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.

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  • Lou_BC Lately I've had the crap scared out of me a few times. The most freaky was the other day. I was heading out to a lake with my dogs. I was at a "highway" traffic light. A small SUV was next to me in the outside lane. The light changes and we both accelerate. I'm a bit faster. I look in my centre mirror and a GM Sierra pulling an ATV on a utility trailer in right on my butt. He' so close I can just see the top of his grill. I accelerate up to 105 KPH (Speed limit 100 kph). He's still right there. I'm not one to brake check but I chose to "cover" my brakes to activate the tail lights as a warning. He swerves into the other lane almost taking out the little SUV. Both his pickup and trailer are wildly swaying all over the place. He zooms off and gets stuck behind a few transport trucks.
  • Syke Nine comments and Tassos hasn't jumped in screaming about what a garbage car this is?
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