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 a groundbreaking 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-speed automatic 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 different setups, one with four simple planetary gears, four clutches and two brakes; one with three planetary gear sets, two axis transfer gears, four clutches and two brakes; and the third with four simple planetary gear sets, four brakes and two clutches. Company officials didn't make their intentions clearer, stating only that "As a technology leader, we submit patents on innovative ideas as a normal course of business". The original request was filed in October 2013. So is Ford just playing around with R&D tweaks, or is it showing its cards and presenting us with the next best transmission out there?

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