Patents filed in the US indicate Toyota is working on four-wheel steering systems
These systems could allow cars to make 360˚ turns or to move from side to side
Electric cars are more likely to be equipped with such a feature
A patent issued by Toyota back in 2019 just received approval in September of 2021 and this means the company could now produce cars that can drive sideways or make 360˚ turns.
Four-wheel steering systems have been experimented with and used by several manufacturers over the years, but they are usually limited to the rear wheels turning a few degrees one way or another to improve manoeuvrability at slow speeds and stability on the open road.
Recently, GMC unveiled the crab-walk feature allowing its upcoming Hummer EV to move diagonally.
Now, approval has been given to a patent filed in the United States by Toyota that could allow it to develop systems that could make all four wheels able to make 90˚ turns, thus allowing for on-the-spot U-turns and sideways movement.
The ability to turn around without moving would obviously make parking and maneuvering in tight spaces much easier than with only two directional wheels.
In addition, the feature that lets the car move from side to side could be very useful for parking as well, eliminating the need for complex parallel parking procedures.
Another use for such systems is for off-road driving, thus an SUV or a truck could benefit from it as well.
Since electric motors can be mounted directly on the wheels of a vehicle, EVs are a lot more suitable for this purpose than internal combustion engines, which would require lots of specially engineered parts to transmit drive from a fixed engine to very mobile wheels.
This patent also includes a provision about a system that could alert other drivers and pedestrians when the car is making a tight turn or when it is moving sideways, although complete details are not known yet.
Rumours say that future EVs introduced by Toyota in the coming year or two could use a variation of these systems.