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Ford Patent App Shows Movie Screen for Autonomous Cars

by Shane McGlaun
Ford Patent App Shows Movie Screen for Autonomous Carszoom in

Being on a commercial aircraft is cool for a bit, but an hour or so into your flight, it gets very boring. This is why airlines offer in-flight entertainment with videos on tiny little screens for you to enjoy. In the future when cars drive us where we want to go without us actually needing to drive, it should open the door for some fancy entertainment options.

In anticipation of this, Ford has filed a patent application that includes an example showing a big screen that covers the windshield and a projector to throw your favorite movies and videos up. If the driver gets tired of watching the flick or wants to control the car, the screen in front rolls up and a second screen is offered for rear passengers.

Here’s the patent abstract:

“A vehicle system includes an autonomous mode controller and an entertainment system controller. The autonomous mode controller controls a vehicle in an autonomous mode. The entertainment system controller presents media content on a first display while the vehicle is operating in the autonomous mode and on a second display when the vehicle is operating in a non-autonomous mode. A method includes determining whether a vehicle is operating in an autonomous mode, presenting media content on a first display while the vehicle is operating in the autonomous mode, and transferring presentation of the media content to a second display when the vehicle is operating in a non-autonomous mode.”

…and the relevant example:

“The entertainment system 120 may be configured to present media content or other types of content to one or more passengers. Examples of media content may include movies, television shows, games, music, videos, or the like. The entertainment system 120 may include a projector 140 and a projection screen 145 (see FIGS. 2A and 2B), both of which may be located within the passenger compartment 130 of the vehicle 100. The projector 140 may be mounted to a ceiling of the vehicle 100 and generally aimed toward the projection screen 145 to project media content onto the projection screen 145 for viewing by one or more passengers of the vehicle 100. The projection screen 145 may be located near the front of the vehicle 100, such as near the windshield. In some possible implementations, the projector 140, the projection screen 145, or both, may be configured to retract into the ceiling when the vehicle 100 is operating in a manual (e.g., a non-autonomous) mode. The projector 140, the projection screen 145, or both may be actuated (e.g., lowered from the ceiling) when the vehicle 100 is operating in the autonomous mode. FIG. 2A shows the projection screen 145 retracted (with the outline of the projection screen 145 when lowered shown for illustrative purposes only) and FIG. 2B shows the projector 140 and projection screen 145 lowered from the ceiling. FIG. 2B also illustrates that some of the seats 150 in the passenger compartment 130 may be stowed during presentation of the media content.”

I think it might be a while after autonomous cars are offered before I was comfortable enough with its driving skills to be completely oblivious to what is in front of us. Still, on long road trips I’d totally be down for some movies or gaming.

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