You used to be able to buy a Chrysler minivan that doubled as a living room. The second row seats swiveled to face the rear, and there was a table that was installed between them and the third row. Finally, families could take their board games on the road!
Not too many did, though, so the feature is no longer available. But a high tech version could show up in car of the future.
Ford has patented an autonomous car design that has front seats that can turn around 180 degrees and a table that rises from the floor, according to a filing dug up by Automotive News. The concept is that if you don’t have to drive, you can socialize the old fashioned way, instead. (The bubble-topped car it's pictured in is a whole other thing.)
You might want to keep your drinks in the cupholders, however, because Ford has envisioned the table with an airbag built into the top of it, just in case the car gets hit by one driven by one of those fallible humans.
Ford has promised to debut an autonomous taxi by 2021, but there are no indications that this idea will be incorporated into it. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that legacy automakers have been filing a flurry of self-driving car-related patents in an effort to beat the braniacs in Silicon Valley to the punch.