After Tank Turn, Rivian Now Files Patent For K-Turn - story fullscreen Fullscreen

After Tank Turn, Rivian Now Files Patent For K-Turn

This is another maneuverability function that’s similar to the Tank Turn, but seems to be a lot more practical and usable

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Rivian took the internet by storm back in the day when it announced a feature that would turn the truck on a dime. Such technology was possible because you have a motor on every wheel which controls them individually. Now, the automaker has milked this hardware some more to come up with something known as a K-turn. In its essence, it is pretty much the same as the Tank Turn, but it isn’t as aggressive and won’t dig a hole if you attempt it on a soft surface.

How Exactly Does The K-Turn Work?

After Tank Turn, Rivian Now Files Patent For K-Turn
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Rivian has filed a patent for the K-turn, and this is how the listing explains it:

“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.”

How Is The K-Turn Any Different From The Tank Turn?


For the uninitiated, Rivian launched the Tank Turn back in 2019 that essentially allows you to spin the truck in its place. This is possible because the Rivian vehicles come with four motors, one for every wheel, and they work individually. The motors on one side of the vehicle spin forward and in the opposite direction on the other side. The catch here, however, is that it can be used only on slick surfaces like dirt, gravel, and grass. Fun fact: Did you know Rivian isn’t the only one to offer Tank Turn? No, it isn’t Tesla either. It’s GMC with the Yukon!

The K-Turn, on the other hand, brings the steering input into the equation. Instead of counter-spinning the motors on each side, this feature inputs forward torque to the front wheels and backward torque to the rear wheels.

Here, the rear wheels can be kept static while the front wheels slip out of place and direct the vehicle in the direction of the steering input. Thanks to this, the vehicle’s orientation can be changed in minimal space.

How Will The K-Turn Be Activated?

After Tank Turn, Rivian Now Files Patent For K-Turn
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While the Tank Turn will most likely be activated at the press of a button, the K-Turn will need steering input. One of the figures filed with the patent shows that the steering wheel needs to be turned a little more beyond the steering lock point. This, perhaps, will be the cue for the front and rear motors to do what they are supposed to. And, the minute you turn your steering wheel back to the standard position, this will be disengaged.

We don’t think a lag will be felt when the K-Turn is engaged or disengaged since the motors will have sufficient time to work on it before the throttle and brake inputs are given by the driver. It will, however, be interesting to see how it works when the Level 5 autonomy kicks in.

Where Will The K-Turn Be Helpful?

After Tank Turn, Rivian Now Files Patent For K-Turn
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Since the K-Turn is not as aggressive as the Tank Turn, we think it will be usable on most surfaces. The Tank Turn, as mentioned earlier, can be activated only on slick surfaces. This could be helpful when you’re parking your truck or taking it out.

Rivian R1T Salient Features

The Rivian R1T Just Put the Tesla Cybertruck to Shame With Tank Turn Capability
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The R1T is a pretty cool truck, but here are some highlights of the truck:

  • Quad-motor setup
  • 0-60 mph in three seconds in top trim
  • Can rock crawl at 100-percent grade
  • Towing capacity up to 11,000 pounds
  • 300-mile range
  • 15.6-inch touchscreen system
  • An all-glass panoramic roof will be available
  • Four 110-Volt and three 12-Volt outlets
  • Driver+ driver assistance system will include 11 cameras, five radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and a 360-degree field vision
  • Tank Turn available
  • Three trims/packages on offer – Explore, Adventure, Launch
  • Starting price - $67,500

Final Thoughts

After Tank Turn, Rivian Now Files Patent For K-Turn
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If I understood this correctly, then the feature could work on a dual-motor setup, too, since the front and rear need to be turned in opposite directions, and not the sides like in Tank Turn. Also, it goes unsaid the K-Turn will function at crawl speeds only. We don’t see why a person will turn the steering wheel beyond its threshold at higher speeds. But, with that said, will the K-Turn come into play when drifting? (Yeah, I am imagining drifting a pickup truck!) Anyhoo, we’ll wait for Rivian to release a video to know how it functions in actuality.

Do you think such features will skew your decision towards the Rivian twins over their respective rivals, or are they sheer gimmicks to you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.

Source: WIPO

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Managing Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - siddhantdhimaan@gmail.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a managing editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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