One feature of a vehicle that sometimes gets overlooked by manufacuturers are cup holders. Not all cars have the same number or size of cup holders, but all cup holders have one thing in common. They are static. As cup holders are static, they are not very good at keeping the liquid inside the cup during hard acceleration, deceleration or cornering, unless you happen to be a popular tofu delivery boy.
To solve this dilemma of drinks spilling, Ford has filed a patent for self-leveling cup holders. Yes, a cup holder designed specifically to keep the liquid inside your container regardless of the external forces thrown at it. No longer will one need a lid as the cup holder will likely do its job.
Ford's patent works by placing the cup holder on the center of a gimbal. The gimbal then pivots based on the external forces acted on it. In order to keep the gimbal positioned correctly, a weight has been attached to the bottom, which also helps the gimbal in tilting the correct position.
As gimbals are very sensitive to dirt and such, Ford has designed the patent with a raised lip guard to prevent it from getting into the gimbal. The raised lip also keeps the gimbal from tilting too far in a certain direction, which could lead to your drink spilling.
Like most patents, not every one goes into production. Often times, these patents work best conceptually rather than in reality. As for the self-leveling cup holders, it is one thing that we hope Ford puts into production. It's not often that an automaker puts effort into designing a cup holder that consumers would enjoy.