Ford's engineers simply don't miss an opportunity for innovation.
The Trail Sights on the new 2021 Ford Bronco - those angular tie-down brackets at the front of the vehicle that look vaguely reminiscent of the first-gen Bronco's peaky front fenders - aren't just for show. They can take loads of up to 150 pounds, and while that's not a lot, it's enough that owners will be able to use them to help secure roof-top loads and mount auxiliary lights, not to mention stringing up limb riser cables to keep tree limbs from smacking into the windshield off-road.
But those Trail Sights might be more than a one-trick pony, it turns out, as a new patent from Ford suggests the company is taking a look at integrating other functions into the fender-mounted brackets.
The patent, shared to the Bronco6G forums by user BroncoBuckaroo, depicts alternate versions of those Trail Sights with turn signals and other indicators integrated. The patent specifically highlights the possibility of incorporating the front- and side-facing turn signals into the Trail Sights, which could in theory eliminate the need to place those elements within the arrangement of grille lights.
But things get even more interesting, as another section of the patent raises the possibility of integrating a light facing toward the cabin, for the purpose of indicating something to the driver - or, alternatively, a multi-pixel display showing "letters, numbers, or symbols." Specific examples of what the cabin-facing indicator could display include which turn signal is active, battery state-of-charge, and battery recharge status, according to the patent.
In case you missed it, that's still more evidence that a Ford Bronco Hybrid might indeed be coming - a prospect that was first divulged, seemingly by accident, in an official Ford video showing off the Bronco's new digital instrument panel. The video was subsequently removed and all evidence of it scrubbed.
All things considered, it's not clear when - or indeed, if - Ford might introduce such a Trail Sight to the new sixth-generation Ford Bronco. We'll be keeping an eye out.