New Ferrari Cockpit Lets You Switch Between LHD, RHD, And Central Seating As You Please

Patents and Trademarks / Comments

Ferrari's latest patent shows how a supercar could realize customizable driver controls capable of moving all around the cockpit.

Ferrari's latest patent could be mistaken for something you'd associate with a racing simulator, but it's for real-life applications and concerns allowing a car's driver controls and seat to move to any part of the cabin the driver chooses, effectively allowing for an infinitely configurable cabin.

This could allow one to go testing with an engineer or coach and later compete alone in the same car while enjoying a central driving position. It could also allow a grand touring traveler to swap which side of the car they drive on when crossing continents or a coach to maintain control of the pedals while a trainee driver could handle the steering.

CarBuzz found the patent at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

As you'd imagine, moving controls cannot accommodate fixed connections between themselves and the components they're responsible for. Basically, for the configurable cabin to work, everything would need to be controlled by wire. That means steer-by-wire like the Cybertruck, brake-by-wire, and even clutch-by-wire. You know what that means...

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Yes, Ferrari's patent suggests that it could make provision for three pedals, although it does not describe how one might operate a manual transmission. Perhaps the gear lever would move to the dash alongside the steering wheel. Regardless, Ferrari's solution for moving any and all of the controls is to use gathering up and extending connections, with "at least one rack gear" and a hinged "toothed engagement element."

Basically, when the steering wheel and pedal box move (along with the seat), they would still be physically connected to their controllers with wires. Of course, wireless alternatives will someday be possible, but for now, Ferrari says it could use, for example, cable support chains. Everything would move toward the center of the car in tandem, but the pedals, steering, and seat would be adjustable in their own ways once the position in the cabin has been selected.

As you'd expect, both manual and electronic remote controls are possible.

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Recently, Ferrari has filed myriad patents with a similar theme. These include patents for infinitely adjustable seats, bodywork that moves with the suspension, Forza-style driver aids, and another automatically adjusting cockpit, similar to this patent. We've even seen patents for joystick controls instead of the conventional wheel and pedals.

Looking at all of these patents, we can't help but wonder if Maranello's R&D department has been given a mandate of creating a transformer of a car. With a customizable cockpit and bodywork that can adapt to the demands of both the circuit and the road, perhaps Ferrari's engineers are creating a race mode that turns the hardcore Ferrari 296 of tomorrow into a 499P-rivaling hypercar with the flip of a switch. Actually, since this is Ferrari, it might be activated by multiple presses of an annoying haptic touchpad.

Whatever the future holds, Ferrari is far from running out of ideas, and whatever powers its supercars a decade from now will hardly be as interesting as tech like this.

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