Auto Tech

Ford's patent turns a pickup truck bed into party central

It's a little involved, but fun requires a bit of work on occasion.

"What'chu gonna do with all that junk, all that junk inside that trunk?"Watch a movie, duh.

The Toyota 4Runner has a "Party Mode" button, but that just pushes the sound system's balance to its rear speakers. Ford's latest patent is also for a party mode of sorts, but it's way more involved than Toyota's.

Ford was recently granted a patent for a "Portable entertainment support system for a pickup truck box." The patent focuses on, as it says, "a plurality of receptacles in sidewalls of a truck box spaced above a truck bed." These ports allow for the installation of crossbars, from which other bits can then be mounted in a sturdy, secure manner.

Ford's patent drawings envision adding a pull-down screen and speakers to the taller crossbar, while a projector mounted to the shorter crossbar turns the bed into a mobile movie theater. A television could also be mounted to the tall crossbar by way of your average wall-mount kit. Preparing the truck for travel would be as easy as disassembling the bars and storing everything in the bed.

Having a factory solution for this would be the best idea. As Ford notes in its patent, "Some pickup truck owners may drill holes in the pickup truck box … to provide interface points for accessories. Drilling holes in a pickup truck box may increase the extent of corrosion, disrupt the integrity and reduce the strength of the structure."

While this might be the first time we've seen such a system from an automaker, it's certainly not the first car-based theater system we've seen. Back in 2016, Hitch Systems launched a crowdsourced investment for its system, which included a large nylon projection screen and a separate tripod stand. It didn't involve mounting to the truck, and the projector was actually on a stand away from the truck, so Ford's solution is a bit more compact and all-encompassing. Not all patents actually make it to production, but this one seems like it offers additional versatility with few, if any drawbacks.

(A tip of our hat to The Drive for this one.)