Ford has achieved what no man has attempted before - creating a bond between the two road running rivals, the car and the bicycle, literally. They had submitted a patent application for a new structural modification that can transform their car into a unicycle. Well, it is not exactly a Transformer or a Batmobile but it is as close as we can get.
Termed as "Self-Propelled Unicycle Engagable with Vehicle", the magic happens when one of the four wheels is removed to be attached to a trunk-mounted and fully electronic. The power to run it comes from an built-in electric motor within the wheel itself.
But to use this attached unicycle, the patent requires the driver to first park the car, lock suspension and position the car jack to lift up the rear end of the car. Then the rear wheel needs to be removed, the power and data connectors as well that connect to the unicycle. The unicycle itself has its own battery and balance sensors to be able to balance with a driver seated on it.
The purpose for such dual-purpose rear car wheels was to make riding easier and more efficient for the drivers to adjust to the urban traffic problems. However good it may seem on paper, in reality the whole process of changing the wheel and finding a safer place to park the car can be troublesome.
The patent states that “As one example of this use, the driver may travel to a work office located in an urban setting congested by commuters by first driving the vehicle to a satellite parking lot in a less congested location spaced from the office and then driving the self-propelled unicycle from the vehicle to the office,”.
Moreover, very few people actually show up to work riding a unicycle therefore Ford’s vision of enabling urban drivers to reach their destination within time, may not trump over the fact of having spotted riding a unicycle to work. In the end, Ford may turn this idea around to make a greater innovation for bicycles instead. Only because they have issued a patent does not mean they will eventually materialize the concept.
But watch out for the Fordmobile, it might just pass you by.