Ford has filed a patent application for a bed-mounted cross member system that could make securing cargo easier.
The application, which was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Feb. 23 but filed in 2021, shows a U-shaped bar mounted on rails in the bed sides. This allows it to slide fore and aft, depending on the position of cargo, to act as a tie-down point.
Some of this can be done automatically. The application discusses “a user touching a button on a smartphone or smart device,” which triggers a radar sensor to scan the load, and then direct the crossbar to move into position using actuators. The driver then ties the load to the crossbar.
The crossbar could also be used to help move items into the bed, according to the application. A cable attached to the crossbar could be hooked to whatever the driver wants to haul, and the crossbar could then pull it into the bed using its actuators. The application also notes that “a winch, such as a gantry-style winch, can be mounted to the crossbar and used to pull the cable.”
It’s also worth pointing out something in the illustrations that accompany the application. While most of the close-ups show what looks like a current-generation Ford F-150 bed, other drawings show a wilder pickup design with a cab-forward configuration and wraparound headlights and taillights. It would be interesting to see Ford put something like that into production, though it’s likely just a flight of fancy.
The crossbar system isn’t guaranteed for production, let alone the futuristic truck shown with it. Patent applications do not equal production plans. Ford has tried to patent numerous pickup-related features, from a midgate with fold-flat seats to trailer sideswipe avoidance technology, so perhaps one of these ideas will appear on a production vehicle soon.
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