The young electric startup has prepared another useful option for its future electric cars R1T and R1S in addition to the amazing Tank Turn feature. With it, the car is able to perform a “tank turn”: turn in place 360 degrees without moving forward or backward.
Rivian has now patented the K-Turn mode. This is a more advanced version of Tank Turn: the new Driving Assistance system improves the maneuverability of the R1T electric pickup and the R1S SUV on soft surfaces. With Tank Turn, the wheels will crash into the ground, ultimately driving the wheels of the car deeper and deeper, rather than turning it.
This is where the K-turn mode comes in handy, as it is designed to increase maneuverability by allowing reduced radius turns without sagging wheels into the ground. According to the patent application and the accompanying images and diagrams on the PatentScope, the K turn mode works similarly to the Tank Turn, but there are some key differences.
“When operating in K-turn mode, torque is applied to the front wheels of the vehicle. In addition, reverse torque is transmitted to the rear wheels of the vehicle. They remain mostly in static contact with the ground, while the front wheels slide on the ground, ”says the explanatory note to the patent.
Basically, the rear wheels (or just one of them) can remain stationary in K-turn mode, or locked, “anchoring” the rear of the EV so that the torque from the front wheels can turn it.
This can be useful not only off-road, but also in hard-to-reach places, for example, when maneuvering in the city.
Rivian will likely continue to develop this technology for electric vehicles with various engine configurations. Obviously, the K-turn is not yet ready for production EVs, so Rivian’s first EVs, due to hit buyers this month, won’t have it. This omission will be fixed in the future with an over the air update.