Ford has patented a mechanism that transforms a car's rear wheel into a "self-propelled unicycle", reminiscent of the Batpod that ejected from the back of the Batmobile in the Hollywood blockbuster The Dark Knight.
The patent, published in late December but filed in June 2014, would allow drivers to park their car and use the motorised unicycle to navigate through busy inner city traffic. The unicycle forms part of Ford's Smart Mobility plan, which aims to improve communication between cars and other vehicles.
"A driver may disengage the self-propelled unicycle from the suspension system and drive the self-propelled unicycle to a different destination," the patent states. "In other words, the driver uses the vehicle and the self-propelled unicycle as multi-modal transportation.
"As one example, the driver may travel to a work office located in an urban setting congested by commuters by first driving the vehicle to a satellite parking lot in a less congested location spaced from the office, and then driving the self-propelled unicycle from the vehicle to the office."
The mechanism works in a similar way to the method used to change a car's tyre. Using a jack to raise the car up, the wheel can then be detached and a driving unit fitted powered by a 200-watt motor.
Ford claims in the patent that drivers could reach speeds up to 15mph, while also suggesting that more than one unit could be fitted to a car. Ford had not responded to a request for comment from IBTimes UK at the time of publication to confirm whether or not it has any plans to develop the patent.