Sun. Jul 21st, 2024
  • Ford continues to find patents for clever vehicle packaging
  • A folding tray system with three sections might fit into a future glovebox
  • Ford might be trying to create some sort of mobile work station

Ford has developed a fold-out tray system for use by a vehicle’s front passenger, but this is no airline-style tray table.

The tray system would consist of up to three sections connected by hinges, allowing the whole assembly to fold up and stow in a vehicle’s glovebox, according to a Ford patent application published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on May 30, and originally filed by Ford in 2022.

One of the three sections would be attached to the inside of the glovebox, while the other end would be anchored to the front passenger seatbelt buckle via a connector, Ford says in the patent application.

At least one of the three tray sections would also have molded-in recesses for holding items, according to the application. Accompanying drawings show a number of circular carve-outs that look like they could serve as cupholders, as well as a slit that might be able to prop up a phone or tablet.

Ford tray system patent image

While this tray system provides more space for storing smaller items, the tradeoff could be a front seat that can’t be used by a passenger. In the drawings, it looks like the fully-deployed tray assembly lies right across the bottom cushion of the front passenger seat, leaving no room for a person’s legs. That’s probably just as well, as items resting on the trays could become projectiles if the driver stops short.

This is just one of several recent Ford patent filings related to reconfigurable interior fixtures. Others have ranged from deployable dashboard desks to work stations for EV frunks. None of these ideas are guaranteed to reach production, but the level of activity shows Ford is putting a lot of emphasis on rethinking interiors.

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