Car safety has continually improved throughout the history of automobiles and the rate of development is only increasing. If you look at the data, advances in car safety have significantly reduced the number of motor vehicle fatalities. Yet, very little has changed when it comes to in-car safety measures for our cherished four-legged friends. The market is full of car accessories designed to make it easier for you and your beloved pet to travel comfortably in a car but none of them add to their safety. In most cases, pet parents are forced to come up with workarounds that are not really safe or comfortable for the pets. However, Ford might be onto something. According to a report by Motor Authority, the automaker recently filed a patent application for a pet restraint system with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The application filed by Ford mentions how people mostly use cages to transport their pets, which offers a lot of room for the pets to move about freely inside the cabin but is very unsafe in the event of a crash. That’s exactly why seatbelts were invented for people to safely secure passengers inside the cabin. To fix the problem, Ford has designed the pet restrain system that includes a collar and harness attached to a leash, which itself is “secured to a support structure on the vehicle.”
As seen in the diagrams in the patent application, one or multiple straps can be attached to the pet’s collar and the ISOFIX anchor points. These straps are connected to retractors that work like the inertia reels in seat belts to take away slack when needed. The application goes on to explain how the system is controlled by sensors that measure acceleration and steering to detect crashes or unsettling movements. Another sensor reads road conditions and adjusts the slack accordingly. Ford has also added a camera to monitor the movement of the pet passengers. There’s no information if the feature will make it to production but something like it is definitely needed.