Ford wants to enable its electric trucks to perform completely new driving maneuvers based on all-wheel steering. A new patent proves it.
The US pick-up market is highly competitive, even for purely electrically powered models. In order to maintain its previous market dominance in the future, Ford must not leave the field to the competition in terms of technology either. With a patent that has now surfaced in the USA, the US car manufacturer is showing how it can envision all-wheel steering for electric trucks and the associated advantages. Obviously Ford is reacting to the all-wheel steering systems already presented by GMC in the new Hummer EV and Rivian in the R1T . Competitors can use it to do things like crab-style traversing or a tank turn.,
Four steered wheels offer many advantages. You can use it to reduce the turning circle and make cars more agile and more stable. In combination with all-wheel drive and electric motors, however, completely different functions can also be implemented. Ford has protected such in patent number US 2022/0097704 A1 dated March 31, 2022. It's about the "creeping operation of all-wheel drive vehicles". Since some of the driving functions described are based on two driven axles, which can also rotate in opposite directions independently of one another if necessary, the patent points directly to upcoming models with electric drives.
Sideways movements possible
For example, a sideways movement is described in the patent. To do this, the front wheels turn in one direction and the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction. Force is applied to the two axes, causing them to move toward each other. This seems bizarre, but causes the vehicle to move sideways, left, or right depending on how the wheels are turned. A yaw sensor keeps the vehicle straight by modulating the power distribution to both axles.,
Another drive variant outlines a scenario where each wheel is driven independently, even those on the same axle. This version is intended to be able to free the vehicle from situations in which it has become stuck due to a lack of grip.
Turning on the spot
In a supplementary patent with the number US 2022/0118979, Ford describes how to achieve a turning maneuver on the spot - a so-called tank turn - with only two electric motors on board. For this purpose, only one wheel on each axle is cross-driven in opposite directions. The second wheel on the axle is actively braked. This results in a turning movement for the entire vehicle when the wheels are turned.
It is currently unknown whether and when such a drive system will be installed in a Ford.,
All-wheel steering in combination with independently driven axles or wheels opens up completely new options for driving manoeuvres. Ford outlines what this could look like in a patent. We can look forward to completely new driving tricks, especially with off-road models.