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Electromagnetic Automobile Suspension Demonstrated

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the now-about-that-steel-plate-in-your-head dept.

Transportation 274

cylonlover writes "Last December at the Future of Electric Vehicles conference in San Jose, a representative from The Netherlands' Eindhoven University of Technology presented research that his institution had been doing into a novel type of electromagnetic vehicle suspension. Now that a test car equipped with the suspension is about to appear at the AutoRAI exhibition in Amsterdam, the university has released some more details about the technology. For starters, it is not only electromagnetic but also active, meaning that it doesn't just mechanically respond to bumps in the road, but is controlled by an onboard computer. It is claimed to improve the overall ride quality of cars by 60 percent." That seems an awfully exact figure — I'm not sure any two people would ever agree even about the exact same car's "overall ride quality."

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274 comments

Supercars (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about 3 years ago | (#35730958)

Don't we already have technology like this in many supercars or GTs? Ferrari 599 comes to mind.

Re:Supercars (3, Informative)

Tx (96709) | about 3 years ago | (#35731072)

Even cars such as my VW Scirocco GT have similar systems (VW calls it Adaptive Chassis Control [volkswagen.co.uk]), it's not the preserve of supercars anymore. However according to the article, existing systems use hydraulic actuators, this system is apparently electromagnetic only, reacts faster and uses less power. Yes, I know, it's almost cheating to RTFA.

Re:Supercars (1)

flyneye (84093) | about 3 years ago | (#35731392)

Either way, it's just more bullshit to break down.
More and new features= more opportunities to break down and high cost of not yet heavily mass produced parts.
Simplify the car and they will come...

Re:Supercars (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | about 3 years ago | (#35731494)

More features to break down? Guess what... that ship has already sailed. "simple mechanicals" hasn't been a common feature in the automotive marketplace for nearly 3 decades.

Honestly I see this playing out just like any other automotive technology. A few cars will use it, it will be clumsy and unreliable, the manufacturers will learn from from their mistakes and improve on it year after year making it more robust. Within a decade or two it becomes the superior choice to the old system in nearly every aspect, at which point nearly every car on the market uses it, and no one but a small group of older gear-heads will care.

Re:Supercars (5, Insightful)

sarhjinian (94086) | about 3 years ago | (#35731512)

Not true. As cars have gotten more complex, they've also gotten more reliable because electronics allow greater precision and control. Problems per mile has been going down for the entire industry, and the most complex cars (hybrids) are among the most reliable.

Remember carburetors? Mechanical throttle cables? Tune-ups every 3K? Automotive electronics before body computers?

Re:Supercars (2)

tom17 (659054) | about 3 years ago | (#35731658)

Mechanical throttle cables?

Yeah, I remember them. When you tap the accelerator, the engine revs in time, with no delay due to slow actuators on the low-mid range end of the market. Our Toyota Matrix pisses me off with this delay. How someone designed this and deemed it acceptable, I do not know.

Friends tell me that their cars (higher end cars) do not have a delay, but without trying it for myself, I can only give them the benefit of the doubt. Give me a throttle cable ANY DAY.

Oh and on topic. Didn't Bose (yes, the speaker people) already do this before?

Tom...

Re:Supercars (1)

name_already_taken (540581) | about 3 years ago | (#35731732)

Actually the electronic throttles are more reliable than cables. Cables have been known to snap, or have the ends come off (which is basically the same thing.)

As to responsiveness, you probably should have bought a car designed for that, rather than the automotive equivalent of a washing machine. My car has an electronic throttle, and I'm sometimes surprised how responsive it is, but it's not a boring transportation appliance like a Toyota. Toyotas are very reliable, but also reliably boring.

The separation of the control mechanism from the actual throttle valve also allows the carmaker to engineer the feel of the pedal, and do smart things like close the throttle for traction control and blip the throttle open slightly for downshifts. Brake override so that the throttle won't open if you're pressing on the brake pedal (or have the parking brake engaged) is possible too. Neither of those things can be done with a mechanical linkage or cable - the engine controls would have been limited to tricks like reducing power by retarding the ignition timing.

The Bose system was electrohydraulic. Pretty much all of the active suspensions systems have been electrohydraulic.

