Ford has a new patent out for a vehicle camera system – but it’s not designed for use in autonomous cars, as you might imagine. Instead, it’s a vehicle-mounted camera concept that would use data fed by the vehicle itself about its speed, trajectory and more to determine how to best position themselves to get the best shots.
The Ford patent, which was originally filed in 2015 and discovered by Patent Yogi, describes the system as an answer to the problem of people attempting to use their own smartphones and standard cameras to snap photos and record video while their vehicle is moving, and even while driving. Ford’s alternative presents a system designed to be used without driver involvement, and with externally mounted cameras that also wouldn’t be impeded by windows or a car’s internal structure.
Ford’s patent talks about how a user could pre-define a range of movement that the system could use in getting a shot, providing some control from the driver over the field-of-view, while leaving the act of actually pushing the shutter to the system while the vehicle is in motion. It’s a way to provide control while also ensuring the driver stays focused on the road.
Companies file patents all the time, of course, and few of them ever make it all the way to production. But this one’s interesting in that automakers are already integrated cameras across the outsides of vehicles in an effort to help spur the development of autonomous driving tech, and because there is a pressing need by all automotive industry stakeholders to adapt to the impact increased mobile device use has on vehicle safety.
With vehicles increasingly featuring built-in connectivity, ways to automatically share scenic trips via social media might be cool, but it also opens up questions about how connected we want our lives to be. Still, just a patent application at this stage, but interesting to see some of the ways automakers are thinking about tackling the potential for mobile device distraction.