Suspension is the most vital part of your car that is responsible for smoothing out the ride and keeping it in control. More specifically, the suspension system’s job is to maximize the friction between the tires and the road to offer optimum steering ability and good handling. Moreover, it offers comfort for the driver to limit the impact of harsh conditions of the road to the car as well as the passengers riding inside. A car’s suspension system must work together to absorb the energy created by holes and bumps of the road. Thus, the demand for an advanced automotive suspension system has increased drastically in the last couple of years.
Rapid technological advancements and rise in demand for luxury and comfort have boosted the growth of the automotive suspension market. In fact, according to a research firm, Allied Market Research, the global automotive suspension market is projected to garner $284 billion by 2022, registering a CAGR of 4.9% during the period from 2016 to 2022.
The most famous and well-familiar suspension system is regarded as the classic combination of a spring and a shock. However, with the advent of connected cars and novel driver assistance system, there is a new trend emerging in the automotive suspension market: air or pneumatic suspension.
Mercedes-Benz, the German automobile manufacturer, recently launched a novel automobile, GLE, that features the world’s first 48V active suspension system: E-ACTIVE BODY CONTROL. The car flaunts its driver assistance system with newly developed AIRMATIC air suspension to provide comfortable ride and agility with a novel function of free-driving mode. As per the company, GLE is the only system in the market that features spring and damping forces that can be independently controlled at every wheel. The free-driving mode completely goes hand in hand with the suspension system, as the suspension level gets automatically adjusted several times according to ground pressure of tires.
The automobile has a 48V operating voltage and is available as optional equipment for engine variants with six and more cylinders. Moreover, its hydropneumatic suspension generates dynamic forces that override the air suspension forces and damper the vehicle body while driving on uneven roads or during lateral and linear acceleration.
General Motors (GM) first came up with the magnetic damper technology and so far, every automotive company is trying to incorporate it to improve the car’s suspension performance. The magnetic ride control (MRC or MagneRide) technology adapts and adjusts the shock absorbers of an automobile in real-time in response to change in terrain to deliver optimum shock damping for the smooth driving experience. According to GM, the major benefits of the MRC are high precision, extremely fast response, low-velocity damping control, and ability to “draw” the force-velocity curve. The technology uses electronically-controlled shock absorbers that are fluid infused with magnetized particles, which respond to changing driving conditions and speed in real-time. If such absorbers get combined with the car’s sensors, MRC becomes so accurate that it responds to the terrain every five milliseconds, which enables the car to react to each bump and corner effectively. This means the MRC-incorporated car offers automatically shock absorption about ten times faster than a blink of an eye.
Adaptive suspension technology
Bose, the company that mainly deals with designing audio equipment, has introduced a novel suspension technology that could revolutionize traditional and current suspension systems in automotive. The company has developed its own electromagnetically controlled adaptive suspension system that offers an alternative to traditional spring-and-shock absorbers. Similar to modern adaptive suspension systems, the technology incorporates a combination of smart engineering and software to offer a smooth driving experience. It uses a linear electromagnetic motor (LEM) at every corner of the vehicles, instead of the traditional shock-and-spring setup. The system’s amplifiers then pulse electricity to the motors that also regenerate power from compression of the strut. The best benefit of the LEM system is that the oscillation range is no longer limited by inertia experienced by the traditional fluid-filled dampers.
Active curve tilting
Unlike motorcyclists, car drivers cannot lean into a corner while turning. However, technological advancements have enabled cars to do that. The Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG uses lateral-acceleration sensor paired to the forward-looking camera that enables the body of the car to tilt toward the apex using air suspension. The technology has introduced not to improve performance but to offer the comfort of the passengers by lowering the lateral loads at a given speed. In layman’s terms, if the road has sharp corners, the automobile will adjust itself to offer you comfort while driving.
It is no secret that a smooth driving is directly proportional to the working condition of its suspension systems. The rapid development in smart sensors and technological advancements have enabled develop novel suspension setups that not only complement the driving experience but also prolong the life of the vehicle.