A new patent filing indicates that future Ford electric trucks may have their own strategic features to compete with the Revian R1T and GMC Hummer EV.
The Hummer EV’s Crab Walk Hulking lets the pickup go sideways, while Rivian is working on a tank turn feature that allows the R1T to rotate at its own length and submits a patent application for a K-Turn setup. But Ford’s latest patent filing, marked by the first DriveEven hints at something crazy.
The petition was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in September 2020 and was published March 31 of this year, the application for “crawl operation for four-wheeled steering vehicle”. A accompanying image shows a previous generation Ford F-150 Raptor (which did not have four-wheel steering, of course), but with front and rear motors, indicating that the system would be used with electric trucks.
Ford four-wheeled steering patent image
One thing Ford describes is that the front wheels turn in one direction, and the rear wheels in the opposite direction. Applying force, it would allow a vehicle to pass left or right on a loose surface, the automaker claimed.
Although Ford doesn’t stop there. The automaker describes the wheel steering individually. This means that both axle wheels can be rotated in the opposite direction, with one wheel pointing to the left and one pointing to the right.
Such systems will probably be reserved for off-road use. Ford specifically refers to loose surfaces such as snow, sand, and mud, but not sidewalks. The automaker thinks that this setup can help if a driver gets too stuck, as turning the wheels in different directions can gain potential traction.
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Cold-Weather Test in Alaska
Like all autonomous patents, however, there is no guarantee that this comprehensive steering system will allow it to be manufactured. Ford has recently filed several truck-related patents for items such as trisected tailgates, magnetic beds and built-in speakers for the F-150 Lightning’s frunk, but none has been confirmed for production.
With tank turning and crab walking with rival electric pickups, though, it would be understandable for Ford to implement something like this in a future off-road version of the Lightning.