtain such patents solely to prevent competitors from single-handedly seizing technology that could potentially be profitable.