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As part of my work, I sometimes have to search the USPTO patent and trademark database.

Yesterday, I discovered Ford filed a patent application on June 25th for "luminescent vehicle molding". In other words, light-up exterior trim pieces. A Mustang image was included:

http://pdfaiw.uspto.gov/.aiw?PageNum=0&docid=20150175060&IDKey=414C724A65D0&HomeUrl=http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2%26Sect2=HITOFF%26p=1%26u=%252Fnetahtml%252FPTO%252Fsearch-bool.html%26r=21%26f=G%26l=50%26co1=AND%26d=PG01%26s1=Ford.AS.%26OS=AN/Ford%26RS=AN/Ford



A molding of a vehicle is provided herein. The molding
includes a cover panel portion mounted to a body panel of the
vehicle. A carrier is disposed between the cover panel portion
and the body panel, the carrier having an exposed portion
configured to luminesce in response to light excitation. At
least one light source is disposed inside the carrier and is
configured to emit light for exciting the exposed portion.
It looks like the beltline and other plastic trim will light up.

Something like this, but factory looking, and not looking like an add-on piece?



What do you guys think? If it's OEM looking, will it still be rice? I think it could be kind of cool to outline the Focus's greenhouse window trim with some subtle, factory-looking white LEDs.

I could see this feature improving visibility at night for cars, motorcycles, and pedestrians.
 

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Interesting that they used an S197 Mustang in the filing dated June 25 2015... Strange that they even used a mustang at all. I could see illuminated panels being great for the Transit, sold to business' perhaps, illuminate your logo at night...

Or it could be great for construction fleet vehicles, set to flash, no need for sirens anymore... Speaking of, imagine a police interceptor chasing you down with its bumper and hood alternating blue and red...
 

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I have a feeling it could take on a similar effect and integration as seen on the interior of the Buick Lacrosse.

Before and after of lighting:


 

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^ no joy, ford has had ambient lighting available for several years now...




Curious if they'll allow the same selection with the illuminated panels as they allow with ambient lighting...

 

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I think same selection and additions to the selection will be best or what ever amount would do well with complementing the paint selection they have.
 

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I think same selection and additions to the selection will be best or what ever amount would do well with complementing the paint selection they have.
speaking of paint selection, imagine if you could just dial in your desired colour and the illuminated panels turns your black car to yellow or whatever...
 

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hmm car and driver seems to think they'll be looking at integrating turn signals into the body panels or somewhat similar. I think you're going to see fleet cars start selling adverts on the spare space ;)
 

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They put together a gif 'rendering' which helps to imagine what it could look like once revealed:



This makes me wonder how Lincoln will make use of it and how different it will be applied.
 

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It's hard to imagine right now. I do think it will be pretty cool though. I just wonder if it will end up actually be used or if it will just show up in a concept and stop there.
 

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Inside ambient lighting will look amazing from the inside and outside if it's bright enough but anything installed outside may not look that sleek, especially with the RS body.
 

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I think you are right. This seems like it makes more sense as an interior feature. Making the whole car light up seems strange. I suppose it could be used instead of lights in some way. That could be cool to see.
 

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Came across more detailed patents, you guys will get a much clearer idea of what to expect with these.

Ford wants to use photoluminescent technology to light up its vehicles.

Numerous patent applications have surfaced detailing the technology Ford intends to use on its vehicles, all of which utilizes lighting that comes on after being exposed to certain wavelengths of light, similar to how items that glow-in-the-dark work.

The American automaker is looking to apply photoluminescent lighting for the following applications: vehicle trim and fabric, interior and exterior moving designs, vehicle graphics, bin lamp, device holder, vehicle console, lift gate lamp, color changing dome map lamp and vehicle step lamp. Each patent application was accompanied with a selection of images showcasing the technology and how it works.

The driver will be able to independently control which graphic or body panel is glowing on the outside of the car thanks to this new technology. For the dome and interior lights, a controller would be used to configure and excite a photoluminescent portion with the ability to control the output color of an emitted light.

It appears that Ford wants to apply the photoluminescent lighting technology to various items in the cabin as well as using it to light up the lift gate lamp and steps on the side of a vehicle.

It will be interesting to see an actual application of the technology being demonstrated, but for now all we can think of is how Fast and Furious Mustangs are going to look with flames lighting up the side of the vehicles… straight from the factory.


















 

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I think that some of these applications seem useful while others seem gimmicky. Will be cool to see in some concepts at an auto show. I wonder if this will come to market ever, or how long it will take at least? I'm not convinced the patent means that its actually going to happen.
 

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I will say again, cool as a gimmick just to show its possible and get some attention, but I don't see how this is going to translate to a practical application.

If tuners do this to their cars, I have a feeling it will be done in poor taste.
 

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Agreed. It would be a nice gimmick for a short while until something breaks in the body panel and the cost of replacing it may not be all that feasible in the long run. On the other hand the internal lighting from the diagram looks like it could be put to real work use, especially the trunk door light.
 

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Ultimately this should be optional since I can imagine the sort of headache some see in this and how unnecessary it can be.

But that brings into question, how much more could this cost as an option?
 

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Ultimately this should be optional since I can imagine the sort of headache some see in this and how unnecessary it can be.

But that brings into question, how much more could this cost as an option?
Knowing how much new paint can cost on a car right now, and then considering how this is much more over the top than that, I think it would cost an awful lot.
 
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