Home » Ferrari Patents Sliding Driver’s Seat But This One Goes Left and Right

Ferrari Patents Sliding Driver’s Seat But This One Goes Left and Right

Ferrar Sliding Seat Patent Ts2
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Ferrari quietly filed a patent in July of 2023 that could allow it to sell road cars with a driver’s seat that moves from a center position to either side. On February 1st, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published the filing. Now, we’re about to pick over it with a fine-toothed comb.

First spotted by the folks over at CarBuzz, this patent allows the driver and their controls to move from one side of the car to a center driving position. Patent drawings included in the filing make no bones about it. The driver’s seat moves laterally and brings the pedal box and the steering wheel with it. That indicates that the system would leverage drive-by-wire with no mechanical linkage between things like the steering wheel and the front wheels. That’s the same system that’s currently only available in the Tesla Cybertruck

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Why go to the trouble of creating a complex system like this? The impetus for this technology might be on display in plain English. In the filing, Ferrari states

“the whole driver’s station, including the steering assembly and the set of pedals move between the limit positions, so that the driver can guide the vehicle from one off-centre, or more external, position as normally occurs for road vehicles, or from one more central, or more internal, position, as occurs for racing vehicles.”

Ferrari Uspto 5
Source: USPTO

The implications aren’t as simple as having two driving positions to choose from. It could allow a car to go from a performance-focused track day toy to an everyday two-seater. Ferrari goes into some depth regarding the ancillary features of this seating situation. For example, it mentions that the seating configuration could change based on input from a user’s phone. The mirrors would automatically adjust based on the seating position too. It even makes mention of potentially having a third pedal “to control a clutch of a vehicle.” It doesn’t appear as though three driving positions will be available but two is 100% more than in every other car. 

Ferrari Uspto 9
Source: USPTO

In theory, this sort of adjustable driving position is practical even if no secondary seat ever ends up as part of the design. Getting in and out of a car with a centrally positioned driver’s seat isn’t always graceful. Slipping into and out of the left or right seat is far more straightforward. It would make sense then to have a seat that allowed for the best driving position (in the center) and ease of ingress and egress (the sides).

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Ferrari Uspto 3
Source: USPTO

Ferrari points this out in the patent too and seems to indicate that the patent could even end up as part of its future racing cars.

“The vehicle could be a racing vehicle – if the seat were fixed to the floor in a central forward position as would be optimal for a racing vehicle, the driver’s access to the seat via the side door would be particularly complex if not actually impossible based on the profile of the body.”

As The Drive pointed out, this isn’t the first time this type of technology has popped up in the car world. In 2018, Audi featured a seat that moved from left to center in its PB18 e-tron concept.

Just like in the Ferrari patents, the PB18 e-tron utilized drive-by-wire along with a complete driver’s monocoque that moved laterally. While on display, the seat would move back and forth demonstrating the motion. The video below shows that movement into both positions.

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There’s no telling if Ferrari’s patent ever makes it to production but there’s certainly a chance that it does. Currently, it’s in the “ready for examination” stage of the patent process. That means that the USPTO could simply grant the patent or it could go back to Ferrari with more questions or concerns about the filing. 

Ferrari Uspto 2
Source: USPTO

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Musicman27
Musicman27
11 days ago

Speaking of Ferrari they have made another interesting marketing decision. Just ask these guys. https://www.beamng.com/

Last edited 11 days ago by Musicman27
TheCrank
TheCrank
12 days ago

This is only a patent application, not a patent. A patent application is filed and published (typically at 18 months from the filing date) without being examined as to the merits of the claimed invention. The published application will start with the year of the publication, for example, in this case the publication number is 2024/0034198.

The application will undergo examination by a patent examiner who evaluates the merits of the claims (more on these later) and issues an Office Action that details the various issues, which can include formalities as well as “prior art” rejections that essential mean that the claimed invention is not novel or non-obvious in view of what has been done already.

The applicant can amend their claims and make arguments to get the application allowed. Once allowed, the patent application will issue as a PATENT. The patent will be issued a new patent number that is in sequential order starting from July 13, 1836. We’re currently approaching 12,000,000 issued patents (at ~11,891,00 as of last week).

