Vehicle Tie-Down Patent Awarded To Hendrick Dynamics

Technology Enables COTS Vehicles To Meet U.S. Military Standards

Automotive vehicles are often transported from one location to another via truck, ship or aircraft, but regardless of the mode of transportation, a common requirement is that the vehicle must be carefully secured against movement during shipment. For that purpose, vehicles are typically equipped with securement locations, commonly referred to as “tie-downs”, usually on a frame structure of the vehicle, to which restraint devices may be attached and in turn secured to a structural member of the transport vehicle, such as a floor surface.

As automotive safety technology has advanced in recent years, automotive engineers have learned that increased rigidity and strength of vehicle frame and body components does not necessarily promote or insure the safety of vehicle passengers and occupants, but to the contrary can be harmful to the extent that forces exerted on a vehicle in a crash or other accident can be transmitted unabated directly to occupants by a rigid vehicle structure. Accordingly, it has become commonplace for vehicle designs to include frame and body components designed to deform under forces generated in an accident, usually referred to as “crumple zones,” intended to absorb such forces and thereby mitigate the forces imposed on vehicle occupants. However, such deformation or crumple zones present potential issues in transporting vehicles as tie-down systems can potentially impose deformation to the frame or body components if the tie-down forces are too great.

The transportation of military vehicles via military aircraft presents even greater concerns in avoiding potential frame damage to the vehicles via tie-down systems as military specifications, e.g., U.S. Department of Defense Specifications MIL-STD-209 and MIL-STD 814, call for tie-down systems to withstand substantial forces, e.g., acceleration, deceleration, and centrifugal forces, that may occur during flight. Military vehicles are typically manufactured with reinforced structural frames that do not include crumple or deformation zones, and therefore are less subject to potential damage under such high tie-down forces. Various vehicles could offer advantages if adapted for military use, but would almost certainly fail to meet the aforementioned tie-down standards.

Accordingly, a need exists for an improved system for tie-down of vehicles during transport from one location to another, by which greater securement tie-down forces could be applied without damaging frame crumple zones in vehicles. In turn, such an improved tie-down system could greatly expand the possibilities for military adaptation of vehicles not originally built for military purposes.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
System for securing a vehicle during transport against movement under forces from multiple directions 
US 8714592 B1

International Patents Pending