Truck beds have always been used to transport a wide variety of objects, the formula has been the same for decades, a large undivided area for objects–typically sized to accept at least a sheet of plywood–accompanied by areas to accept ropes or cords to secure the load. Of course, tying loads down takes some effort and responsibility, and there’s always the possibility the load could become unsecured during transport. To fix this problem, Ford Motor Company has concocted a rather clever solution, and we could soon see it on trucks such as the Maverick, Ranger, F-150 and Super Duty.
Ford Motor Company has moved to patent a magnetized pickup truck bed that could seriously change the way we move cargo. And it could even be remotely controlled through a phone app.
Ford F-150 Magnetic Truck Bed Cargo Management Patent: Details
According to a series of USPTO documents first discovered by MC&T, FoMoCo is exploring several ways to secure bed loads using magnetization. The documents detail embedding a set of magnets within the truck bed that could be used to create a magnetic field that would not only change the level of magnetic force applied but also be capable of rotating and moving relative to each other in order to create a magnetic field that encompasses the entire bed floor or just sections of it. Ford proposes either a simple handle could be used to rotate the magnets, or a more involved servo motor, drive wheel, and belt system to actuate rotation automatically.
Drawings included in the document show between four and six magnets could be embedded beneath the bed floor. The magnets could also be selectively turned on and off, meaning the bed floor could be sectioned off and magnetized based on needs.
The second disclosure of the Ford Motor Company magnetic cargo management patent details a magnetic “tie-down” system for securing cargo that wouldn’t be specifically limited to pickup truck beds like the Ford F-150 and others, as it could also be applied to SUVs like the mighty Bronco or vans like the Transit. The document outlines a plan to use strategically placed magnets that could be energized through the vehicle’s infotainment touchscreen in order to secure either a tie-down apparatus or the cargo itself in place. As illustrated, a system of this nature could allow cargo to be held overhead by magnetizing the roof thus maximizing the useable cargo space within a van or SUV.
There are certainly other factors that would have to be worked out for a magnetic system to come to market. Magnetic flux can wreak havoc on vehicle electronic systems, so Ford would need to devise a way to insulate the wiring that lives below the pickup bed from being adversely affected. Things like fuel pump wiring could be affected, along with key rear axle systems like wheel speed sensors and ABS. In the case of SUVs like the Ford Expedition, the electronic Limited Slid Differential could be adversely affected, along with park sensors or even interior lighting.
As with all patent documents, it’s unclear if or when Ford could implement a system of this nature. But in the pickup truck space, where Michigan’s Big Three automakers constantly are one-upping each other, your neighbor bragging about an F-150 with a magnetic truck bed could soon be something that happens in the future.