Safer and more manoeuvrable.
We all know that four-wheel steering isn't something necessarily new to the automotive world. The idea of the front wheels and rear wheels working together to provide stability, better cornering, and easier maneuvering has been something high-performance vehicles, high-end SUVs, and crossovers have been enjoying for many years now. If it's such a big deal for those types of cars, why can't trucks enjoy the benefits, too?
Gallery: Rear-Wheel Steering Put To The Test In Demo Truck
ZF, one of the worlds largest automotive component companies, has given The Fast Lane Truck an exclusive look at their newest prototype; a Ford F-150 equipped with ZF rear-wheel steering. Aside from making some of the best transmissions in performance cars, ZF has also been toying with the idea of trickling down their expertise in four-wheel steering applications down to the production level for pickup trucks. Granted, Quadrasteer from GM and Delphi was first out of the gate, but the additional hardware meant that the trucks had to be wider. Which kinda defeats the purpose. And they were expensive, too. The idea behind ZF's take on rear-wheel steering is that it's seamlessly integrated into the rear axle of the truck and it also happens to be a modular unit.
The video above shows the the kind of advantages a system like this can bring to trucks that carry heavy loads, such as providing safety at high speeds while mitigating trailer sway. The rest of the tests also demonstrate the tighter turning radius of the Ford F-150 thanks to the system, as well as much more control and precision when backing up with an attached trailer. As an added bonus, ZF also piggybacks an integrated brake controller that helps keep the truck straight and true despite the difference in grip levels between the two sides of tires. The advantages are all very clear, so here's to hoping it makes it into mainstream trucks very soon. All the tests in the video are very interesting and cool to watch, making it a perfect way to spend 15 minutes of your day.