Ford has a pending patent for a new roof design that uses curved beams to create a windshield and rear glass that cover nearly the entire top. The approach would result in a cabin with improved outward visibility and would allow lots of natural light into the interior.
Gallery: Ford Extended Windshield Patent
The Blue Oval's plan is to use a pair of curved beams to form the structure of the top and have them connect to the standard roof rails that the upright pillars create. As the images above show, this layout creates a relatively small area where there's no glass, and it puts that spot behind the front occupants, so they would have a vast outward view.
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The major concern with having so little material for the main roof structure is how it would withstand a crash, and Ford's patent addresses this. According to the company, the arched shape helps distribute the forces if there's side impact. In addition, the automaker describes using "fingers" of material that would attach the roof sections to areas farther down the pillars, and this anchoring would make the structure stronger.
Ford's patent describes multiple ways of constructing the roof structure. The most obvious option is simply using separate pieces and somehow joining them to the upright portions. The company could also use additive manufacturing to make the structure a single piece. A lattice structure for the material would offer the extra advantage of saving weight while maintaining strength.
While Ford's patent shows this roof design on a Mustang, the company says that it could work for any type of vehicle. The look fits the pony car very well, though.
Having an extended windshield isn't a new idea, and you can see elements of this design on vehicles like the Tesla Model X, Opel Astra GTC, and Citroën C4 Picasso. Ford's patent adds to this style by extending it to the rear glass, too.