Re:Supercars (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 years ago | (#35731738)

Oh and on topic. Didn't Bose (yes, the speaker people) already do this before?

Tom...

yes they did [bose.com] Though why anyone would want anything made by that overpriced junk company in their car is beyond me.

Re:Supercars (1)

sarhjinian (94086) | about 3 years ago | (#35732002)

That delay happens to minimize emissions and maximize fuel economy; my Honda does the same thing. On a car that isn't designed to be an appliance, it doesn't work that way, and some cars allow you to tune throttle response for economy, normal, performance or batshit-crazy driving. Can't do that with a cable.

Throttle cables snap, snag, stick and, if they fail, have no multi-redundant backup, Sudden unintended acceleration (or no acceleration at all) was quite common in the era of mechanical throttle linkages. With electronic throttles you have at least two, sometimes more, indepedent signals that are sanity-checked against each other. If they fault, the computer knows why and how and will put the car in limp mode, whereas a cable will just go and let the engine race. We've seen what happens.

Face it, computers have made cars more reliable, better running, faster and more efficient. Knee-jerk Luddism is just that.

Re:Supercars (4, Informative)

subreality (157447) | about 3 years ago | (#35731428)

Negative. This is not that system. There are a number of cars that let you adjust the shock absorbers on the fly: at the entry level, this involves servos adjusting the shock valving; at the high end (such as the F599) they use electromagnets to adjust the viscosity of the fluid in the shocks, which can be done much faster.

This system is altogether different: there is no shock absorber. They have a linear motor in its place. This gives advanced capabilities that adjustable shocks cannot.

For instance, say you turn hard left. The car wants to lean right. Soft springs are good for comfort, but allow the car to tilt more. This system lets you use soft springs, and then actively counter the body roll by pushing on one side and pulling on the other. The net result is you have the best of both worlds: the smooth ride of a luxury car's soft springs combined with the fast response and stiff anti-roll characteristics of a sports car.

You need a very strong linear actuator to make a meaningful improvement, but those are expensive and require a hefty electrical system to power them, further increasing the price. Bose did some fantastic demos of these some years back, but I don't think they managed to get any manufacturers interested, probably due to cost. Hopefully these guys have improved in that regard.

Re:Supercars (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 3 years ago | (#35731464)

The Citroen Xantia Activa used a pair of hydraulic rams to counteract roll forces, as well as the four hydraulic rams that comprise the normal suspension. Apparently they maintain grip to 0.98G lateral force - they certainly can be flung round tight corners much faster than anything with those obsolete old sofa springs at the corners.

Re:Supercars (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 years ago | (#35731478)

I saw an electromagnetic suspension demo'd on the Discovery Channel before many many years ago. It was computer controlled and polled the system thousands of timers per second to look for crests or troughs.

How it faired over a pothole was quite cool as the car stayed level and barely moved, but what really got me in the demo was how it handled a curb. The driver went about 25mph strait into a curb and as the wheels hit the curb, the shocks sensed it and literally pulled the wheels up into the wheel wells and the car "floated" up-and-over the curb. It was awesome. Not only that, but it also reacted to sharp turns and the car stayed nearly perfectly level no matter how you tried to turn it.

They claimed about 50% of the power required to operate all four shocks/struts came from power regeneration from riding over bumps. They also claimed it was something like $5000 to install into a regular size car.

What ever happened to it?.. No clue. They had a working demo on TV and it seemed flawless, but who know about reliability or if it needed a huge load on the alternator or something.

Re:Supercars (1)

chudnall (514856) | about 3 years ago | (#35731826)

I would pay an extra 5k to be able to basically ignore the speedbumps they put up incessantly around here.

already have that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35730964)

from at least 1996, the corvette has had this option.
i believe the option is called "f51".

Makes me think of a hovercraft (2)

cboslin (1532787) | about 3 years ago | (#35730972)

The first thought that came to my mind when reading this post were hovercraft over water and maglev trains.... No give me a power source that has nothing to do with fossil fuels and you might have a winner!

