It seems like just yesterday that Rivian teased its “tank turn” mode, effectively capturing the interest of automotive enthusiasts everywhere with a video that followed a shiny new R1T pickup as it drove in, spun in place, then drove off. The tank turn concept was simple, but undeniably impressive, as the feature would allow a vehicle to turn on what is essentially a zero radius, similar to a tank.
Now, based on recent patents filed by the automaker, it looks like Rivian might be developing a similar mode, called ‘Front Dig Mode’. Of course, we don’t have any official details or confirmations yet, but online forums are already surmising that this new patent could mean a more user-friendly way for EV drivers to make tight turns is on the way.
Notably, Rivian has had to delay (and essentially abandon) the development of the previously teased tank turn feature, due to its difficulty. Even still, several competitor automakers have since patented their own versions of tank turn, including Toyota, GMC, and Ford. If this patent is any indication, Rivian might have simply gone back to the drawing board to develop a feature capable of a tight turn radius to match upcoming competitors with four-wheel steering.
The patent describes the new mode in great detail. “The front dig mode is engaged in response to determining that speed of the vehicle is below a speed threshold and determining that the amount that at least one of the front wheels of the vehicle is turned exceeds a turn threshold,” the patent reads. “While operating in the front dig mode, forward torque is provided to the front wheels of the vehicle. Further, resistance is applied to forward rotation of the inner back wheel of the vehicle. Yet further, forward torque is provided to the outer back wheel of the vehicle.” In simpler terms, the Rivian vehicle would be able to utilize its own torque to power different wheels and efficiently turn the EV in a tight, circular motion.
As it’s just a patent for now, we don’t yet know if this feature will actually be implemented into its vehicles, but this could prove to be an enticing addition to Rivian’s offering in the future.