GM has filed a patent application for a new hoist system that mounts to a vehicle’s roof rails. The new GM patent application has been assigned patent application number US 11,872923 B1 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and was published on January 16th, 2024. The patent application was originally filed on August 16th, 2022, and lists two Michigan-based engineers as the inventors, including Patrick Minjeur and Owen Rauch.
The patent application describes a hoist system that includes a support rail mounted to the roof of a vehicle, plus a winch arm that is mounted directly to the support rail. This winch arm can be stored in a recess inside the support rail, or swing out into a secondary position away from the support rail. The system also includes a winch motor that is mounted to the support rail, with a cable spool and a winch cable. A hoist attachment extends from the end of the winch arm, and appears to be capable of lifting objects up and down.
As the patent states, some items are too heavy or cumbersome to be lifted by an individual, which can prove to be particularly problematic when loading into and out of something like a pickup truck bed. Vans sometimes include a lift system to aid in loading and loading, such as with a lift gate that lifts items into and out of the cargo area. However, lift gates tend to be large and heavy, not to mention highly cumbersome to deploy.
Additionally, there are other vehicles out there that may be used primarily for moving large, heavy objects – such as SUVs. This system enables an SUV with a roof rail system to potentially lift heavy and cumbersome objects into and out of a cargo area.
In related news, GM recently filed a patent for foldable pickup truck bed ramps that provide a high degree of weight-bearing capacity without the need for a thicker, more-robust structural profile.