Re:Makes me think of a hovercraft (2)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | about 3 years ago | (#35731578)

I can't believe the number of people that think the only by-product of fossil fuel is gasoline. Even the roads you would drive your no-fossil-fuel vehicle on are made out of by-products of fossil fuel. The resin-molded arm-rests. The insulation around every wire, the rear-view mirror enclosure. The window tint. The lubricating oil. The foam in the seat. A vehicle that has "nothing to do with fossil fuels" would not be a winner.

Bose (4, Informative)

lcampagn (842601) | about 3 years ago | (#35730978)

I'm pretty sure Bose did this at least 4 years ago: http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/automotive/bose_suspension/index.jsp [bose.com]

Hazarding a guess... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35730982)

That seems an awfully exact figure — I'm not sure any two people would ever agree even about the exact same car's "overall ride quality."

Without reading the article I am willing to hazard a guess that the 'overall ride quality' has been defined as 'mean acceleration' or 'maximum acceleration' as experienced by the driver. Then this figure suddenly makes sense...

Re:Hazarding a guess... (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about 3 years ago | (#35731084)

Yes, 61.73% would be an "awfully exact" figure, 60% not so much.

Re:Hazarding a guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731326)

61.73%... Sounds like a Tuvok estimate.

Re:Hazarding a guess... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 years ago | (#35731500)

60% is also an awfully believable figure. Usually press releases claim 1,000% or 10,000% improvements.

Re:Hazarding a guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731728)

Or, you could RTFA:

"The 60 percent ride improvement figure was obtained when a single wheel equipped with the system was mounted on a laboratory testbed that simulates road conditions. "

I guess you've never heard the stereotype (4, Funny)

DataDiddler (1994180) | about 3 years ago | (#35730986)

That seems an awfully exact figure — I'm not sure any two people would ever agree even about the exact same car's "overall ride quality."

Dutch people have the rough analogue to "perfect pitch" for ride quality. I'm guessing they got to about three significant figures in the study but rounded it off to sound a bit more plausible to the rest of the world. No serious studies have to be done on why exactly Dutch people have this ability, but the current predominant theory among many is that it has something to do with putting mayonnaise on french fries.

Re:I guess you've never heard the stereotype (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#35731042)

What? Who wouldn't put mayonnaise on french fries?

(assuming they ate french fries, which I no longer do)

Re:I guess you've never heard the stereotype (0)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | about 3 years ago | (#35731132)

Freedom Fries then?

Re:I guess you've never heard the stereotype (0)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 3 years ago | (#35731518)

Mayonnaise isn't fat enough for those who prefer freedom fries over french fries.

Re:I guess you've never heard the stereotype (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731432)

People who enjoy french fries.

Re:I guess you've never heard the stereotype (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731420)

French fries are Belgian!

Finally (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about 3 years ago | (#35730992)

a representative from The Netherlands' Eindhoven University of Technology presented research that his institution had been doing into a novel type of electromagnetic vehicle suspension.

Flying cars :)

Err : "improve the overall RIDE QUALITY by 60% WTF (0)

AwaxSlashdot (600672) | about 3 years ago | (#35731000)

First, "improve the overall ride quality of cars by 60 percent". How do you MEASURE and QUANTIFY "ride quality" ?

Second, "if the batteries should fail, the system will still work as a purely mechanical suspension". FAIL. A mechanical suspension is BOTH a spring AND a damper. If the electromagnetic damper fails, you're headed for trouble.

Re:Err : "improve the overall RIDE QUALITY by 60% (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#35731058)

It's pretty simple, you'd define ride quality by how smooth a passenger's travel is. Harsher accelerations would score worse. I wonder what they're comparing it to though, since there obviously can be a vast difference in ride quality in even cars with the same type of suspension, depending on how they're set up.

Re:Err : "improve the overall RIDE QUALITY by 60% (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 3 years ago | (#35731066)

Boy, it sure is lucky for them you're around! I shudder to think how many resources might have been wasted putting this folly into production, had you not been here with all the facts and numbers to prove -- oh, wait...

Re:Err : "improve the overall RIDE QUALITY by 60% (1)

pstils (928424) | about 3 years ago | (#35731102)

I'm just going to use my imagination to answer that: couldn't you just drive it on a "uniform-bumpy" road at 30mph, and put an accelerometer in the car, weighted down on the driver's seat with 11stone of sand in a bag. Average the reading. Change the suspension. Do the same again... You can't directly measure something like ride quality, since there my be subjective factors - some people might like to "feel the road", others may like to drift along in ghostly serenity, but there are certainly proxies, like the one I've just imaginated for you.

