Positives & Negatives: Ford Patents In-Bed Magnets


Hands up if you’ve ever wrestled with keeping cargo from moving about the bed of a pickup truck. Whether it’s thanks to an oddly-sized piece of kit or something with few tie-down points, trying to safely secure all items aft of the cab can be a trial, with enough rope strung around to trip up at least half of Cirque du Soliel.

Hey, if you can’t tie knots – tie lots.

Moldy old dad jokes aside, Ford has patented a neat take on cargo management. Their idea? A whole bunch of magnets.

First discovered by the gearheads at Muscle Cars & Trucks, the patent goes into some detail about how a series of magnets underneath a truck bed would help keep certain types of payload from making an unauthorized bid for freedom. Specifically, they call it ‘selectively actuated magnetic floor sections’ as part of a pickup bed having controllably magnetized areas for retaining cargo or attachment devices.

This is a slick idea. Imagine having a bank of switches – or a series of virtual buttons in an infotainment submenu – which permit one of four quadrants in your truck’s bed to become magnetized. The advantages when moving metal objects like appliances are obvious, with this technology providing one more anchor point for security. Ropes and ratchet straps will still be needed, of course, but this author will take all the help he can get tying down gear. Even tasks like flinging the kid’s bike back there would be aided by this tech, helping to prevent the BMX from sliding around. One could also magnetize wheels locks for ATVs to the bed, as an example of using this tech to secure new mounting points for non-metallic items like the tires on said ATV.

Of course, car companies patent new ideas all the time, many of which never see the light of production. They might go through this trouble to secure a new idea, preventing competitors from seizing on the opportunity, or the concept might simply be too expensive or impractical to place into mass production. There are all kinds of sensitive electronics on a modern pickup truck that would likely need to be shielded from magnetic fields, for example; one would imagine this would go double for an EV pickup like the Lightning.

Still, it’s an interesting concept. What do you think? Would magnetized bed areas be useful to you? Or would they simply hoover every nut and bolt out of your toolbox in the garage? Sound off in the comments below.

[Image: Ford]

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