How come no one thought of this before?
In order to maintain sales momentum in the SUV and crossover segments these days, it's vital for automakers to not only build excellent products but innovative ones as well. Basically, it's time to think outside the box and come up with features the competition lacks. Force them to copy you. Ford, which already builds the best-selling vehicle in the US, the F-150, also wants its SUVs and crossovers to attain new levels of success. First uncovered by The Drive, Ford has just published a new patent showing plans for – wait for it – a movie projector built into the vehicle's tailgate.
The patent describes this as a "liftgate… and a video projector mounted to the liftgate. Further, the video projector is configured to project video in a direction away from the vehicle when the liftgate is in the open position." Translation: the projector will be mounted to the bottom of the liftgate, where the latch typically is placed.
It would make sense, therefore, that the latch would need to be relocated. What's also cool is that in addition to playing movies, TV shows, etc, the projector can serve as a floodlight. Nothing like multi-purpose functionality. So, is this projector/floodlight going into production as a presumably optional feature?
The Drive reached out to Ford seeking comment and was told the following: "We submit patents on new inventions as a normal course of business but they aren't necessarily an indication of new business or product plans." Take that for what it is, or isn't.
Installing a built-in projector inside a liftgate for the Explorer, Edge, or all of its SUV/crossover lineup, is probably not the easiest thing in the world because it's a sensitive piece of technology. The liftgate would need to provide proper protection from the elements and then some. Another issue could be the cost. Could Ford manage to make it affordable without losing money? The jury is out.
We also wouldn't rule out Ford teaming up with a streaming service, such as Netflix, if the projector is deemed production-ready. In any case, it's cool to see Ford innovating stuff like this, though not all great ideas translate into production realities.