A new Ford suspension patent has turned up that was filed in November of 2015, well before anyone had an inkling of a return for the Ford Bronco. The patent was issued last summer and has just now been spied. The patent outlines a high-tech suspension system that has a terrain-response system along with a highly complicated active suspension system. How complicated, you ask?
The suspension system can adjust a mixture of hardware and software to tweak the vehicle by taking into account traffic, weather, terrain, and what kind of music you are listening to. All those factors combine to determine the optimal ride height from the trick suspension system. While nowhere in the patent does the fancy suspension system say it’s specifically for the 2021 Ford Bronco, we can’t imagine any other vehicle receiving such an elaborate suspension system, other than perhaps the F-150 Raptor.
The smart suspension system works on the fly and can do its thing automatically, or the driver can adjust the suspension directly through several driver-selectable modes. Interestingly, Ford recently filed for a trademark on something called “G.O.A.T. Modes” that could well be the tradename for the suspension system this patent is talking about.
Ford has, in recent models of its SUVs and off-road vehicles, integrated a dial selector that allows the driver to choose modes for surfaces like sand, asphalt, and snow. With the new Ford suspension patent, it sounds as if in addition to adjusting shocks and traction control, the vehicle could automatically adjust the right height to level best suited to the terrain the vehicle is tackling. One of the coolest features mentioned in the patent is an off-road specific mode where the vehicle would be able to lower the nose when it’s climbing a steep grade so the driver can see what’s in front of them.
Another interesting tidbit in the patent comes in the form of some interesting names for driving modes, including Entertainment Mode, Music Mode, and Daredevil Mode. In Music Mode, the ride height the vehicle fluctuates to match the music coming out of the speakers. Daredevil Mode, according to the patent, would allow the driver to choose the vehicle suspension height that could be mapped to a target that would allow the vehicle to be driven on two or three wheels without overturning.
That’s not for some Dukes of Hazard style action, anyone who’s off-roaded knows that there are many times where vehicle traversing particularly rough terrain may have only two tires contacting the ground at any particular moment. Some of the modes mentioned in the patent sound as if they could potentially be for sports cars, perhaps the system could turn up in a Mustang in the future. These modes include Expert Driver meant for aggressive on-road driving and Fun-to-Drive mode that will set the suspension up for aggressive driving. There’s also a setting that will vibrate the suspension to wake or warn a driver who’s not paying attention. If the system is for the Bronco, we’d bet it will be costly and is offered on high-end versions only with a basic suspension for entry-level models.