New cars these days can do a surprising number of things by themselves, from maintaining lane position on highways to parallel parking on busy city streets.
Of course, it seems clear that, at some point in the distant or not-too-distant future, vehicles will be able to drive themselves entirely, but in the meantime, automakers are always trying out new bells and whistles to make drivers’ lives a little easier — and justify increasingly high sticker prices.
Ford has been particularly busy of late on that front — and its latest idea would appear to give a whole new meaning to the term “remote control car.”
Ford Authority reports that the Michigan automaker has filed a patent for a new system that would allow drivers to control their Ford via their smartphone.
Predictably, however, this technology isn’t intended to turn your car into a giant toy or a prop in a James Bond-style stunt. Instead, Ford wants a mobile app to make it easier to maneuver something towed behind its vehicles. Backing up a vehicle while towing a trailer or boat requires much different steering than driving the car itself, and it can be difficult or overwhelming for drivers who are new at it or out of practice.
The Ford system, according to the company’s patent application, would allow drivers to exit their vehicle and see exactly where their trailer is going while backing up — and what might be in its way.
A patent application, of course, often represents just a concept, but Ford Authority noted that a Ford system that remotely revs a car’s engine was patented earlier this year — and will be featured on the company’s 2024 Mustang.