Ford wants to make it easier to pack things into your pickup.
The “powered sliding platform assembly” consists of a platform mounted on rails that’s operated by the same electric motor used in a hybrid powertrain.
When the truck is in park or neutral, and the emergency brake set, a controller can extend or retract the platform, which is equipped with a proximity sensor that can automatically stop it in its tracks if it’s about to bump into something or someone.
The patent says it’s powerful enough to work on inclines with a heavy load, which could be difficult or impossible to do with a manually-operated platform. An actuator engages a pin to hold in place when extended or stowed.
Ford hasn’t officially commented on the patent, but has confirmed that a hybrid F-150 will be in production by 2020 and that its electric motor will be able to provide stationary accessory power, along with improving fuel economy.
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Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com's Automotive Editor.