Someone at Ford thinks it'd be cool if you could yank off a car's back wheel and ride away on it.

Functioning as a one-wheeled, self-balancing electric cycle, the machine could be used as a way of scooting around town once you've parked your main motor.

Filed this month with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Ford's idea for a "self-propelled unicycle" includes a frame that sits over the wheel so you can sit and steer in comfort.

The machine's design is similar in many ways to that of the Ryno "microcycle," which DT took for a spin last year.

The unicycle's frame, or "hub" as Ford calls it, comprises a motor, seat, handlebars, footrests, and battery, with the entire kit stored in the trunk until needed. A tablet or smartphone attached to the top of the handlebars could act as a dashboard and also receive commands from the rider, the patent suggests.

The idea of effectively changing a wheel every time you want to use the unicycle will likely put many people off Ford's unicycle idea, but if the "jack system" mentioned in the patent is fast and simple, it may well have some mileage in it.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Truth be told, the chances of this particular contraption turning up anytime soon as an optional extra for Ford buyers are pretty slim, and as it's only a patent at the current time, might never even become a reality.

But Ford's R&D tech-heads evidently believe the idea presents possibilities. Imagine -- a person working in a busy urban area could use it to get to the workplace more quickly by parking up early to avoid traffic congestion.

Rather neatly, Ford also suggests the design could act as an anti-theft device as few thieves will be interested in a car with a missing wheel. Just hope no one nabs the unicycle.

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