Alternatively, the company imagines a flat surface with a leg at each corner, and it would walk around with heavy loads for owners.
As people age, getting into and out of a vehicle can become difficult, but Ford now has a patent for a bizarre way to get around when not driving. According to the company’s plan, the seat would have hinged legs for walking around like a robotic beast of burden. Someone with mobility issues would never have to leave the driver’s seat because it would double as the person’s full-time means of transport.
When in the car, Ford’s Mobile Transport Device looks just like a traditional chair in a car, and the legs would lock into the vehicle when the person is driving. Things get interesting when the occupant wants to leave, though.
According to Ford, one way for this system to work is that the legs could extend and step out of the vehicle. Alternatively, there could be a slider that would push the seat out of the car, and then the appendages would deploy.
The legs’ design takes inspiration from nature. A connection at the base of the seat and a lower hinge are like a hip and knee. While not evident in the patent drawings, there would be a foot-like appendage touching the ground that would increase stability and “increase the all-terrain access by counteracting sinking into soft ground,” according to the Blue Oval’s filing.
Ford doesn’t offer many details about how a person controls the walking chair, but the company outlines using multiple sensors to act as a gyroscope for maintaining the seat’s balance. The company believes that using electricity to control the legs would be ideal – either for each appendage individually or from a central drive.
The Blue Oval is clear that this transport device doesn’t necessarily have to be a chair. The company’s second patent drawing shows the idea as a flat surface with a leg at each corner. Someone could load it with cargo and then remotely control this transporter. Ford’s patent describes stowing the device “on the rear shelf of a vehicle, the rear bench or in the trunk space.” Imagine embedding this device in the bed of a pickup and how easy it would be to move a heavy load in or out of the truck.