Science

Rivian is working on a new version of their Tank Turn.

If Rivian abandoned the Tank Turn feature that allows the R1T to turn itself on, the brand has just filed a patent for a new version.

Remember, this was in 2019. That year, Rivian made headlines in the trade press with a video demonstrating a rather crazy feature. It was Tank Turn, a system that allowed the pickup truck to turn itself on.

A feature built into the R1T pickup that isn’t necessarily necessary and, above all, has proven difficult to use if you’re not a professional driver. Also, this maneuver is not guaranteed to work all the time. It is for these reasons that Rivian decided to drop it.

Is there a new version coming up?

Indeed, too many variables affected the proper functioning of the Tank Turn. The ground had to be straight, and each wheel had to grip it equally. In addition, the rotation speed was too high, which could be dangerous for less experienced drivers. In short, this feature ended up being too complex to implement and was therefore quickly buried. But finally, it may return in a new, easier-to-use version.

Anyway, that’s what the patent filed by Rivian on the USPTO website and posted on the Rivian forums says. This one dates from July 19 last year and describes a system similar to the tank turn, this time called “frontal dig mode”. Easier to use, it differs from the first version, in particular, in that it does not turn exactly in place, but has a slightly larger radius, as a forum user explained.

Simple control

If the description of this device may seem complicated, the principle is nevertheless quite simple. Indeed, the front wheels turn normally, as does the rear, located on the outside of the turn. The one inside rotates the other way, creating resistance that allows the machine to spin tight.

While this system looks promising, there is nothing to suggest that Rivian will actually use it. Many brands file patents simply to protect an invention without necessarily integrating it into production models. Perhaps this forward dig mode will be integrated into a future SUV that is currently being developed and is scheduled to be released next year?

Several other manufacturers have introduced similar features on their vehicles. We’re thinking in particular of the Hummer EV, which offers a crab mode that allows it to roll on its sides. Even Mercedes got into it with its EQG, an electric version of the G-Class equipped with a system similar to that of Rivian.

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