Rumor has it that Ford is working on an inflatable car. Those rumors got fueled even more after Ford filed trademark applications for something called an Inflatable Light Urban Vehicle, or iLuv. Other than the fact that it is classified under “vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water,” there is little more information on what exactly it could be.
The outlet that first discovered that Ford put in the applications, Ford Inside News, suggests that the iLuv could be intended for use on some sort of small, collapsible personal urban transport device. Even with all the speculation, Ford is not releasing any information about its Inflatable Light Urban Vehicle plans. One spokesperson for Ford released a statement that the company regularly trademarks various names and won’t comment on any speculation surrounding these.
Ford isn’t the only major car company looking to get into the inflatable vehicle market. Mercedes-Benz has shown a prototype vehicle that has inflatable steel beams in its doors that expand in the event of a crash to absorb energy. There is also a San Francisco start-up company called XP Vehicles that has proposed a car made from flexible panels filled with lightweight expandable foam.
So until more information is released about the iLuv, all we can do is speculate. Ford seems to be doing a lot inflatable research because they have released a vehicle with rear seatbelts that inflate during an accident to help cushion the blow. Only time will tell if people will be inflating their vehicles before they go out.