Re:Err : "improve the overall RIDE QUALITY by 60% (1)

Tim C (15259) | about 3 years ago | (#35731134)

"Acceleration experienced by people in the vehicle for a given test drive" would seem to be an adequate measure of the quality of a ride - more bumps, more accelerations, worse ride.

Re: If the battery fails (1)

Mouldy (1322581) | about 3 years ago | (#35731162)

Granted, I didn't rtfa. But I would imagine that the car's alternator would be able to keep the suspension going even if the battery did fail. Plus, if your battery is that knackered, you probably won't be able to start the car at all.

Vertical acceleration (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 3 years ago | (#35731170)

Ride quality = less vertical or sideways acceleration
Just put a device in the chair, where your bottom would normally be, and measure sudden accelerations (shocks). It's quite easy to do.

Re:Vertical acceleration (1)

chaodyn (1313729) | about 3 years ago | (#35731712)

For military vehicles, it's measured in Watts - or absorbed power at the driver station (after passing the acceleration through a filter representing a human). So basically short duration accelerations are tolerable, but many of these drive up the absorbed power. Using absorbed power as a metric, you can then measure the impact of the suspension quantitatively as done here.

Re:Err : "improve the overall RIDE QUALITY by 60% (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 years ago | (#35731214)

Second, "if the batteries should fail, the system will still work as a purely mechanical suspension". FAIL. A mechanical suspension is BOTH a spring AND a damper. If the electromagnetic damper fails, you're headed for trouble.

You left out the context, asshole:

The spring â" appropriately enough â" provides springing action, while the magnets provide passive shock absorption. If the batteries should fail, the system will still work as a purely mechanical suspension.

The article is stupid, and the person who wrote it is stupid, because shocks don't provide shock absorption, but shock damping, which is what the magnets do when the system is not energized. The only thing you lose is the active part of the suspension, which modifies the damping statically provided by the permanent magnets to reduce or increase the damping force. Therefore, you are also stupid.

Re:Err : "improve the overall RIDE QUALITY by 60% (1)

Zencyde (850968) | about 3 years ago | (#35731240)

Read the article. It's mentioned that there's a proper magnet along with the spring. Also, "ride quality" seems to be, in this case, a measure of the force transfer between the road and the passenger. The less the passenger experiences, the better the "ride quality".

Re:Err : "improve the overall RIDE QUALITY by 60% (1)

neokushan (932374) | about 3 years ago | (#35731300)

In the future, all cars will likely be electric, so if the batteries fail, the suspension will probably be the least of your worries.

Re:Err : "improve the overall RIDE QUALITY by 60% (5, Informative)

williegeorgie (710224) | about 3 years ago | (#35731630)

Actually us pavement engineer types do this all the time. Basically the input to the function is the profile of the pavement measured by a pavement profilometer which essentially captures pavement elevation about every 6 in or so. (http://www.dynatest.com/functional-rsp.php) Then this profile is fed through an algorithm that models the response of a hypothetical "quarter car" (basically a spring above a tire to simulate the amount of movement experienced by something on the axle). This measurement is called the International Roughness Index and it has been correlated to "Ride Quality" perceived by highway users. It is not a perfect measurement but it is used quite frequently to help decide pavement projects. if you are more interested.... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Roughness_Index [wikipedia.org] http://www.umtri.umich.edu/content/LittleBook98R.pdf [umich.edu] So for this thing they would need some other model to calculate the "movement" induced by road profile on the vehicle much like IRI. Once you have that you could correlate it to Ride Quality, have they done that? That is the question...

Shocking.. (1)

TehClaws (1785656) | about 3 years ago | (#35731030)

..development indeed!

Re:Shocking.. (1)

i_b_don (1049110) | about 3 years ago | (#35731108)

If you're shocked by this then you're in for a bumpy ride!

d

Re:Shocking.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731200)

You should suspend your disbelief.

