Ford Obtains Patent For Backward-Facing Driver’s Seat
The idea of self-driving cars isn’t new – Google has been using them for a while, and other manufacturers like Audi and BMW have systems in development that are being tested in the real world as you read this. It is inevitable that at some point, your daily commute will be as simple as saying “go to work” or “take me to the grocery store” and kicking back while your over-intelligent car does all the work for you. Ford has taken the first step in joining the list of manufacturers with self-driving technology and has received approval of its patent for a backward facing driver seat.
The design isn’t all that dissimilar from the 2015 Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion concept that was displayed at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. The backward-facing seat would allow the driver (and passenger for that matter) to rotate the seats and engage with the rear passengers in a lounge-like setting while cruising down the highway. Another function would allow you to move to the rear seat and fold the front seats downward – making an ottoman that you could rest your feet on during longer commutes. All of this will be possible while the vehicle is in motion.
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Why it matters
Ford has some work cut out for it if it intends to follow through with the patented design. Audi has successfully sent a fleet of 2015 Audi RS7s from San Fransico to Vegas, and Volvo is about to enter the human test stage with a few select customers. We don’t know how serious Ford is about developing a self-driving concept, and apparently neither do the decision-makers at Ford. Our sources have been told that this newest patent is no indication that Ford will ever develop one. If nothing else, this newest patent simply protects its ideas should it decide to venture into the development of autonomous vehicles.
I for one don’t welcome the idea of self-driving cars. Not that It wouldn’t be nice to kick back on long trips from time to time, but to me it represents one hell of a control issue. Statistics would probably say it is safer, but placing control of a 4,000-pound vehicle into the hands of a computer that is unable to make decisions outside of its programming is scary. A computer’s reaction time to changing conditions may be faster – especially considering all the idiots who text or Facebook and drive – but will that computer be able to make the right decision in the event of unlikely circumstances? I’m not so sure. Until artificial intelligence has advanced enough to compete with the human brain, I’ll keep control of my vehicle. Of course, at that point we might have a bigger problem on our hands — we all saw what happened in "I, Robot" when the computer got smarter than humans (though those self-driving Audis were cool, I have to say. But that was a movie). What do you think? Will you be able to trust your life, and your family’s life, to a computer at high speeds? I’m interested in your thoughts about the idea.
Read our full review of a concept with a similar seating arangement here.
Source: Business Insider