Ford aims to turn dashboards into desks

A new Ford patent filing has surfaced detailing desks built into dashboards.

Published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on March 19, but filed by Ford on July 25, 2022, a patent application discusses an arrangement of fold-out panels and tracks built into the dashboard to create a pop-out workspace while preserving interior space when the desk isn’t being used.

Ford dashboard deployable desk patent image

According to the patent application, the desk panels and their tracks would conform to the shape of the dashboard—so designers wouldn’t have to make dashes purely out of right angles. Ford has looked at ways to integrate the desk into the left, right, or center of the dashboard.

In one proposed configuration, the steering wheel would fold down, with the desk taking its spot just ahead of the instrument cluster. The application also shows a version of the desk that deploys from the center console, with a leg to keep it steady.

Ford dashboard deployable desk patent image

The desk could also deploy from the passenger’s side of the dashboard, potentially with a second element that folds out to cover the area around the center console, creating a wraparound shape with more work space for the front passenger.

This isn’t the first time Ford has tried to patent a dashboard desk. In another patent filing that surfaced in 2023, the automaker discussed a simpler version that would drop down from the passenger’s side of the dashboard on hinges. So while it’s still unclear if future Fords will get this feature, it seems to be something the automaker is interested in.