Toyota patents truck bed cover with air bladder

Toyota patents truck bed cover with air bladder


If you need to secure cargo in a pickup bed, tie-down straps are the go-to option. But Toyota doesn’t think that’s enough.

In a patent application released by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Jan. 2, and originally filed on June 8, 2022, Toyota discusses using air bladders to keep items from shifting while the truck is in motion.

Toyota air bladder cargo stabilizer patent image

Toyota air bladder cargo stabilizer patent image

As described in the patent application, the air bladders would be attached to the underside of a bed cover. Air to inflate them would be supplied by a compressor housed between the inner and outer walls of the bed. Once inflated, the bladders would take up enough of the remaining space in the bed to prevent objects from moving around or vibrating.

While the main focus is on trucks, Toyota also notes that the bladder system could be applied to other vehicles with large cargo areas, such as SUVs.

Toyota air bladder cargo stabilizer patent image

Toyota air bladder cargo stabilizer patent image

If it’s put into production, the air-bladder system would likely be supplemental to tie-down straps. These could still be used to tie down the cargo, Toyota notes in the application. But the automaker claims that “what is needed are other cargo stabilizers that can also be used for other functions.”

This isn’t the only recent automaker patent rethinking pickup beds. Ford patent applications for a reconfigurable tonneau cover that could be used for active aerodynamics, as well as an extendable cargo bed, have surfaced over the past few months. With a tailgate war already underway among the major truck brands, perhaps Toyota and Ford will kick off a bed war as well.



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