Repossessions are about to get a whole lot more impersonal.
Ford has filed a patent application that describes a technology that would allow self-driving cars to move themselves away from their owners. The patent, titled “Autonomous Vehicle with Reversible Wheel and Pedal Layout for Compact Parking,” was filed in January 2017 and was published by the US Patent and Trademark Office in August 2018.
According to the patent application, the technology would allow a self-driving car to move itself to a location where parking is easier or more convenient, without the need for a human driver to operate the vehicle. This could include parking in a garage or moving to a more suitable spot on the street.
Ford’s patent application notes that the technology could be useful in situations where a human driver is unable to park the vehicle, such as when the driver is unfamiliar with the area or when parking is limited. Additionally, the technology could be used to avoid parking fees or fines.
A Ford spokesperson confirmed that the patent application was filed, but declined to comment further. “Ford files patents on innovative ideas regularly, but they aren’t necessarily an indication of new business or product plans,” the spokesperson said.
The technology described in the patent application would require a self-driving car with a reversible wheel and pedal layout. This would allow the car to operate in either direction, making it easier to park in tight spaces.
The patent application also suggests that the self-driving car could be controlled using a mobile device or a smartwatch. This would allow the owner to remotely instruct the car to move to a different location without needing to physically enter the vehicle.
While the technology described in the patent application may sound futuristic, it could become a reality sooner than many people expect. Ford is currently testing self-driving cars in cities across the United States, and the company has announced plans to launch a fully autonomous vehicle by 2021.
In an interview with Business Insider earlier this year, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said that the company plans to launch self-driving cars for commercial use by 2021. “We have a lot of people working on this,” Hackett said. “This is the biggest opportunity of our lifetime.”
The potential benefits of self-driving cars are numerous, but there are also concerns about the impact that they could have on jobs and the economy. Some analysts predict that self-driving cars could lead to widespread job losses in industries such as trucking and delivery.
Despite these concerns, however, it seems likely that self-driving cars will become increasingly common in the coming years. And with technologies like Ford’s patent-pending “Autonomous Vehicle with Reversible Wheel and Pedal Layout for Compact Parking,” the possibilities for what these vehicles can do will continue to expand.
Via The Impactlab