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Never again will F-150 drivers sully their hands retracting the tonneau cover on their truck or messing with a truck cap, if this patent filed by Ford comes to fruition.

In a filing uncovered by our internet sleuths, Ford is shown to be working on a retractable soft cover for the bed of a pickup truck. The system is electronically controlled, potentially from a button inside the cab, the truck bed, or on a key fob.

Ford brought a power tailgate to the masses with the recent rethink of its best-selling F-150, adding a button for that particular party trick to the key fob. If the retractable cover earns a place on the key fob as well, it’ll soon reach the size of those blocks of wood attached to bathroom keys at janky gas stations.

The Blue Oval has also found success in selling a myriad of accessories designed to fit the bed of its latest F-150, such as ramps for ATVs which snug neatly on the inside wall of the bed when not in use. If this power retractable cover sees production, Ford will put yet another dent in the sales of aftermarket equipment for the venerable best seller. In fact, accessories are a huge business, so it is not wholly surprising that Ford is looking to take a piece of that particular pie.

With new front and rear styling for 2018, the F-150 will soon see renewed competition in the form of a new Ram 1500 and refreshed Silverado/Sierra twins from GM. Gee-whiz accessories such as these are a sure fire way to grab a few headlines away from the competition. The light truck business is cutthroat, so any advantage is a good advantage.

Expect to see Ford make a lot of noise at this year’s auto show in Detroit, attempting to steal a bit of spotlight from their crosstown competitors. The North American International Auto Show takes place in January.
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