The fictional worlds that our favorite comic book heroes live in often include items we'd love to see in real life. For example, no one has as many desirable gadgets as the Caped Crusader, from the Batmobile to the Whirly-Bat.
Ford Motor Company recently filed a patent that may help to bring one of Batman's big screen vehicles to life. The company is apparently pursuing the idea of building a motorized device into their vehicles that incorporates one of the wheels and a pack-in chassis to create a back-up form of transportation similar to Batman's Batpod vehicle.
Fans of the sophomore chapter of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy will recall that during the epic chase scene through Gotham City - the one where the Joker and his goons are trying to get their evil mitts on Harvey Dent, the man who has turned himself in as the Batman. The Tumbler Batmobile is soon in hot pursuit, but falls victim to the Joker's massive rocket launcher. The Batmobile is out of commission, but the chase must go on, so Batman enables a special feature and one of the front tires begins to rumble. The car opens up as Batman lowers onto a chassis and arguably the most creative version of the Batcycle, the Batpod, emerges from the Batmobile. The idea of having the cycle built into the car as a backup mode of transportation was one of the more technologically innovative parts of The Dark Knight.
The Batpod was a unique mix between a motorcycle and an ATV. The design for the film was conceived by Nathan Crowley, with some input from Nolan. The very name invokes the idea of an escape pod, and that's basically what purpose it serves. In that way the Batpod is very similar to what Ford has proposed, but a major difference in both maneuverability and feasibility is the amount of wheels involved. The more wheels you have touching the ground, the more traction and control the driver has. Ford is basically patenting a unicycle. If you have every tried to ride a unicycle, you will quickly learn that it's a skill you need to craft over time.
For a better idea of what the design entails, check out the diagram below (via Gizmodo):
The Ford unit would store a battery, handlebars and seat conveniently in the trunk of your car and it would assemble with one of the wheels for use in busy urban settings or even as a backup transport in case your vehicle breaks down. The device even proposes a special automated jack system to make it easy to remove the wheels, A feature like this could certainly be the future of our vehicles.
You may have to wait awhile to fully realize your real-world Batman fantasies, however, because this is just paperwork at this point. A lot of ideas get a patent and never see the light of day. Ford hasn't made any announcements at this stage that indicate they are moving forward with this idea just yet - but there's no telling what we may see in the next couple of years.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will see theatrical release on March 25th, 2016, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; and Green Lantern on June 19th, 2020. The Superman and Batman solo films have release dates TBD.