Ford has found a unique way to protect occupants in a crash
We're still waiting for the all-new Ford Bronco to arrive, but patents filed by Ford have potentially previewed some of the design features. If these patents are to be believed, the new Ford Bronco will have a removable roof and rollcage, as well as removable doors like the Jeep Wrangler. But what if you have a crash when the doors are removed? A new patent has possibly revealed a unique safety feature that will offer protection in this scenario.
Filed by Ford on February 16, 2018, and published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on February 4, 2020, the patent shows how a telescoping section would extend from the A-pillar to protect occupants during a crash if the doors are removed. According to the patent, the telescoping sections will be in a retracted position in normal driving conditions.
If a crash happens, an inflator will activate and deploy the extending crash barriers, which could be "plastic, metal, or any suitable material, including a combination thereof" according to the patent. This is designed to keep occupants inside the cabin and prevent them from falling out of the vehicle when the doors are removed. When the barriers deploy, the airbags will also activate.
Multiple telescoping sections could also be added to the door panel according to the patent filing. If these details are correct, then the Ford Bronco will have a huge safety advantage over the Wrangler.
Furthermore, a separate patent shows the door hinge assembly, which incorporates a latch allowing the doors to be removed. As always, these patent designs may not necessarily be added to the production vehicle, but it's looking increasingly likely as this isn't the first time Ford has filed patents for removable doors.
We still don't have an exact date for the Bronco's debut. Ford has confirmed the 2021 Bronco will be revealed in the spring, while the latest rumors suggest the rugged off-roader will break cover at the 2020 New York Auto Show in April.