The upcoming war between the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler is now months away. Jeep has spent its week at the Chicago Auto Show revealing many special editions, such as the Wrangler JPP 20 and High Altitude. Despite Jeep’s offerings, a new patent from Ford suggest a feature that may steer buyers between the two off-road warriors. The patents shows pillars that will extend from the base of the A pillar in the event of a crash.
We know the Bronco will feature removable doors, like the Wrangler, but this is an unseen safety feature in the segment. The patent suggests a multi-piece pillar that will extend across the door opening during a crash when the doors removed. The pillars are stored in a folded position during driving, and extend when sensors detect a crash. Ford describes the action as an inflator that extends the telescoping pillar. The patent says the pillars may be made of, “steel, aluminum, carbon fiber, or any other suitable material.”
Safety is often overlooked in cars, but this feature gives it some excitement. Furthermore, Wrangler has no protection offered when doors are removed. Jeep does offer open steel door cages, but no protection for when doors are in place. Customers should be excited about anything that keeps them from falling out of their car.
Interestingly, the patent does not indicate the pillars can be extended at any time. Ford could be making a mistake by not allowing the pillars to be extended whenever the doors are off. Some people could feel more comfortable driving their car with doors off with some kind of barrier in place. Furthermore, there would not have to be another accessory for customers to buy or store.
Overall, it is an interesting idea for Ford to implement on the Bronco. Look for this to be one of the standout safety features on the Bronco when it is revealed this spring.