Ford Considering Installable Door Screens for Upcoming Off-Road Vehicle

Innovative power-operated screens with pyrotechnic crash deployment feature revealed in patent application

Removing the doors from a Ford Bronco is a relatively simple task and can enhance the off-road adventure. However, it may not be ideal for high-speed highway driving. While adding tube doors is an option, it requires significant effort to ensure a safe open-air ride. With a newly released patent for retractable screen doors, Ford seems to be exploring ways to enhance this experience.

The patent was initially submitted in October 2020, shortly after the introduction of the Bronco featuring its detachable doors. While the vehicle depicted in the patent images is different from the Bronco, it appears that Ford had its sights set on creating a competitor to the resurrected Jeep Wrangler with this concept. Essentially, it involves a series of screens that can be activated either automatically or by the driver’s command. Electric motors are responsible for moving the screens into place, and their functionality extends beyond just doors. Additionally, the patent discusses the use of screens for removeable roof panels, although the preference for these over clear, open skies is not entirely clear.

Screens that can cover open doors would provide extra security for both drivers and passengers worried about accidentally falling out. Ford has suggested that there is a larger safety benefit to this patent. These screens can be extended and retracted using electric motors, however, in the event of a collision, a pyrotechnic device could also be utilized to rapidly secure them in place. It is likely that sensors would be in place to ensure no body parts are in the way before activation. The speed at which they would need to deploy for them to be effective is currently unknown. In essence, Ford has patented electrically deployable and potentially explosible screen doors.

Will this innovation be included in upcoming vehicles? Traditionally, numerous patents are submitted primarily to safeguard concepts that may not actually materialize. Nonetheless, the concept of deployable screens for door openings appears to be quite promising. The notion of incorporating a pyrotechnic charge to deploy them in case of an accident is still under consideration.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

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