Ride quality (0)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | about 3 years ago | (#35731038)

How did they come up with metrics for something like "ride quality". And how did they get it so precise. I hope they just made it up...

Re:Ride quality (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | about 3 years ago | (#35731636)

60% sounds precise? It sounds very imprecise to me. It's a single digit of precision on a scale from 0 to 100, and even then I wouldn't be surprised if their margin of error was as much as 10% in either direction.

Re:Ride quality (1)

wookaru (1521381) | about 3 years ago | (#35732080)

From TFA:

The 60 percent ride improvement figure was obtained when a single wheel equipped with the system was mounted on a laboratory testbed that simulates road conditions.

That's not exactly a complete answer, but I would guess the mounted an accelerometer or some other device to measure vibrations and compared that number to a passive system run over the same course. But I am making a bit of a leap there...

Fine for gas or diesel, (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 3 years ago | (#35731098)

but if I had a hybrid/electric car I'm pretty sure I would rather that electricity go to turning the wheels, not keeping my chassis away from them.

Re:Fine for gas or diesel, (2)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about 3 years ago | (#35731158)

That's what the spring is for. An electromagnetic "shock absorber" dampens oscillations by collecting the energy as electricity. It is essentially a linear motor run as a generator.

Re:Fine for gas or diesel, (4, Informative)

pthisis (27352) | about 3 years ago | (#35731334)

but if I had a hybrid/electric car I'm pretty sure I would rather that electricity go to turning the wheels, not keeping my chassis away from them.

According to TFA, the system actually draws less power than hydraulic shock systems:
With a peak consumption of 500 watts, the suspension uses about a quarter of the power of hydraulic systems. It also stretches its battery life by using road vibrations to generate electricity. The designers believe that with refinements, the suspension's energy-efficiency could be improved even further.

Re:Fine for gas or diesel, (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 3 years ago | (#35731506)

They are probably talking about pressurised hydraulic systems. You'd be surprised how much the coffee mug sized hydraulic pump on a hydropneumatic Citroen takes to run - possibly as much as 2hp with a heavy demand on the hydraulics. That said, most of the demand is from the power steering; the brakes use about a tablespoon of fluid every time you press the pedal and once the car is up to normal ride height it only takes a little trickle of fluid to keep it there (usually it'll take two hours for it to settle back to the ground).

The cost-reduced version of the Citroen hydraulics used on Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars uses a slightly different design of pump, but they have a bit more power to drive it...

Re:Fine for gas or diesel, (1)

necro81 (917438) | about 3 years ago | (#35731600)

While electrically active suspensions use power, the best-designed ones can be regenerative: when the wheel gets pushed upwards by a bump in the road, electrical power can be extracted from that stroke. Another consideration is the overall efficiency of the vehicle: keeping the wheels in better contact with the ground and the car at a constant elevation over the road leads to increased overall efficiency. In any car, vibration through the wheels and noise is wasted power. Even considering the power involved to run the suspension, smoothing the ride could act as a net gain.

Re:Fine for gas or diesel, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731948)

From the TSA it appears that these are self contained systems (for the most part). The shocks have batteries and

"... If the batteries should fail, the system will still work as a purely mechanical suspension.

With a peak consumption of 500 watts, the suspension uses about a quarter of the power of hydraulic systems. It also stretches its battery life by using road vibrations to generate electricity."

That makes it look like it does not draw electrical power from the car's electrical system.

Re:Fine for gas or diesel, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35732118)

This would still hurt your gas millage no matter the fuel. The electricity isn't free, it still has to get generated by the motor.

Old Muffler collector (1)

kj_in_ottawa (838840) | about 3 years ago | (#35731100)

I wonder what the impact on ride quality would be when you pick up a large piece of metallic debris, like say an exhaust system that rusted off.

This wouldn't happen often, but would be interesting when it did.

