Ford Motors have emerged successful in patenting their concept, where the wheels and pedals of the car are completely removable. With more and more concepts, ditching control elements (wheels, pedals, gear shifts) entirely, it’s likely a matter of time before those wholly autonomous options head to consumers.
Ford actually filed the patent in February 2016, and it was awarded to the automaker last week on August 10th. Ideally it is not a perfect solution, the document notes: Designers will have to reconsider how they implement airbags, which are traditionally situated in the steering wheel. Ford’s patent proposes one in both the wheel and dashboard behind it, electronically switching off the latter if the wheel column is locked in.