We have seen our fair share of strange ideas here at Autoinfoquest but a recent patent from Ford could be the wildest idea we have ever seen, and could also add a new lease on life for a classic mode of transportation.
Featured as part of a recent patent filing, Ford’s urban mobility system would allow drivers to detach a rear wheel from their car and transform it into an electric unicycle. According to the patent, drivers would remove the rear wheel using a jack that is built into the car. The wheel would feature a mechanism to easily remove it from the suspension, and allow occupants to mount a unicycle frame. A motor on the wheelhub of the unicycle helps provide power. while a built in stabilization system helps keep the unicycle balanced under its own power. The unicycle could also feature a rudimentary interface and several buttons which would resemble what is found in many of today’s automobiles.
The patent also goes into depth on the potential uses for such a contraption with the document even citing one potential use for the unicycle ” As one example of this use, the driver may travel to a work office located in an urban setting congested by commuters by first driving the vehicle to a satellite parking lot in a less congested location spaced from the office and then driving the self propelled unicycle from the vehicle to the office.” This scenario certainly has us scratching our heads but it would make some sense in downtown areas where parking and congestion can be annoying headaches. However, with very few people making the trek to work on unicycles, Ford may have much bigger plans for this technology, and could make the system work for use as a bicycle which is a much more conventional form of alternative transportation, and would be able to move quicker and into more places than a unicycle.
Production however will most likely not occur with the technology possibly making its appearance either at an auto show or a consumer electronics show as a concept. Ford has also issued other patents that have yet to see the approval for production including reconfigurable seating for autonomous vehicles, and puddle lights that project the current state of charge of an electric vehicle’s battery on the ground below.