General Motors has invented a system which gives passengers (and hopefully not drivers) an on-the-go foot massage. It described the feature in a patent application, but it hasn’t publicly announced plans to launch it yet.
Filed in February 2021, and spotted by Jalopnik, the patent describes a system that stuffs the technology found in many massaging seats into the floors, though whether it’s under the carpet or integrated in the floor mat isn’t clear. In engineering speak, the setup consists of “a plurality of pneumatic elements positioned on the vehicle floor, an air pressure-generating device, and a plurality of connecting lines each in communication with one of the plurality of pneumatic elements and with the air pressure-generating device.” It’s simpler than it sounds. It’s an electric air pump that inflates a series of interconnected cushions in a pre-programmed sequence that simulates a massage.
It’s too early to tell whether the foot massage feature will be offered on a production car, let alone which model will inaugurate it. If it’s headed for production, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it offered on the Cadillac Celestiq, an electric sedan that will be positioned as the most luxurious and most expensive car in the General Motors portfolio. Built largely by hand, it will reportedly cost over $200,000 when it begins trickling into showrooms in 2022.
Of course, nothing guarantees you’ll soon be able to summon a foot massage while riding in a General Motors car. Carmakers routinely file patents and trademarks without planning on using them. In 2020, for example, Volvo patented a steering wheel that slides from the left to the right side of the dashboard. Rewind to 2019, and Toyota filed a patent that described a system which released tear gas in the cabin if someone tried stealing the car.