Finally, what the patent actually covers is not all that is described. It is only what is contained in the numbered “claims” that appear at the end of the patent. Those claims are the legal definition of what the patent covers. Patent claim language is itself like a foreign language and can require significant analysis and interpretation to fully understand what is and isn’t covered.

Scott Ross
Scott Ross
12 days ago

can i go in the middle like a Mclaren f1 or Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale?

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
12 days ago

I don’t get why this is a big deal. It’s just a jump to the left.

And a step to the right.

Put your hands on your hips….you get the (Rocky Horror) picture….

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
12 days ago

I hope they find a legitimate use for this with a movable/removable passenger’s seat, giving a track car full drive-by-wire complexity, disengagement and weight just for ingress seems very counter to Ferrari’s “uncompromised motorsports pedigree”

Last edited 12 days ago by Ricardo Mercio
Jj
Jj
12 days ago

Why are they able to patent this?

It’s all existing and established tech. Adjustable steering wheel position, pedal positions and seating positions are nothing new.

This is like getting a patent on hanging a picture crooked on your wall.

Ben
Ben
12 days ago
Reply to  Jj

You would be surprised how little real oversight happens in the patent office. I’ve seen some truly atrocious patents granted over the years.

TheCrank
TheCrank
12 days ago
Reply to  Jj

It’s not patented, it’s only an application. It still needs to go through the examination process, which can take several years. Also, the legal scope of what is “patented” is defined by the claims at the end of the patent, which use specific terminology. So, it’s not as simplistic as it’s being described. The claims as-filed, do appear fairly broad in scope, but very likely will be narrowed considerably during the examination process.

I drive a boring SUV
I drive a boring SUV
12 days ago

Wouldn’t the point of the central driving position for “racing” be negated by all the weight such a system adds?

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
12 days ago

Just add horsepower to compensate.

I drive a boring SUV
I drive a boring SUV
12 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

‘Complicate and add power’ or something like that, wasn’t it?

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
12 days ago

It’s the ‘Murican Way.

AlterId
AlterId
12 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Apparently it’s the Italian and German ways as well.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
12 days ago

What happens to the passenger seat? Is the void in the centre of the car trimmed? Where are all the black boxes and stuff going to go that currently get hidden in the faux transmission tunnel in mid engined cars? If there is space for this there is space for a McLaren F1 style three seater, which is more useful and likely no heavier.

Is this gimmick what we’re going to get instead of engine noises in EV Ferraris?

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
12 days ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

I love the idea of a removable passenger seat…it would be coolness along the lines of the Wrangler’s doors, or the rear seat cap on some sportbikes. But I can only imagine the regulatory headaches accompanying such a thing.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
12 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Every car I’ve ever had came with removable passenger seats. It’s never been more than 4 bolts.

Some of my drift sheds I kept with no passenger seat to make more room for spare wheels. It may sound extreme, but you try carrying spare 6 wheels in a Miata.

Jj
Jj
12 days ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

That stuff will live in the space where the passenger seat used to be. This is more for making easy entrance / exit to a center-seat race car with a roof and doors. Slide the seat over to get in or out and then back to the center for driving.

It doesn’t look lie this setup is meant for converting from a 2 seater to a center single seat, but for always center driving with easier enter / exit ability. It’s probably more for something like the FXX (or whatever their current ‘you own it but you have to ask us to use it’ model is).

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
12 days ago
Reply to  Jj

That makes more sense, thanks.

ExAutoJourno
ExAutoJourno
12 days ago

I recall Matra building a car — I think the Bagheera or Murena — that had a central driver’s seat between two passenger positions. I sat in one. It felt…strange.

Of course the controls were fixed, so it was mainly French weirdness and not a way to play Boy Racer.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
12 days ago
Reply to  ExAutoJourno

Lotus did a central driving position on the Sport Elise, the race car that later became the S1 Exige. The passenger seat went in the bin.

You can convert any of the Type 111 family chassis to a central driving position with a few mods and a new steering rack (and converting RHD to LHD is the same). I imagine it makes getting in even more annoying to have a gap to cross after the huge sill.

ExAutoJourno
ExAutoJourno
12 days ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

Yes, it was awkward. Of course it was “First in, last out” for the driver.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
12 days ago
Reply to  ExAutoJourno

Both of those cars were three-seaters, but the driver was on the left on both.

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