Ford dreams up center consoles with deployable tables

By automotive-mag.com 2 Min Read

Fold-out tray tables are a familiar part of flying, but Ford could bring a similar idea to its cars.

A patent application from the automaker published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on March 14, but originally filed on Sept. 14, 2022, deals with tables that deploy from a vehicle’s center console.

According to the application, the cover of the center console storage bin would form the table. It would slide forward on tracks and pop up using specially designed hinges, providing a space between the front seats that Ford suggests could be used as a work surface.

This is just the latest of many reconfigurable interior bits engineered by Ford to make working in a car easier. The F-150 pickup truck is already available with a fold-down shifter that frees up space on the center console, along with fold-flat seats for power naps. Ford has also filed patent applications for numerous in-car work station concepts.

Ford center console table patent image

Patent filings for a movable in-vehicle table, as well as a dashboard desk, surfaced in 2023. A table-like work station was also among a batch of patent applications for reconfigurable interiors published by the USPTO later in the year. A patent application that surfaced earlier this year also mentioned a deployable table as part of a reconfigurable seating layout for EVs.

None of these ideas are guaranteed for production. But the sheer number of patent filings related to reconfiguring interiors for uses other than driving indicates that this is something Ford is serious about pursuing.

The center-console table described here is also one the simplest of the ideas we’ve seen so far, and doesn’t depend on changes to seats, steering wheels, or other fixtures. So it might have a higher chance of reaching production.

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