Talk to the Chair: Ford Patents Voice-activated Seats

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
talk to the chair ford patents voice activated seats

Apparently, the increasingly complex array of buttons on the side of a modern driver’s seat has become too much for humans to process. There’s just too many ways to adjust our seating position (though not in this writer’s car).

What if, instead of pressing buttons and switches, we could bark orders or use a touchpad? That’s the future Ford envisions.

In a U.S. patent dated June 26th (kudos to the intrepid Bozi Tatarevic), Ford Global Technologies offers a solution, though it’s up to the reader to determine if it’s even an improvement over what we have now. Many of us aren’t flummoxed by a power driver’s seat, even if it’s a 30-way wonderchair.

Ford’s patent utilizes a voice input device and touchscreen input device working in unison with an adjustment actuator to control seat movements.

Because “seats are being developed and offered with increasing numbers of moveable portions with increasingly complex or nuanced movements,” it can be difficult to bundle the buttons and switches into a physical control array “in an intuitive manner,” the patent reads.

Ford’s solution allows a user to initiate a seat movement with either a voice command or touchscreen input, and to stop the movement in one of the same ways. Choosing the nature of the seat movement (its adjustment mode) can also be a verbal exchange.

Ford claims the patent offers a hands-free way to adjust seating position, and would incorporate features to limit seat movement “based on occupant safety.”

Needlessly complex, or just the ticket for a cushy ride? You decide.

[Image: Steph Willems/TTAC, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office]

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2 of 16 comments
  • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Jun 26, 2018

    I'm thinking of the fitness test I remember during childhood. You had to step up and down to a voice with a cadence. "Up up, down down, up up, down down..."

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jun 26, 2018

    I cannot convince my Ford to make phone calls or anything else by just trying to talk to it. It is probably my heavy Californian accent or with aging its hearing is getting worse.

  • Stanley Steamer There have been other concepts with BYOT, that I have always thought was a great idea. Replacing bespoke parts is expensive. If I can plug in a standard 17" monitor to serve as my instrument panel, as well as speakers, radio, generic motors, batteries, I'm for it. Cheaper repair, replacement, or upgrade costs. Heck I'd even like to put in my own comfy seats. My house didn't come with a built in LaZboy. The irony is that omitting these bespoke items at the point of sale allows me to create a more bespoke car as a whole. It's hard to imagine what an empty rolling monocoque chassis would look like capable of having powertrains and accessories easily bolted on in my garage, but something like the Bollinger suv comes to mind.
  • Iam65689044 Sometimes I'm glad the French don't sell in America. This is one of those times.
  • SCE to AUX I was going to scoff, but the idea has some merit.The hard part would be keeping the weight and cost down. Even on the EPA cycle, this thing could probably get over 210 miles with that battery.But the cost - it's too tempting to bulk up the product for profits. What might start as a $22k car quickly becomes $30k.Resource-deprived people can't buy it then, anyway, and where will Kyle get the electricity to charge it in 2029 Los Angeles?
  • SPPPP How does one under-report emissions by 115 percent? If you under-report by 100 percent, that means you said your company's products and operations cause no emissions at all, right? Were these companies claiming that their operations and products clean the air, leaving it better than when they got there?On the other hand, if someone was trying to say that the true emissions number is 115 percent higher than was reported, then the actual under-reporting value would be 53.5 percent. True emissions would be set at a nominal value of 100. The reported emissions would be 46.5. Take 115 percent of 46.5 and you get 53.5. Add 46.5 and 53.5 together and you get back to 100.A skim of the linked article indicates that the second reading is correct - meaning the EU is *actually claiming* that the worst offender (Hyundai and Kia) under-reported by 53.5 percent, and VW under-reported by 36.7 percent ((1 - (100/158))*100).I find it also funny that the EU group is basically complaining that the estimated lifetimes of Toyota vehicles are too short at 100,000km. Sure, the vehicles may be handed down from original purchasers and serve for a longer time than that. But won't that hand-me-down resale also displace an even older vehicle, which probably gets worse emissions? The concept doesn't sound that unreasonable.
  • Brendan Pataky Yeesh that's depressing. But remember, this will stop the hurricanes, or something