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Off-Road Offerings: Ford files patents for sand ladder running boards, ‘tank turn’ feature

Toronto, Ontario — The mad scientists in Ford’s engineering division have been busy churning out all sorts of innovative mobility concepts over the past several months, with the latest being a pair of patents yet again geared toward off-road enthusiasts.

One of the patents, titled “Integrated Sand Ladders,” conceives of detachable running boards designed to double as off-road recovery tools. Off-roaders tend to get stuck in some pretty precarious positions, and these dual-purpose running boards are intended simply to get the driver un-stuck.

The designs show the removed running boards being deployed from both the front and rear of the vehicle’s drive wheels.

The second design describes an additional gear that would allow a vehicle to rotate in place; what is called a  “tank turn.”

In action, the tire on the driver’s front would rotate forward while the tire on the passenger’s rear would rotate backwards, allowing the vehicle to pivot within a very small space. The design is posited as an additional measure to get large vehicles out of spaces.

These new patents follow a recent trend with Ford, as the automaker came out earlier in April with designs for an omnidirectional “crabwalk” feature, similar to that seen on the GMC Hummer EV.

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