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Ford Patents Some Crazy Tricks for Its Future All-Wheel Steering Systems

Ford is full of surprises and has patented some interesting concepts in its pursuit to crush startup competition in the EV field. A new patent shows that Ford is interested in adding new maneuverability features to its future electric trucks. This will rival GMC Hummer EV’s crab walk and Rivian R1T’s K-turn and tank turn.
Ford patents some crazy tricks for its future all-wheel steering systems 7 photos
Ford patents some crazy tricks for its future all-wheel steering systemsFord patents some crazy tricks for its future all-wheel steering systemsFord patents some crazy tricks for its future all-wheel steering systemsFord patents some crazy tricks for its future all-wheel steering systemsFord patents some crazy tricks for its future all-wheel steering systemsFord patents some crazy tricks for its future all-wheel steering systems
All-wheel steering systems are a novel technology that can be useful in certain situations, especially in large vehicles. Besides enhancing maneuverability, AWS can also improve stability at speed, which is why Porsche uses such a system on the 911. Even so, some of the more interesting tricks with all-wheel-drive systems have been demonstrated by the latest electric trucks like GMC Hummer EV and Rivian R1T.

Hummer EV’s “crab walk” allows the hulking truck to move diagonally by turning all the wheels in the same direction. Rivian also demonstrated a “tank turn which makes use of its four motors to rotate the pickup 360-degrees like a tank. Rivian went even further with a patent for an enhanced K-turn setup. But a recent Ford patent aims to eclipse all those with some crazy new tricks.

The patent filed in September 2020 and published on March 31 this year describes “crawl operations for four-wheel steering vehicles.” The document is full of pictures and diagrams that explain exactly how Ford sees the future of off-roading. These neat moves cannot be replicated by an ICE vehicle because they rely on the two axles of the vehicle moving independently and sometimes in opposite directions.

For instance, one of the moves described in the patent filing involves turning the front wheels in one direction and the rear wheels in the opposite direction. Power is applied to the two axles so that they move toward each other, which is bizarre but results in the vehicle moving sideways, to the left or to the right depending on how the wheels are turned. A yaw sensor will ensure that the vehicle stays straight, modulating power to the front/rear axle to achieve that.

The next trick is even crazier, as it involves turning each wheel independently of one another, even those on the same axle. The reason someone would want to do this is to get out of a difficult low-grip situation. By turning each wheel in opposite direction, the vehicle might just gain enough traction to free itself.

Filing a patent is not the same as implementing these unconventional features, but we are sure there’s a four-wheel-steering war going on right now. Sooner or later, Ford will want to stick it to GM and Rivian and no doubt these rivals would not want to remain behind. Ford is not new to the game either, as the Bronco demonstrated interesting moves with the Trail Assist mode, even without all-wheel steering.

 
 
 
 
 

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