You've probably noticed that car interiors are designed for humans, not dogs. This is obvious—people are pickier than puppies—but Ford has an idea to make car trips more comfortable for your four-legged friend. It's all detailed in a recent patent application for a pet detection system that monitors their status and adjusts the seat accordingly, which is nice.
This isn't some half-baked concept, either. The included description lists 64 separate points that elaborate on exactly how technology like this would work. It's most simply summed up by this flow chart:
The system would use a camera to recognize if there's a pet in the passenger seat. If so, it tells a Bluetooth-enabled controller to recline the seat back and raise the front, making a comfy bed for your good boy or girl. It takes it a step further, even, by assessing just how big the dog is. If they're considered large, "e.g. greater than 50 pounds," then it'll even extend the bolster and turn off the seat belt notification. That's luxury.
One of the illustrations shows a passenger seat with up to four individually controllable motors. That's pretty standard in modern cars, but I bet Ford could adapt this system to work in high-end Lincolns with those 30-way adjustable seats. Who knows what kind of napping opportunities that could open up for a pooch?
This patent app, which was published on Nov. 10, goes right along with an even more comprehensive "pet mode" that Ford is working on. Back in February, the automaker made news with its application for a related patent that would allow drivers to control in-car temperature, music, and more from their phones. The idea behind it is if you need to leave your dog in the vehicle while you run into the store, you can crack the window and monitor the temperature to make sure everything stays safe for them.
My favorite line from the in-depth patent app explains that this tech could be useful for years to come: "It should be appreciated that the pet may be located on the passenger seat or any of the rear seats while the vehicle is operating. However, the driver seat is provided to accommodate the seating of the driver of the vehicle as opposed to a pet. For a fully autonomous vehicle, when a driver is not present it is possible that a pet may be located in the driver seat."
When cars can finally drive themselves, your pet will be able to pick which seat suits them best. And what's more, the car will make sure that no matter where they lay their head, it'll be darn cozy.
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