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Ford patents a Batpod-like feature for your car

By Shawn Knight ยท 9 replies
Dec 29, 2015
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  1. Remember that scene in The Dark Knight where The Tumbler released the Batpod? As odd as it sounds, Ford now has a patent for a system that's sort of based on that same concept.

    The automaker over the summer filed a patent for a unique wheel system that'd allow a standard vehicle to double as a powered unicycle. Said patent was recently published and uncovered by Patent Yogi who explained it in laymen's terms.

    Ford envisions a scenario in which the driver of a vehicle could park said car a few blocks from work in a less congested area. Using controls in the car (or perhaps even an app), the driver could release a powered unicycle from the trunk and remove one of the vehicle's rear wheels. Put the unicycle and wheel together and bam, you've got a powered unicycle that could easily zip past traffic on your way to work.

    Since the car couldn't operate without all of its wheels, it could also serve as an anti-theft feature.

    While it does sound pretty sweet (and maybe a bit dangerous), don't get your hopes up just yet. As is the case with technology firms, many patented ideas never make it past that stage. Given how outrageous this is, I doubt we'll be seeing Batpod-style Fords zigzagging in traffic anytime soon.

    Permalink to story.

  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,162   +3,260

    Forget the car just give us the unicycle!
    hahahanoobs likes this.
  3. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,489   +3,485

    Creativity: A-
    Practicality: F
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 2,788   +1,533

    But how many can I get in my F-150??????????
  5. deemon

    deemon TS Addict Posts: 243   +66

    UNLESS you use your spare tire/wheel.

    However looking at the schematics one can see that they are pulling more off from the car than just the wheel... it seems to need also the breaks and maybe something more.
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,162   +3,260

    By looking at the wheel in the diagram, you can assume the wheel will also contain propulsion mechanisms. My guess would be electric for both propulsion and breaks. But then that leaves the question of where the battery is located on that crotch rocket.
  7. JamesandBennie

    JamesandBennie TS Booster Posts: 167   +14

    I only partially read the headline and the lede image and I assumed it was for the spare wheel, NOT the backwheel. Because using the unicycle with the back wheel would be stupid, as you noted.
  8. deemon

    deemon TS Addict Posts: 243   +66

    Now thinking about it, I would assume this car has batteries stored inside the wheels also (this would make a lot of sense for the car weight distribution) - I mean if there is spare room from the motor. So when taking the back wheel you get the battery with it?

    Now the next question would there be more of those "crotch-rocket" saddle-handle parts included with the package, so you can turn one car into 2 (or maybe even 4) unicycles?
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
  9. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,769   +598

    That's not really a great idea to have the battery in the wheel itself, that's a lot of unsprung weight which would reduce braking efficiency. Generally unsprung weight is to be avoided as much as possible, hence why when you put bigger wheels and tires on trucks your supposed to upgrade your brakes, many do not...

    This idea isn't totally outrageous, the only big concern I would have is taking the wheel on and off the car. Picture this scenario, your late for work, you now have to park further from work than before, jack up your car, remove the 5 lug nuts, install this wheel on your unicycle device, make sure it's working and now continue your commute, still late and now traveling slower than previously. End of day, your kid calls and needs to be picked up before 17:00 and it's 16:45, you rush to get back to your car where you now have to remove the wheel from your unicycle, pack in in your trunk (taking a lot of space) reattach your rear wheel while torquing the lug nuts to the manufacturers specification, put away your jack. Which by the way you wouldn't want to leave holding up your car all day so you'd need a jack and some sort of stand device part of the car that can't be stolen. Now by the time you've managed to do all this your late again and you drive off in a panic, next thing you know your tire comes off because you forgot to tighten your lug nuts in your haste and look who's up **** creek without a paddle.
  10. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,333   +280

    Looks like they are designing that around an in-wheel drive system, which would make sense - those have motor and braking all integrated into the wheel hub. Of course, the down side to that is that it makes those wheels VERY heavy compared to just a spare wheel, so I can't imagine too many people manhandling things around to go unicycling off into the sunset...

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