Kenny

Re:Old Muffler collector (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731216)

uh...

no cars needed after big.shutdown.pr.gov (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731130)

it says on yahoo.news that after the big f you kicks in, the only business endeavors uncle sam can legally be involved in, are wars, spying, fake weather & murder & mayhem. no more baby & old people care & feeding etc...? may as well shut it all down? make at least some sense?

the murder & mayhem clause must be working because we're not at war with anybody/ourselves/our friends, & we're still shutting off the babys milk money, again? is our mess their fault? they'd rather have some milk & grandparents, than see images on tv of other babys explodead because we can't afford them either?

queen mother, uncle sam; incestual lineage update (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731232)

no wonder they're whack? born, raised, trained, slept with everybody, in the same 'church' of the never seen?

the thinking, what with all the fear greed homicidal forgetful behaviors they exhibit, was that the old timers' disease had taken them, butt know, this is MUCH worse, as they may never die, having been eugenetically 'recreatede(a)d' in the first verse, 22nd holycost, chapter to the euthanasians. so more than one deity may have been involved. some kind of 'home' placement is probably still the best way to deal with it now?

Re:queen mother, uncle sam; incestual lineage upda (1)

lineswine (731846) | about 3 years ago | (#35731350)

1955 called, they want Sen. MacCarthy back...just not in one piece.

have they even considered RFI (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 3 years ago | (#35731136)

will this electromagnetic suspension interfere with radios?
that is the last thing a public safety professional or ham radio operator, (or anyone else that uses a radio) would want is the suspension on their car or truck causing RFI

may not be too exact (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731166)

I mean, they only have it down to one significant digit. That's not exact at all.

Cadillac STS (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | about 3 years ago | (#35731196)

I have a 2002 Cadillac STS with magnetic ride control. Here is a 2002 press release.

GM's Magnetic Ride Control - The World's Fastest Reacting Suspension

Detroit, Mich. - General Motors took vehicle handling and comfort to a new level with the January introduction of Magnetic Ride Control on the 2002 Cadillac Seville STS, the world's first production car with this leading-edge active suspension.

GM's Magnetic Ride Control is a complete, stand-alone vehicle suspension control system that uses innovative magneto-rheological fluid-based actuators, four wheel-to-body displacement sensors, and an onboard computer to provide real-time, continuous control of vehicle suspension damping.

The system responds in one millisecond to provide superior ride, handling and control on even the roughest road surfaces. Magnetic Ride Control uses a simple combination of sensors, as well as steering wheel and braking inputs from the driver, to reduce noise, vibration and harshness for a smoother ride.

The system's onboard computer reacts to wheel inputs from the road-sensing suspension by sending an electronic signal to coils in each damper, changing the damping fluid's flow properties. This fluid contains randomly dispersed iron particles that, in the presence of a magnetic field, align themselves into structures adopting a near-plastic state. This action regulates the damping properties of the monotube struts, changing up to 1,000 times per second.

The system offers an expanded range of soft-to-firm damping capabilities for increased control over vehicle motions for a flat ride and precise handling. The active suspension helps maintain the maximum amount of tire patch in contact with the road, providing improved wheel control for a safer more secure ride. This new technology also helps reduce the traditional tradeoff between ride and handling.

Magnetic Ride Control is superior to the traditional suspensions and the real-time-damping systems found in other performance and luxury vehicles that use an electromechanical valve to control hydraulic pressure for shock damping.

Engineers at GM Research & Development laboratories, and later with experts at Delphi Automotive Systems, explored ways to reduce or even eliminate the inherent restrictions of valve-based damping systems. The result is GM's revolutionary system that eliminates electro-mechanical valves entirely.

Magnetic Selective Ride Control will debut as standard equipment in the 50th anniversary Chevrolet Corvette for the 2003 model year. That system will feature tour and sport suspension settings. The tour mode, with its extended range of damping capability, is so capable that it alone provides all the control an everyday driver needs. The sport mode, provides an extra measure of control and feel for performance enthusiasts who want to take their cars on track.

This technology yields greater levels of tuning precision and ride quality. Ride and handling engineers developing vehicles with Magnetic Ride Control can spend their time adjusting the algorithms that control the damping responses on a computer, and are enabled to fine-tune ride and handling characteristics to unprecedented levels of specificity. As a result, drivers will notice better ride quality, less body roll and improvements in overall handling.

General Motors , the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, designs, builds and markets cars and trucks worldwide. In 2001, GM earned $1.5 billion on sales of $177.3 billion, excluding special items. It employs about 362,000 people globally.

###

Magnetic Ride Control: Fact Sheet

What is Magnetic Ride Control?

