In the years leading up to the Ford Bronco’s release in 2021, engineers applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for no less than nine patents for different kinds of doors and door system. The tinkerers haven’t stopped thinking about ways to separate occupants from the atmosphere, The Drive coming across a new patent application for a “Screen deployable across opening in vehicle body.” This one, unlike the detachable suicide doors or the flexible doors with airbags, would be guaranteed to deliver that Arkansas back porch vibe the Bronco accessory catalog has been missing.
Doing just what it sounds like, the paperwork describes a mechanism of screens on rollers in the roof that can be pulled across the roof and door openings. A network of chains in tracks is responsible for the pulling, activated in two ways. The driver can push a button on the dash to get everything all meshed up before grabbing a cup of sweet tea. The other method is involuntary, the patent application touting the system as a literal safety net for occupants. In case of an accident, pyrotechnic devices such as those used in airbags would deploy the screens, providing a lot more protection for the sensitive parts of anyone inside the vehicle. The philosophy is similar to one of those earlier patents that featured a telescoping rod running from the A-pillar to the B-pillar that could help protect occupants in the event of a side impact.
Of course, the ability to go on a sunset drive through the woods with just your guests, and not mosquitoes, would be a supplemental benefit of rolling with screen doors assuming the mesh is fine enough.
We’ve seen plenty of half doors for off-roaders like the Jeep Wrangler with aluminum mesh inserts, but nothing offering the vibe of a screen door. As far as we know, this would be a first if it ever came to pass, which seems unlikely.