Please stop suggesting these inventions to Ford

Image: AP Photo/Matt York
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If you’ve ever had an idea that you think would change the way we get around, Ford would like to hear it. The company has a portal open to employees and the public where anyone can suggest an idea to Ford, and, if the company likes it, it may work with the person to help them secure the intellectual property. But not every idea is a good idea, or a new idea.

On the site, Ford has a list of a few suggestions that it would really prefer if you didn’t send them, because the company is either already working on similar ideas, or it’s just heard it a ton of times before and can’t do anything with. “We do not want you to waste your time submitting these ideas (or our time reviewing them), as we will reject your submission,” Ford says on the site.

Here’s the full list, with our own speculation as to why Ford might not want to spend time politely rejecting these ideas over and over again:

Dual fuel filler doors (one on each side of the vehicle), or in a specific location on all models (such as the rear of the vehicle)

While it might be nice to never have to remember which side of the car the fuel tank is on when you pull into the gas station, it’s a lot easier for car manufacturers if you’d just check the little arrow next to the fuel gauge.

Built in car jack assemblies for easier changing of tires, or working beneath the vehicle

Something that’s built into cars to let DIY-ers and weekend warriors repair their own cars without the proper tools seems like a recipe for disaster.

Infrastructure ideas requiring electrified roadways (will need government sponsored effort)

Not much Ford can do about the roads its cars drive on, although some governments are working on ideas of this sort.

Cars that do not use gasoline/diesel. Cars that use air/water to extend range (HHO, Brown’s Gas, electrolysis, windmills, turbines, magnets on wheels/driveshaft, and solar)

Did you know that Ford, like most car companies, has electric cars and has done research into cars that run on hydrogen and myriad other alternatives to fossil fuels? Although the idea of a car with a giant windmill sticking out the back to power it does sound amazing, for what it’s worth.

Exterior indicator lights to notify others that occupants are not wearing seatbelts

Perhaps a giant LED sign that says, “Please don’t hit my car, I am not wearing my seatbelt?”

Disable cell phones and texting while driving

Unless a cellphone was plugged into Ford’s systems, it’s not entirely clear how a car could do this—even if it’s not a terrible idea.

Transition windshields/window screens for sun and/or element barrier

If you’ve ever been around someone wearing Transitions lenses (which react to light and get darker in bright outdoor light) after they’ve come in from outside, you’ll know that the technology doesn’t work particularly rapidly. Imagine driving down the highway and entering a tunnel with a giant pair of sunglasses over your entire windshield.

Brake light changes to alert other drivers (intensity, flashing, location, color); these are regulated by law

Again, not much Ford can do about federal laws.

Occupant detection systems–children/pets left alone in the vehicle

This isn’t a terrible idea—perhaps it’s something Ford could even work into the companion app it has built for all its cars. Maybe the company just doesn’t want any more suggestions on this because it’s already working on it. Or maybe its lawyers are just sick of hearing the same suggestion every time a driver leaves a kid or an animal in a car, which happens more frequently than you might think.