Mark this as the third concrete time we've heard or seen evidence that the upcoming reborn Ford Bronco will be a true off-road machine. The Blue Oval's most recent patent application is all about airbag systems and how they relate to removable doors or a tubular structure for the door itself.
AutoGuide first discovered and reported on the patent on Monday; it details several ways Ford has looked at including airbags for a vehicle without solid doors. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the automaker filed the patent application back in February 2018 before publishing the application on Aug. 22 of this year.
The application suggests a few ways for airbags to work with a vehicle that features removable doors or tubular doors. For times when the doors are totally removed, the patent application explains a telescopic device that deploys when needed to provide crash protection. An inflatable device is also secured to each of the segments to provide a buffer.
As for the tubular door structure, Ford's application discusses a route for high-pressure gas to travel and inflate an airbag. Various holes exist in the tubular door's structure to lead the gas to its final destination. That is, the airbag, which deploys in the event of a crash to aid in protection when the solid doors aren't equipped. In both cases, there'll be airbags to keep drivers and passengers safe in the event of a crash.
Back in March, anotherthat dealt with inner crash structures for removable doors as well. And even before that, it was rumored that with the removable doors.
As always, take patent applications with a grain of salt. Automakers file for hundreds, if not thousands, of applications every year. It's never a guarantee they'll see the light of day. However, knowing Ford is keen to retake some of its off-road credentials with the new Bronco, and the sheer volume of evidence, we imagine we'll see removable doors when the SUV debuts next year.