Ford Motor Company has filed a patent for a reclined vehicle occupant airbag, Ford Authority has learned.
The patent was filed on May 17th, 2022, published on November 23rd, 2023, and assigned serial number 0373431.
The Ford Authority Take
Over the past several months, Ford has filed a tremendous number of airbag-related patents, a very long list that includes ideas for things like a side airbag with adaptive positioning, inflatable devices inside a vehicle cabin, a seatback-mounted overhead airbag, a seatback-supported airbag system, door-mounted airbags, selectively inflatable side airbags, an airbag between the cabin and cargo area, and a roof-mounted airbag, to name just a few. Now, this new Ford patent keeps that trend going by presenting us with an idea for a reclined vehicle occupant airbag, too.
In the case of this Ford patent, it seems as if the automaker is looking ahead to a future when fully-autonomous vehicles exist and are competent to the point where those models could come equipped with beds that occupants could sleep in while they’re whisked away to another location. If that is truly the case, then there will clearly be a need for some sort of new type of airbag that protects occupants while they’re catching a few Zs.
Thus, Ford presents us with a few different layouts for airbags in self-driving vehicles with beds here, each of which is designed to prevent the occupant from flying around the cabin and getting injured, or from colliding with another part of the interior. In each case, the airbags would inflate and surround the person in some capacity, much like a traditional airbag. Whether or not something like this actually comes to fruition largely depends on how far autonomous tech progresses in the coming years, but if and when it does become viable, it’s a safe bet that different kinds of airbags will be utilized.