About a year ago, Ford had filed a patent for an assortment of dual-function traction boards scattered around the exterior of an SUV or truck like the Ford F-150 Raptor or even the Bronco. While patents aren’t always an indication that a manufacturer will build something, it does signal intent. And Ford intends to do something very cool for off-roaders, as seen via a new patent discovered by CarBuzz filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office shows a new iteration of the concept.
Ford Traction Board Patent: Details
Traction boards are beneficial when off-roading, as sometimes one can get stuck in the mud, sand, or even snow, and the moment tires don’t have anything to grip onto, you’re pretty much dead in the water. While a winch is often a solution, it’s sometimes easier to employ a board that provides grip to the tires to get you out of a tight spot. Ford has realized that several exterior components can serve more than just one function. According to the patent, elements like running boards, hood vents, and door beams can double as traction boards.
The premise is quite simple, instead of trying to find a way to make room for the simple recovery system, one can mount it on their vehicle so it has more than one purpose. For example, if your truck digs too deep in soft sand, you remove the side steps, place them in front of the tires for a quick recovery, and put them back once the recovery is complete.
Ford engineers could have stopped with the components they found capable of having multiple functions but decided not to. Instead, the engineers looked at other parts and found more exterior adornments, including the grille, bumper, and tailgate inserts, that could double as a self-recovery device. For this idea to work, Ford will need to construct the parts out of more robust materials and make it simple to uninstall and reinstall from the body so it doesn’t serve as an inconvenience more than getting stuck already is. It’s entirely plausible that we’ll see these ideas offered as Ford accessories in the future, given how handy they are for off-roaders and overlanders.