Patent would use portion of billboard to get business info link
Driver could get more information, even order from store on sign
A new patent from Ford could bring one of the worst parts of the internet into your new vehicle. Then again, with more advanced hands-off driver assistance, it could be exactly what you’re looking for.
The patent is called Billboard Interfaces for Vehicle Displays (via Ford Authority) and it is for a new method that would bring billboard ads from that big sign by the road directly into your vehicle via the infotainment screen. A segment of the image on the actual billboard would be identified via camera, think something like a QR code, and then a targeted ad would show up on your infotainment screen. You could then click on a link from the ad that would give you more information or even choose to automatically reroute your Ford to the advertised business.
The system would use a vehicle camera as well as GPS sensors and communication modules to get the information from the billboard, which would then be displayed to you. The patent presents that this could be safer and more convenient for driver and passenger due to the fleeting nature of driving by a billboard, though we’re not exactly fans of the idea of being bombarded with paid pop-up advertisements on one of the last screens that isn’t flooded with those ads already.
In the patent is an example of a billboard for a hot dog stand, which the camera would see and then open on the screen. The driver or passenger could then call the business, see more information about it, or direct their vehicle to drive there. You could even order from your vehicle, and we’ll admit that one sounds appealing even if it would encourage more of the 100-mile series of billboards like those for South of the Border in SC. It would work on other road ads including public transit bus signs.
We’ll admit there is some appeal to this, especially with Blue Cruise hands-off driver assistance, but we hope that if it ever makes it to production Ford will give the option to shut the system off.