Ford wants to make sure that our four-legged friends are as comfortable in its cars as humans. It patented a function it calls “Pet Mode” that, if brought to the market, would give users of compatible cars access to a number of clever animal-friendly features at the push of a button.
Spotted by forum Lightning Owners, the patent was filed by Ford Global Technologies in October 2018 and published in February 2022. It describes a technology that’s relatively simple: pushing a button on the key fob keeps the cabin temperature in check by lowering one or more windows, opening the sunroof, or both. It can also turn on and adjust the climate control system if opening a window isn’t enough. Don’t worry about your furry friend escaping while you’re getting a latte: pet mode disables the window switches and the door handles.
Ford seemingly takes your dog’s comfort very seriously. Some of the other key fob-based features described in the patent filing are the ability to remotely open a door to let your pooch in and out of the car and a function that folds down one or more seats to give it more space. Owners could even select the type of music they want the radio to play when Pet Mode is engaged. It’s not unreasonable to assume that a smartphone app or a menu in the infotainment system would be linked to Pet Mode to let owners decide which windows should be opened, for example, especially since Ford notes that the function can easily be activated with devices like a smartphone or a smartwatch.
An in-car water fountain may be around the corner, because the patent points out that “a hydration system” can make sure that fresh, cool water is available for the pet at all times. And, another interesting detail is that Pet Mode could, in theory, turn itself off if needed if it detects that the pet is no longer in the car. This would likely require a tremendous amount of testing to ensure it doesn’t overlook a chihuahua.
Ford hasn’t commented on the patent filing, and it hasn’t announced plans to bring Pet Mode to production, so we don’t know what the future holds for the technology. Keep in mind that a patent filing is never a guarantee that the feature it describes will end up in your next car. It’s a cool idea, though, and one that — unlike many patents — would be useful in real-world conditions across the nation. Tesla notably offers a similar system called Dog Mode. Launched in 2019, just after Ford submitted its Pet Mode patent, it primarily keeps the climate control system running while the car is turned off.