Ford Patent Details A Movie Theater On (Self-Driving) Wheels

Self-driving cars — the thought of relinquishing the wheel in favor of a passive presence in one's car is a hard pill for some to swallow, but the technology isn't without its upsides. You'll get to nap on the ride to work, some argue. Or, for the parents out there, you'll get to spend those blessed minutes swaddled in utter silence, free to daydream in peace. For those who find silence uncomfortable, Ford has a different idea: self-driving cars with integrated movie projectors.

The auto maker was recently awarded a patent detailing a sort of mobile movie theater that would be found within autonomous vehicles. The type of self-driving car detailed within the patent is the less ideal of the two combating for our future — Google and others envisions a future where the human is obsolete, at least when it comes to operating a vehicle.

Ford's patent is less optimistic — or more realistic, depending on your perspective — and describes a mobile movie theater suitable for autonomous vehicles with a manual driving mode. This entertainment system involves a display, a sort of projection screen, that will lower in the front of the vehicle, replacing the windshield's boring road view with a movie. If the driver needs to or wants to take over operation of the vehicle, this display will disappear and a secondary dash display will turn on instead.

Such an arrangement could be reality, at least in the early days of self-driving vehicles. Ford's CTO had previously shared a perspective in which the auto maker anticipates fully autonomous driving in certain situations, but not in others. If you're taking a long trip down a straight highway, the car could take control and handle things on its own. A backwoods dirt road filled with brush and potholes may require human operation, though.

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SOURCE: Forbes