Ford Files Patent for a Drone that Launches from your Trunk

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Ford has filed a patent for a drone system integrated into a car- one that could provide emergency services, lights, security, or more.

On the commercial side,  drones have been paired with cars before: see Mercedes Benz partnering with Matternet for drone deliveries in Switzerland.  They’ve been paired with adventure vehicles for recreational purposes: like this motorcycle.  And Land Rover came up with the idea of an “rescue” drone in 2017.

In the latest twist,  Ford Motor Company has filed a patented a drone system that would launch from the trunk to provide emergency services when the car breaks down, or help first responders to find a car that may be off the road  – by shining a light,  giving a precise GPS location,  or turning on a siren.  The drone could stream video of an accident scene, doing the work of a first response drone.

Ford Drone Patent

According to the patent, dated October 10 and filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the system even has a panic mode.

A Ford article outlining the company’s drone research provides this image of a quadcopter, which the article says is used by Ford’s engineers to test different areas of functionality.

Ford Drone

Drone created by Ford UAV Systems: Image courtesy, Ford.

Perhaps even more significant than Ford’s patent for a drone that will pop out of the trunk to help drivers and first responders are Ford’s other efforts in drone research.  The company is also participating in remote ID research – and since that’s been referred to as a license plate system for drones, a car company may just be a valuable resource.  In any case, Ford says that they intend to continue investing in drone technology:

As drone adoption accelerates, we think many of our customers will want to use these devices as part of their lifestyle, whether to pursue hobbies or even as a tool for their business — no different than how they use an F-150 or Transit on a job site. By conducting in-house research in this emerging area while simultaneously participating in the regulatory conversation at the federal level, Ford is laying the groundwork to make sure our vehicles can deliver the right experiences to our customers as we transition to a smart world.


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