These are way cooler than real hood ornaments.
Ford and Lincoln are making finding your car in crowded parking lot at night an easier task. According to a patent application, it's looking into hologram projection for vehicles. Unlike rapper Tupac's holographic, post-mortem reappearance at Coachella, which was displayed on a piece of clear Mylar, these projections will appear on water. Strange? Certainly. Cool? Also yes. Let's see how it's done.
According to the listing "it relates to a holographic projection system and method for a vehicle. It has been recognized that there is a need for a holographic projection system and method for a vehicle, which can help vehicle users find their vehicle easily, especially in the case of cloudy, night or other low light conditions."
The system is comprised of three parts, a projection device on the vehicle, a water mist generating device, and a controller to make the two work together, depending on the proximity of the key. Water could be collected from rain, with a valve that closes when a tank is full, or by using an air conditioning condensate recovery system.
The patent also notes, in both words and drawings, that the projection device could be on top of the vehicle or at the hood ornament, projecting the logo in the drawings. The drawings show a sedan, but since the company only sells SUVs now, we could see this appearing on the Lincoln Navigator, though the vehicle's so big it probably wouldn't need it, but the Nautilus, Corsair and Aviator could use the tech too.
It seems that the device will run on proximity, sort of the like welcome animations in the new-style headlights automakers are coming up with. Once the first stage is reached, a big logo is projected on the roof of the vehicle. Once you get closer, the first mister stops and the second one, near the hood ornament, starts up. That projects the badge again, but smaller and above the hood.
There are also ideas for projecting things on the side of the vehicle, like puddle lights but cooler. The patent even mentions that drivers could put their own images into the system, though we're not sure if the image would be in color. The patent also notes that the different stages could happen in any order or simultaneously, and that it could work for any gasoline, electric or hybrid vehicle.
As with other patents, this isn't a guarantee of a new feature. Manufacturers patent stuff all the time. But it is fun to think about Teslas with windshield wiper lasers and/or a new Mazda two-door sports car.