Ford Patents Rear Tire That Converts Into Unicycle
Automakers patent and trademark lots of stuff. Some ideas are downright revolutionary and bring new technologies to our cars, while others are simple and surface the market without making a significant impact. Today’s unusual filing fits in the former category and comes from Ford, the same brand that introduced carbon-fiber wheels and gorilla glass to production vehicles. This time around though, the Blue Oval is toying with the idea allowing drivers to remove the rear wheel of their cars and turn it into a unicycle.
The concept is pretty simple. The said rear wheel is equipped with a battery and an electric motor attached to its single hub. An automated jack system raises the car and the self-powered unicycle disengages automatically, leaving the driver to remove it from under the wheel arches. Featuring a seat, foot rests, and a handle bar, the unicycle can be used as soon as it is removed from the car.
It’s pretty much like the crazy Batcycle that detaches from the Batmobile, but with one wheel and a lot less power and speed at its disposal.
According to Patent Yogi, the filing was made in June 2015 and published last week. It is described as a "self-propelled unicycle" that is "selectively disengaged with the vehicle for independent use." There’s no word as to when the unicycle will make it into production, but we should see a working prototype at an upcoming auto show.
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Why it matters
An automobile wheel that turns into a unicycle may sound like a crazy idea, but it’s far from terrible given that today’s urban areas have become increasingly congested. The yet unnamed unicycle is not only small, allowing users to access areas where a regular automobile won’t, but it also runs on electricity, meaning you don’t have to stop at the gas station while strolling through the city. Given it will have decent mileage, that is. What’s more, such a vehicle could evolve into multi-purpose device suitable not only for crowded streets, but also for non-paved surfaced. With a lowered tire pressure, the unicycle could be very useful on sand or gravel. Also, the removal of the unicycle could also operate as an anti-theft feature, since the car can’t be driven with a missing rear wheel and a jack locked in place. Pretty neat, huh?