Ford tries to patent a car with autonomous electric motorcycle built in

You’re not going to believe this one, but it’s true. The United States Patent Office recently published a patent application from Ford for a car with an integrated, deployable, autonomous electric motorcycle.

This is the same Ford that last week announced future vehicle development will be limited to trucks, SUVs, and crossovers, plus the Mustang sports coupe and convertible.

So why does Ford want to patent a “multimodal  passenger transportation apparatus?” Most likely, the blue oval wants to protect a novel concept one of its design engineers cooked up.

Publishing Ford’s patent application doesn’t mean the patent office has examined the application and granted the patent. The USPO publishes all applications 18 months after submission or the date of an earlier application. In this case, Ford engineers filed the application for the Motorcycle in Car design in October 2017.

According to the application, the multimodal passenger transportation apparatus combines a car with a combustion engine and an electric motorcycle. The vehicle’s inspiration and justification stem from “limited available and affordable parking spaces in urban areas” and spaces where internal combustion engines may be restricted.

After outlining alternative solutions, which include hanging a bicycle off a bike rack, an autonomous unicycle, and finally the tried-and-true motorcycle in a pickup truck bed, Ford’s engineers got down to business.

The “multimodal transportation apparatus,” the patent application reads, “comprises a passenger car with a driver’s seat, a passenger seat, and a center console.” The vehicle also includes an electric-powered autonomous motorcycle and a mechanism to secure the bike to and release it from the passenger car. The motorcycle’s seat would also serve as the car’s center console.

On reaching the driver’s theoretical parking spot, the driver would release the motorcycle from inside the car by opening a hatch in the car’s front end, not unlike an Alien baby bursting from a host’s chest or the Batpod ejection scene in The Dark Knight.

The car with an integrated motorcycle may be just an engineer’s fancy. Notably, though, when Ford released the corporation’s first-quarter 2018 financial results last week, the company also updated its strategic framework for the future. Two of the elements in the framework, “autonomous technology” and “scaling a mobility platform,” were described in flowery but vague terms.

Perhaps Ford had a multimodal passenger transportation apparatus in mind all along.

Updated on April 30: Corrected details about the patent publication and acceptance process.

Features

Will high-res radar make tomorrow’s cars safer?

Modern cars have sensors designed to make driving safer. The problem? They don’t work well. A combination of radar, lidar, and cameras is a solution, but we aren’t there yet.
Cars

Ikea jumps on the autonomous car bandwagon — because why wouldn’t it?

Space10, Ikea's research and development arm, has introduced seven autonomous car concepts. Some fall in line with what we've seen from established automakers, while others bring new ideas to the conversation about autonomous cars.
Emerging Tech

These flying cars want to take your commute to new heights

The future is closer than you'd think: Companies around the world are working on flying car models, with many successful tests! Here are all the flying cars and taxis currently in development, and how they work!
Cars

End your dependence on fossil fuels with one of these amazing electric cars

Electric cars are getting smarter, safer, and more capable with each passing year. Here are our picks for the best electric cars on the market, whether you're looking for a performance ride or a family-friendly crossover.
Cars

Audi’s subscription service lets you roll in style without commitment

Audi expanded its mobility options by launching a car subscription service in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. For $1,395, buyers can choose from five models (including the Q7, the Q5, and the A4) and swap cars twice a month.
Cars

Stop the madness! Here's how to fix those squeaky brakes

Few noises are worse than the sound of squeaky brakes. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to go about fixing the issue without giving up your weekend or investing a small fortune. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

At Bonneville, a 210-mph Volkswagen Jetta is nothing unusual

The Bonneville Salt Flats are the ultimate temple of speed. Follow along as Volkswagen attempts to set a record with a modified economy car, and see what makes Bonneville so special.
Cars

Get your camera out: Mercedes-AMG Project One supercar tests on public roads

The Mercedes-AMG Project One is a hybrid supercar incorporating genuine Formula One racing DNA. The $2.7 million Project One is entering its final stage of development, including public-road testing.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Click-to-brew beer, comfy headlamps, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Lamborghini’s V12 flagship brings the shock and awe for SVJ duty

High-tech active aerodynamics, trick steering, and good old-fashioned horsepower help to make this Aventador the most track-capable production Lamborghini ever.
Cars

Porsche brings diesel car production to a screeching halt

Porsche has announced that it will no longer be making diesel cars. The German automaker said that, as a sports car brand, diesel fuels simply weren't as important a part of their business as other options.
Product Review

There’s a new baby Benz on the block: A-Class proves sedans aren’t dead yet

While it seems like the traditional sedan is dead, Mercedes-Benz believes otherwise. And the 2019 A-Class sedan arrives to try and capture younger buyers and sway them from competitors. We explore Seattle in one to see if it’s any good.
Cars

Will Toyota finally cave to buyer demand and offer Android Auto?

For years, Toyota refused to offer Android Auto for privacy and security reasons. That could change soon; a recent report claims Toyota will begin offering Android Auto compatibility in at least some of its models.
Product Review

FenSens Smart Parking Sensor improves your ride with no strings, or wires, attached

Instead of relying on an old-fashioned mirror, it may be time to step up to a parking sensor. We test the latest FenSens Smart Wireless Parking Sensor to see if this device, with your smartphone, can replicate the latest OEM system.