Ford has this new feature for the 2021 Ford F-150 called the “onboard scales.” In which case, the taillights are able to help you stay afloat and not overload a truck beyond the payload capacity. It tends to be the latest in a series of new features that Ford is showing off with their technology. Such other options include Ford and their trail control and their trail turn assist. The trail control offers an additional level of convenience. And the ABS system is very classic.
But when you look at the taillights, those are really the piece of resistance, or irresistability, really.
Here’s what those lights are indicating: weight. Yes, weight. Ford has a system they introduced earlier this year called Onboard Scales. It weighs how much is being loaded into the truck and then displays that as a little four-part graph in the taillights, based on the truck’s payload capacity, so you can see easily how much more you can load, right there by the back of the truck. No outside scales necessary.
Smart taillamps operate like the battery charge indicator on a mobile phone, displaying the percentage of payload capacity by illuminating LEDs arranged in a built-in vertical bar. As the truck is loaded, all four lights illuminate, showing it’s fully loaded. If the truck is overloaded, the top lights blink. The maximum payload based on the pickup’s configuration is programmed into the system. Additionally, the truck can be set on scale mode, which zeroes out the current load and allows for approximate weighing of additional items loaded into the bed.
The use of taillights for alarm/lock status marked a first major addition to taillights in decades, where they could perform a communication function outside of the usual contexts of indicating a driver’s actions or intended actions while the car was in motion.