Rivian explores a potential deployable roof-top canopy

Rivian could add a deployable roof-top canopy to the list of accessories for its EVs, if a recent patent filing is any indication.

The automaker filed a patent application titled “Canopy with Deployable Structure” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in early 2023; that application was published by the USPTO on May 14.

According to the application, the canopy would deploy from a container mounted on a roof rack. Tubular arms would extend out from this container, inflating with the aid of compressed air. Fabric would be stretched over the arms, which would act as a sort of skeletal structure, to form the canopy, much like an umbrella.

The inflatable tubes that form the structure of the canopy could be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, nylon, rubber or latex, according to Rivian. They’re designed to support the canopy under as much as six inches of snow or wind speeds of up to 30 mph. They could also be made self lubricating or hydrophobic, Rivian claims.

Rivian deployable roof-top canopy patent image

Rivian deployable roof-top canopy patent image

All of this would be done automatically, saving the effort required to manually deploy a vehicle canopy, Rivian notes in the application. The automaker also claims this design will save on the wear and tear that comes with unpacking and stowing conventional canopies.

A canopy like this could complement accessories like a rooftop tent and camp kitchen already available for Rivian EVs. And other recent patent filings point to more add-ons, including a tailgate workbench and bed rack system for pickup trucks, as well as integrated winches that can be controlled from a vehicle’s touchscreen.

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