Ford Issued Patent for a Rear Seat Airbag

Ford has been granted another interesting patent, this time in safety.

According to The Next Web, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted a patent to Ford for a rear seat airbag that is `U` shaped to encompass both the front and rear sides of rear seat occupants when the rear seat airbag is deployed. The rear airbag is stored within a ceiling lining above a rear passenger cabin section.

“The airbag deployment system gathers vehicle state information, analyzes the vehicle state information, determines whether to deploy one or more airbags, and then controls the deployment of the rear airbag,” the report says.

As we’ve written about in the past, Ford continues to churn out patents, and this one is intriguing for many reasons. Typically, rear seats have relied on an airbag curtain for their main protection, but the description of this new safety feature certainly seems to improve upon the traditional functionality, both in protection and intuitiveness. But that’s not the only reason it makes for a potentially-valuable invention.

As the autonomous market developments, and the steering wheel and its accompanying controls become less and less integral to the driving experience, it stands to reason the look and feel of the front of the car should drastically change. As a result, it could create an opportunity for improved safety features, such as an airbag that Ford has patented here. If Ford can perfect this technology for the rear seats, it could give them a jump on improving safety features for their front passengers as well, and give them the inside track on locking up big safety improvements as the world begins to go driver-less.