A new patent reveals some exciting information.
As Ford continues development on both hybrid and all-electric F-150 pickup trucks, additional new technologies are also in the works for America's best-selling vehicle. The competition in this segment has never been more competitive and despite leading the sales pack, the Blue Oval is determined to stay several steps ahead of its rivals. This new patent filing, via Patent Swarm, uncovered from the files of the United States Patent and Trademark Office is yet another way Ford intends to dominate the truck world. These patent images show a new design for four-wheel steering for the F-Series Super Duty trucks, a feature most typically found on modern supercars, such as the Porsche 911, Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, and the Bugatti Chiron.
The patent application date is listed as December 12, 2019, so all of this is obviously very recent. But why is Ford clearly developing and maybe even sending to production such a system?
Because there are several advantages to four-wheel steering, such as better steering response, cornering stability, tighter turning, and improved handling on tough terrains. The patent images you're looking at reveal a new design specifically for Ford's heavy-duty F-Series trucks.
The abstract of the patent states the following: "An example wheel steering apparatus includes a steering actuator to couple to a rear axle, a tie rod, and a transfer link to couple the steering actuator and the tie rod. The steering actuator is positioned on a first side of a first longitudinal axis of the rear axle and the tie rod positioned on a second side of the first longitudinal axis of the rear axle opposite the first side."
This system features an Ackermann steering geometry, which "enables mechanically linked steerable wheels to move together simultaneously during turning and steering movements."
This suspension geometry allows for not only rear-wheel steering with a live rear axle, but also for improved overall performance. Ackermann geometry prevents a vehicle's tires from turning about different points while the vehicle turns. When the tires turn relative to different points, the wheels end up fighting each other to force the vehicle to turn about the point about which each tire is turning. This results in one or more of the tires dragging in a direction different from that in which the vehicle is steered.
Ford has not confirmed whether this system will officially enter production though it would make a lot of sense to do so.