Ford’s new F-150 pickup truck will feature a newly developed seat design, dubbed Max Recline.
“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,” explained Ben Kulhawik, seat design and release engineer. “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.”
As part of the truck’s development process, Ford says a dedicated comfort team went into the field with customers to see how they use their pickups day to day. The team took hundreds of hours of video and thousands of photos while observing how people use their vehicles.
“We know the folks who work on construction or mining sites use their truck cabs for naps during downtime, and we learned everyday owners do, too,” remarked Jackie DiMarco, Ford truck product line director. “When I would take my daughters to hockey tournaments, between games one would be sleeping in the back seat while the other would be on the floor of my truck, and it reinforced the idea that, ‘We need to fix this!’”.
Ford engineers tried to come up with 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, Ford says, is 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. “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,” added Kulhawik.