Technology

What Is Ford Up To With Its Mysterious 11-Speed Automatic Patent?

Company's current plans include a 10-speed 2017 Raptor.

In a new document published on Thursday by the U.S.Patent and Trademark Office, it seems that Ford has been granted a patent for agroundbreaking new gearbox that could reach up to 11 gears in three different configurations. Thus far, the company had only announced its intentions to include a 10-speedautomatic on the upcoming 2017 F-150 Raptor. Now, the question on people's mind is: What are the folks at Ford planning as they switch into 11th gear?

The patent request actually embodies three differentsetups, one with four simple planetary gears, four clutches and two brakes; onewith three planetary gear sets, two axis transfer gears, four clutches and twobrakes; and the third with four simple planetary gear sets, four brakes and twoclutches. Company officials didn't make their intentions clearer, stating onlythat "As a technology leader, we submit patents on innovative ideas as a normalcourse of business". The original request was filed in October 2013. So is Fordjust playing around with R&D tweaks, or is it showing its cards and presenting us with thenext best transmission out there?

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