High end sports cars and supercars have always acted as the test beds for the latest and greatest trends of automotive technology. As of late one piece of automotive tech that has become popular in the world of high speed metal is four wheel steering. Cars like the Ferrari 812 Superfast, the Lexus LC 500 and the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ all use this trick system to increase stability at speed, as well as maneuverability when things slow down. Four wheel steer may no longer be a sporty car exclusive however, as according to a new patent filing from Ford suggests the brand is looking to incorporate a four-wheel steering system in future iterations of the F-Series Super Duty trucks.
The patent filing marks the first time that an American truck manufacturer has looked into utilizing a four wheel steering system since General Motors discontinued the Quadrasteer system in 2005 after only four years of production. Unlike the GM system which was hydraulic, the new Ford patent details an electronic steering system mounted on the rear differential cover. This steering system controls the degree at which the rear wheels can turn by manipulating an additional set of tie rods and transfer links. In order to incorporate four wheel steering on a live axle vehicle without causing packaging and contact patch issues, Ford Motor Company has utilized an Ackermann steering geometry layout. This geometry allows the rear wheels to turn simultaneously during steering and turning without having any scrub issues caused by the axle.
While a patent filing like this doesn’t guarantee that we will see this technology on the F-Series Super Duty, this particular bit of hardware seems pretty likely. In 2017, German engineering firm and auto supplier ZF showed a prototype F-150 with a four wheel steering system quite similar to the one seen in the patent filing. ZF is the company behind many of the four wheel steering systems that are found on sports cars, though it is unknown at this time if the system patented by Ford is supplied by ZF.
People who use their Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks to tow large trailers or heavy equipment will almost certainly like the idea of the Blue Oval adding all wheel steering to the build sheet. As trucks continue to grow in size and heft, having a system that virtually shortens the wheelbase and masks weight should make them better to drive around the shopping mall as well.