Basically, it's a patented trunk for your truck.
In recent years, one of the biggest areas of innovation in the auto industry has been the truck bed. Both the Honda Ridgeline and Hyundai Santa Cruz have neat ways to store smaller items in their beds, and now the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado have a trick tailgate storage feature. It looks like Ford will try to do more of the same with trucks like the Ford F-150 and potentially even the Maverick.
We've uncovered some patents that show Ford is working on a new system to make the beds of its trucks all the more usable while maintaining bed space to boot. The system appears to be pretty simple. In short, it's a cubby on the side of your F-150's bed where you can put smaller items.
The below document illustrates it best. There are two separate bins, one directly behind the bed wall and another recessed down into the bed itself, tucked just behind the wheel liner. Here's the clever part. While the first simply provides storage within the wall of the bed, the second pocket is modular and can be moved about and customized as needed. What's more, the door to this clever mechanism is also a feature, doing more than just holding the cargo within. It'll also double as a kind of holder for cargo in the bed. We imagine, given the size of it, you'd be able to put a small upright item like a sleeping bag in there.
Ford has also included drawings of an arm that can extend from the opening, working as a divider in the truck bed.
This feature could tie in nicely with another recent Ford patent. That one is a cargo monitoring system, keeping an eye on your things to ensure they don't go flying out onto the freeway.
This, paired with the "cupholder" and extending arm solutions we've discussed above, would mean your cargo would stay exactly where you left it, which is an issue when you drive a truck and have passengers in the cab.
Unfortunately, dimensions aren't provided by Ford in the patent filing.
However, we expect it to be roughly 12 x 12 inches in line with the approximate size of the area on a new F-150. Supposing Ford puts it into production, that is.
Of course, this may be something optioned instead of Ford's Pro Power Onboard generator, as the location shown here appears to be where that system currently lives. That said, we imagine it won't be difficult to move something like this around the bed of a truck. There's plenty of unused side wall space.