GM has filed a patent application for a system of “Reconfigurable Pickup Bed Sides And Endgate,” which includes inflatable bedside panels that protect and secure whatever the user is transporting in the beds of GM trucks.
The GM patent filing has been assigned application number US 2022/0135146 A1 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and was published on May 5th, 2022. The patent was originally filed on October 29th, 2020, and lists several Michigan-based engineers as the inventors, including Louis D. Thole, Karan Moorjani, Paul W. Alexander, and Wonhee M. Kim.
The patent describes a pickup truck cargo area (or bed) that includes the usual square shape, with a forward end, rearward end, and two side edges. A pair of inflatable GM trucks bedside panels is located along the side edges, while a pair of bed side rails is found above the cargo floor to support the inflatable panels. The panels can be retracted into a hollow chamber in the bedside rails, and are deployed via an air pump connected to the inflatable bedside panels, plus an inflatable end gate panel.
Essentially, this invention appears to provide added cushioning and support for whatever is in the GM trucks pickup bed. With the inflatable panels deployed, cargo is more secure and less likely to slide around and bump into the sides of the bed – for example, one of the diagrams shows a pair of motorcycles secured in the bed with the inflatable panel in back deployed around the rear wheels.
General Motors has been eager to develop the traditional pickup bed to include new and innovative features unique to GM’s brands. One good example is the GMC MultiPro tailgate, a feature that demonstrated a good deal of success among customers and resulted in a similar innovation for the Chevrolet brand dubbed the Multi-Flex tailgate. Essentially, the GMC MultiPro tailgate and Chevy Multi-Flex tailgate offer multiple configurations and positions to better accommodate whatever cargo users may be hauling in their GM trucks, in addition to providing easier access to the bed, and even providing a workbench, among other uses.