Ford may be taking ages to get its reborn Bronco out of development and onto the market, but it sounds like this SUV will be well worth the wait.
It makes sense that a rugged off-roader like this would have removable doors so the driver and passengers can enjoy even more of nature’s splendor. Also, why should Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator owners have all the fun?
Our patent department-trolling investigators have uncovered an application that strongly indicates this new Bronco will be graced with removable doors. This is indicated by a filing for special inflatable safety devices, that is, airbags.
The application in question covers several things, including an innovative way of inflating an airbag mounted to tubular doors. This could indicate Ford will offer the Bronco with largely open, tubular doors in addition to its standard, solid doors.
Accompanying illustrations show how engineers came up with a way of routing a high-pressure gas through a door’s tubular structure in order to inflate a supplemental safety restraint. This could allow the inflator module to be mounted far away from the actual airbag, potentially improving access or packaging.
The patent application also touches on airbags mounted to other sorts of non-door restraints, including chains, links or rods. But the most interesting portion of this patent is for, “… a deployable assembly that transitions from a stowed position to a deployed position.”
Later in the patent filing it describes this feature as follows: “… the deployable assembly is a telescopic assembly comprising segments that extend relative to each other as the deployable assembly moves from the stowed position to the deployed position. The inflatable device is secured to each of the segments.” In plain English, this passage describes a collapsible rod that provides crash protection even when a vehicle’s removable doors are detached.
Looking at the illustrations included in the patent application shows this feature could be comprised of three major sections. As with the abovementioned tubular door, in the event of a crash, holes in the telescopic, structural pieces route an inflating gas to the airbag.
It’s still unknown how Ford’s reborn Bronco will look, what features it will offer and, yes, whether it will be fitted with removable doors since, you know, the vehicle hasn’t been revealed yet. But this patent seems to strongly indicate the folks in Dearborn, Michigan are hard at work making this dedicated off-roader as cool and as and safe as possible.