The folks at RivianOwnersForum.com have uncovered an interesting new patent application for a system that will allow a Rivian electric truck to perform a K-Turn with a tighter turning radius.
So what problem, exactly, is Rivian trying to solve here and does it have any impact for off-roaders? If we understand things correctly (not always a given), the idea is to make it easier for vehicles to make tight turns. And if you’ve ever tried to steer your way through a rock crawling section or even a switchback downhill trail, you can appreciate being able to make tighter turns without worrying about your wheels digging into the ground.
You can check out the application for yourself here, but, but here is the important stuff: “The K-turn mode is engaged in response to determining that an amount that at least one of the front wheels of the vehicle is turned exceeds a turn threshold. While operating in the K-turn mode, forward torque is provided to the front wheels of the vehicle. Further, backward torque is provided to the rear wheels of the vehicle. Yet further, the rear wheels of the vehicle remain substantially in static contact with a ground while the front wheels slip in relation to the ground.”
Some of the diagrams seem to show when in K-Turn mode, you can turn harder than the standard turning threshold would allow. There is plenty more info in the patent application, so feel free to pick your way through it if you like.
With any luck, it won’t be too long before Rivian trucks and SUVs will incorporate K-Turn mode. It will be even better if the other manufacturers come up with a similar solution.