Ford Wants to Turn Its Vehicles into Photography Assistants

Ford patent for a photography assistant, Ford F-150 Lightning in red shown tearing up some dirt.

Ford Motor Company has filed a patent under its Ford Global Technologies, LLC branch to turn future Ford automobiles into a photographer’s assistant.

As reported by Ford Authority, the patent, number 0269463, was initially filed in February 2022 and published this past August.

“The disclosure is generally directed to systems and methods associated with a vehicle that is configured to provide photography assistance. An example method executed by [the] processor of a vehicle may include generating a guidance associated with a photo capture operation and conveying the guidance to a vehicle controller. The processor may assist the vehicle controller to execute a vehicle maneuvering operation to capture a photograph of an object of photographical interest located outside the vehicle,” describes the patent.

The patent describes potential vehicle maneuvers, like parking the vehicle at an excellent spot to photograph a selected object or even slowing the vehicle down while driving past a photogenic location. The idea of a car automatically slowing down so that its occupant(s) can take a picture sounds interesting, albeit potentially hazardous.

According to Ford, an onboard processor could also determine if an object is within the field of view of a camera mounted on the outside of the car or truck. The patent also describes a processor that can configure an external camera to capture photos.

The patent’s contents practically beg the question, “Why is this something photographers need or want?” To that, the patent outlines the problem it aims to solve: “Capturing a photograph of an object located outside a moving vehicle can be quite challenging, especially when one is unprepared for taking the photograph and/or is unaware of an upcoming opportunity to do so. It is therefore desirable to address such shortcomings associated with photography.”

That said, many photographers use their vehicles as an extension of their overall photography kit, not just for getting from point A to point B. Many wildlife shooters, for example, use their cars like a makeshift, portable blind for safely and effectively photographing skittish wildlife. There are even products designed to make it easier to rest a lens on a car door.

It is easy to imagine the utility of a semi-autonomous vehicle that can locate and safely track wildlife as it moves through its habitat.

“Cars have lots of room, great visibility, a great seat, heat, and even a radio. I would estimate 90 percent of my white-tailed deer photography is from my car. Unlike approaching on foot, a car does not threaten an animal nearly as much,” says photographer Jim Roetzel in an article from the National Park Service.

Perhaps a car that can detect when a good photo opportunity is in the offing and alert its occupants is not such a crazy idea after all.

Image credit: Ford

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