General Motors has just patented a tonneau cover system with a built-in cargo divider flap for pickup trucks, GM Authority has uncovered.
Assigned serial number 10,059,180 at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the GM patent was filed on September 11th, 2017 and granted on August 28th, 2018. It lists Anthony B. Bosco as its inventor and is titled “tonneau cover assembly with tonneau divider”.
The patent is comprised of two primary parts – a tonneau panel that covers the truck’s bed as well as a movable divider (flap) located inside the cover that can be deployed to divide the cargo area.
The tonneau cover itself is comprised of “at least one tonneau panel configured to couple to a truck bed”.
The GM patent lists two primary benefits to using a tonneau cover. The first involves concealing and protecting what’s inside the bed, and the second is improving aerodynamic performance of the the vehicle by reducing drag.
Given that tonneau covers for pickup truck beds have been around for years, this is nothing new or novel. The real magic of this patent, however, lies with the divider/flap.
On the inside part of the cover is a flap that is either stowed or deployed.
When stowed, the flap is essentially placed against the tonneau cover, leaving the truck’s bed unobstructed. The flap can then be deployed downward (at a right angle) into the truck bed, thereby subdividing the bed into fore and aft compartments. When deployed, objects stored in the forward compartment are prevented from sliding into the rear compartment, and the objects in the forward compartment are hidden from view.
One can deploy the flap using a built-in handle, as a gas strut retains the piece in its position. A latching mechanism secures the flap when it is either stowed or deployed.
The patent notes that the flap “can be provided with a lock to lock the movable panel in place”, thereby preventing unauthorized access to the forward compartment.
Where To From Here?
We can see the tonneau cover and built-in divider cited in this GM patent being right at home on Chevy’s 2019 Silverado and Colorado as well as GMC’s 2019 Sierra and Canyon. Notably, The General does not currently offer any first-party tonneau covers for its pickup truck models.
We should also note that a patent application is by no means a guarantee that the item, feature or technology in question will be produced. Moreover, if such an item does make it to production, then it can take years for it to reach an actual real-world product.
Check out the complete patent application in its six-page glory right here (PDF file format).