The Ford F-Series is the best-selling truck/pickup for 43 years for the company and for the all-new F-150, it has patented max-recline seats. As part of developing the all-new F-150, the dedicated Ford comfort team went into the field with customers to see how they use their pickups in normal daily living. The team took hundreds of hours of video and thousands of photos while observing how people use their vehicles and what product “pain points” they either endure or find workarounds to compensate for them.
Ben Kulhawik, seat design and release engineer, said, “The all-new Max Recline Seats in F-150 were inspired by those adjustable beds you see on TV to help make our customers more comfortable while resting in the cab. Our F-150 customers are constantly on the road or at a jobsite and being able to nab a few minutes of rest really is a boon to daily productivity.”
Whether a customer needs a quick nap while parked between jobs, just wants a comfortable, dry place to sleep at a campsite or a place to rest over the course of an all-day sports tournament, these reclining seats have it covered.
To make this new seating system come to life, Ford engineers figured out the best and simplest user experience, then created mockups to quickly develop a proof of concept. They used hot glue, foam core and pins to build up components and attach them to a standard seat frame so they could test multiple concepts. After finding the most promising design, they developed a fully functional metal prototype to refine the motion and comfort of the seat; then production parts were created.
The end result: a seat that makes for a comfortable nap. The mechanism lifts the back half of the seat bottom 3.5 inches to make a flat surface to support the lower back. The upper seatback can also be moved forward for neck support. Ford's all-new seats have been awarded five patents tied to the novel design and assembly process. There are no additional motors in these seats – just a simple mechanism that relies on the customer moving the seatback using the power recline function.