In its drive to emulate the forward-thinking style of Silicon Valley startups, Ford Motor Co. has lodged what it says is a record number of patents in 2015.
All up, a whopping 5872 patents were applied for by the US auto giant this year, ranging from the typical (275 patents for its EcoBoost turbocharged engines, with 200 pending), to the unusual (eBikes and ride-sharing, anyone?).
Ford's patent announcement comes just weeks after it revealed a US$4.5 billion fund for the development of new electric vehicles, with 13 new EVs set to launch before the end of the decade. With the steady rise of EV tech and the looming introduction of autonomous vehicles, Ford isn't sitting on its hands.
In fact, Ford's number of electrification-related patent filings have risen by nearly 200 percent since 2010.
The bulk of Ford's patent applications for this year regard autonomous driving and connected mobility, along with wearable device interfaces, improved navigation systems and car sharing. Most of them fall under Ford's "Smart Mobility" technology strategy.
One patent details a bike-to-bike communication and warning system, which can detect bike lanes and warn cyclists of upcoming obstacles. Another covers a front-facing brake light to improve vehicle-to-vehicle communication on autonomous cars, as well as informing pedestrians that the car's sensors has detected them.
However, the lodging of a patent application is no guarantee that the invention in question will ever see the light of day.
How many of Ford's 5872 patents will reach production-line reality is unclear, but it's obvious that the American company is eager to make its mark on the automotive landscape of tomorrow.
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