Ford Patents Tank Turn System, Clever Sand Ladders Integrated Into Body

A pair of patents from Ford might give us a glimpse into what the company is planning for its future off-roaders. One of them is for recovery boards that double as functional portions of the body. The other is for the Blue Oval’s take on the tank turn system from the GMC Hummer EV.

Ford refers to the recovery board patent as “vehicle design integrated sand ladders.” It describes several ways of implementing this idea. In one example, a clamp or latch would hold the items against the body, so they would double as the vehicle’s running boards.

The patent images also show the mounting locations so that the sand ladders could double as the hood vents, the grille, or attach to the tailgate. Rather than actually being functional, like for the running boards, the in these locations pieces would function more of a role in the vehicle’s aesthetics in these cases.

All of the other drawings show the boards on what appears to be a Ford F-150, but one seems to depict them on a Bronco. In this case, the ladders double as narrow doors for the off-roader.

Ford’s other patent goes by the name “methods and apparatus to perform a tank turn” and is specifically for electric vehicles. As the company describes it, drivers would select on a display whether they want the model to spin clockwise or counterclockwise. Depending on the direction, the system would brake the appropriate front and rear wheel. The tech would also decrease the suspension load on the same wheels. 

From there, the powertrain would turn the other wheels in opposite directions so that the vehicle starts spinning. By reducing the suspension load on the braked wheels, there’s less friction on them when turning.

This year, we’ve seen several other Ford patents for tech that would be ideal for an off-roader. One of them was for replaceable fenders that would include spots for mounting tools and integrating steps

Another Ford patent was for a drone that would broadcast its video display to a vehicle. The idea is that the flying machine’s altitude would provide a bird’s eye view would give the driver a better look at the terrain ahead and let the person plan a route through it.

Sources: United States Patent And Trademark Office, United States Patent And Trademark Office

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