SUV cargo loading the American way.
The Ford Motor Company clearly has a fairly hefty development budget and a lot of idle time on its hands. How else would you explain its patent for the detachable rear wheel that turns into an electric unicycle, or perhaps the cylindrical vehicle compartment that looks like a dining room on wheels?
Well, this particular patent application is for something that could actually be a really useful tool, it is the cargo loading conveyor belt or as it is officially called: 'the third-row conveyor load floor'.
The diagrams show how the system would work in conjunction with the rearmost seat adjustment motors, controlling two separate rows of conveyor belts that run the length of the cargo bay. With the rear seats folded down you would apparently simply place your shopping in the cargo bay at the tailgate end and watch it head off into the interior. Seems like a great idea, so why didn't anyone think of it before?
We can think of two things just by looking at the diagrams. Firstly, what happens if you don't stop the conveyor belt in time and your shopping spills out over the rear seats and into the footwells? Secondly, if you have to lower the rear seats anyway, why not just open the rear doors and put your stuff in the back straight away?
Perhaps the system would work best on massive full-size SUVs where reaching into the interior is best accomplished with Mister Fantastic's super stretchy arms. Either way, the conveyor belt system could of course be used for a whole host of other useful things, such as a toddler exercise machine or perhaps as a training tool for aspiring shopping store checkout assistants.
As crazy as some of these patents may seem, they do sometimes lead to practical and useful solutions and the third-row conveyor load floor may just be the start of something great.