- perhaps trying to compete with tesla's dog mode, ford has filed a patent application for something called pet mode, which would allow drivers to remotely control things including windows and temperature.
- if your dog is the kind of spoiled furry friend who has its own masseuse, ford has also considered implementing a way for the car to play "relaxing music for the pet's enjoyment."
- tesla started offering its dog mode feature around four years ago as a way for drivers to make sure any animals left inside of one of the company's evs don't get too hot or cold, and that passersby would see a notification that lets them know the car is comfortable for the pet.
automakers haven't shied away from making their vehicles more pet friendly in recent years, from the subaru loves pets campaign to tesla's dog mode. ford might someday join the pet party thanks to a new patent that describes a way to remotely create a pet-friendly automotive environment whether you're leaving your dog in a parked car or just trying to make them happier onboard.
ford's patent application, which was filed in 2018 and published this past week, talks about ways to use the key fob or a smartphone app to make a parked vehicle more comfortable for a pet by, for example, lowering one or more windows, adjusting the temperature level, opening the sunroof or the trunk lift gate, and maybe tilting or folding some seatbacks down to give a pet more space. the pet button on a future fob could also be used to open doors and allow your pet to hop in the car. for the truly pampered animal companion, the system would also allow the car to play "relaxing music for the pet's enjoyment."
ford also throws a bit of shade against the old-school ways of driving with pets onboard. "although some pet owners simply put their pet in a cage in the back of a vehicle," the patent application says, "others wish to provide better conditions." the problem, as ford sees it, is that "the process of creating such an environment (e.g., lowering windows, manually tilting back seats) can be cumbersome."
as a patent application, the filing doesn't get into every possible feature of some future ford pet mode option or exactly how the company might implement this kind of technology. even so, we can learn about some of the things ford is thinking about as it might try to make its vehicles more pet friendly. for one thing, the system might have an rfid sensor that tries to communicate with an rfid tag attached to a pet or it might use infrared sensors or a probabilistic model to determine if there is a pet inside the vehicle.
the patent was first published by ford authority, which suspects that ford is thinking of adding this technology to its electric vehicles.
tesla dog mode operates in a manner similar to what ford is proposing here, while being a bit more advanced. dog mode uses the inherent benefit of having an electric vehicle with a large battery to basically operate as a little climate-controlled cabin for any waiting animals inside the vehicle. anyone who has to leave a pet in the car can simply turn on the keep climate on setting on the car's climate controls and, when selecting dog mode, a message is displayed on the large screen that reads: "my owner will be back soon. don't worry! the heater [or a/c] is on and it's xx degrees." if the car's battery runs low, the driver will get a push notification on their phone to come and check on the pet.