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Ford's future cars to have removable parts?

Ford's future cars could have removable parts.

The motoring company have successfully been awarded a patent for them to have removable steering wheels and pedals in their autonomous vehicles.

Writing in the application, they shared: "The lack of a steering wheel can handicap development by making it more difficult to place under driver control.

"An inability to manually steer the vehicle can result in placing test drivers at higher risk, as it would be more difficult to moderate or abort such maneuvers made under autonomous control, or make maneuvers with an unfamiliar electronic control such as a joystick.

"Further, some vehicle owners may prefer the familiarity of being in a vehicle having a steering wheel, or a steering wheel may be needed to allow a vehicle occupant to assume control, even if the steering wheel is inactive in autonomous mode."

It comes after Ford started to use 3D printing to create large car parts, using a specialist printer which takes up an entire room at the Dearborn Research and Innovation Centre in Michigan, United States.

Ford technical leader Ellen Lee said in a statement at the time: "With Infinite Build technology, we can print large tools, fixtures and components, making us more nimble in design iterations. We're excited to have early access to Stratasys' new technology to help steer development of large-scale printing for automotive applications and requirements."

The company don't believe the technology is advanced enough yet to be used in mass production but haven't ruled out it in the future as technology advances. However, they are currently trialling it for use to make plastic parts, which could make the vehicles more lightweight, cheaper and more fuel efficient.

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