Personal Drive-In

A big part of the driving experience has to do with entertainment. Dashboard monitors and center consoles are currently being used by motorists to gain access to visual content in their cars. But will happen to this intrinsic vehicular feature as the world slowly comes to terms with the reality of autonomous driving?

More and more automakers are putting the focus on improving driverless technology to make the entertainment experience more immersive for passengers. And if Ford’s latest patent for an “Autonomous Vehicle Entertainment System” is anything to go by, these innovations will be pretty impressive.

Not only has Ford filed for the patent, pictured below, but they’ve also received approval for it from the US Patent Office.

Ford Autonomous Vehicle Entertainment System. Source
Autonomous Vehicle Entertainment System

Ford’s patent would mean transforming the entire vehicle into a sort of drive-in movie theater. Of course, the theater is meant only for those who are inside the vehicle—onlookers who aren’t fortunate enough to have an autonomous vehicle (or one that is pimped out with this kind of entertainment system) can only look on enviously. The system will allow passengers to enjoy a full movie experience while the car is in driverless mode.

This means anyone in transit can watch the latest movie or binge their favorite TV show via a projected screen. The screen is intended to roll down from the top of the windshield and the images will be projected from a monitor mounted at the ceiling.

Take note however, that this doesn’t necessarily mean we will soon be enjoying personal drive-ins as soon as autonomous cars hit the consumer market. When reached for comment by the blog, Car and Driver, Ford issued this statement: “As a technology leader, we submit patents on innovative ideas as a normal course of business. Patent applications are intended to protect new ideas but aren’t necessarily an indication of new business or product plans.”

For now, we’ll stick to the classic (and more cost effective) option of heading over to the old drive-in this summer.


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