Two recent Ford patent filings have surfaced detailing reconfigurable seating arrangements for child car seats.
The two patent applications, both published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Oct. 3, appear to cover variations of the same idea, namely using a system of actuators to rearrange seats as needed.
As described in the applications, seats would be mounted on rails not unlike the ones used for sliding seats in some current production vehicles. This would allow the seats to move fore and aft for easier access. The bottom cushion could also pivot up, allowing seats to be stacked close together at one end of the cabin—freeing up space without the need to remove them completely.
Ford also discusses swiveling seats that could be turned to face the door for easier installation of a car seat. The whole seat could then swivel to face rearward, the proper position for infants.
Patented ideas don’t always reach production, but reconfigurable seating has been a theme of recent Ford patent filings.A handful of Ford patent applications surfaced in September covering swivel seating, in-bed-seating, a retractable steering wheel, and an in-cab work station. Another patent application for a movable in-vehicle table also appeared earlier this year.
Some of these ideas, such as the in-bed seating and in-cab work station, are clearly focused on pickup trucks. The reconfigurable seating detailed here, on the other hand, seems like a better fit for an SUV or other family vehicle. Ford is planning to launch an electric three-row SUV in 2025 that will be designed from the ground up as an EV. The clean-sheet design might create more room for incorporating new features like these swiveling seats.
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