Magnetic Ride Control is a complete, stand-alone vehicle suspension control system that uses magneto-rheological fluid-based actuators, four wheel-to-body displacement sensors, and an on-board computer to provide real-time, continuous control of vehicle suspension damping.

How does it work?

Magnetic Ride Control is made possible by the development of magneto-rheological (MR) fluid located inside the monotube shock dampers. The fluid is a suspension of magnetically soft, tiny iron particles in a synthetic hydrocarbon-based solution. The fluid's consistency can be manipulated through the precise application of electronic current, resulting in continuously variable, real-time damping. In fact, the development of MR fluid is so significant that medical researchers have adapted it for use in high-tech prosthetic devices, such artificial knees.

What are its benefits?

The system provides a greatly expanded range of soft to firm damping capability, a truly continuous range of damping settings providing increased control over vehicle motions for a flat ride and more precise handing. The enhanced road-holding capabilities improve wheel control for a safer, more secure ride.

Magnetic Ride Control offers greater roll control and handling during transient maneuvers, and helps reduce noise, vibration and harshness for a smoother ride. This new technology helps reduce the traditional tradeoff between ride and handling, and responds 5 times faster than previous real-time damping systems. In addition, greater reliability is possible with its simpler design.

The 2002 Cadillac Seville STS is the world's first production car with this leading-edge active suspension.

Magnetic Selective Ride Control will debut in 2003 as standard equipment in the 50th anniversary Chevrolet Corvette. The system also will be optional on other 2003 Corvette coupe and convertible models, except the Z06.

A video explaining the tech.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLhC3Em1JrA [youtube.com]

Re:Cadillac STS (1)

ThreeKelvin (2024342) | about 3 years ago | (#35731362)

If you read what you posted, you'll notice the following:

How does it work?

Magnetic Ride Control is made possible by the development of magneto-rheological (MR) fluid located inside the monotube shock dampers. The fluid is a suspension of magnetically soft, tiny iron particles in a synthetic hydrocarbon-based solution. The fluid's consistency can be manipulated through the precise application of electronic current, resulting in continuously variable, real-time damping. In fact, the development of MR fluid is so significant that medical researchers have adapted it for use in high-tech prosthetic devices, such artificial knees.

In other words, the technology used in your car is not comparable to the technology discussed in the article, with the exception that both technologies use active instead of passive dampening.

Re:Cadillac STS (1)

pthisis (27352) | about 3 years ago | (#35731372)

magneto-rheological fluid-based actuators

The STS-type hydraulic reactive systems are discussed briefly in the article:

While active suspension is nothing new (at least, not for cars), it has previously mainly been integrated into hydraulic systems. According to the Eindhoven researchers, however, hydraulics can't react as quickly as their electromagnetic system, and therefore can't match the smoothness of its ride.

Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731218)

Now that fat fairy Barney Frank will be able to levitate his fat ass like his idol, the Baron Harkonnen.

Derivative of the acceleration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731230)

I suppose one would define "overall ride quality" by taking some kind of norm of the derivative of the acceleration.

Re:Derivative of the acceleration (1)

ThreeKelvin (2024342) | about 3 years ago | (#35731436)

The derivative of acceleration is called jerk, and is indeed the measurement used for measuring ride quality, at least when comparing cruise controllers.

'america', 'innovation'. (0)

unity100 (970058) | about 3 years ago | (#35731254)

there were those who were drumming that because of patent system america was the center of innovation bleh bleh.

see - eye controlled mouse from swedish yesterday, electromagnetic suspension from dutch today. not some 'trendy web 2.0y stolen/meshed up bullshit' 'innovation' like we always get from america.

Re:'america', 'innovation'. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731302)

Except that this was done in America multiple years ago.

But you keep contorting random headlines into your worldview, your ignorance of the important details notwithstanding.

Re:'america', 'innovation'. (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 3 years ago | (#35731380)

except that similarly, many of the crap that is touted from america as innovation gets done years ago somewhere else, but noone sees worth touting and advertising as innovation isnt it.

Re:'america', 'innovation'. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731496)

From Pulp Fiction: "English, motherfucker, do you speak it?"

What were you trying to say?

Re:'america', 'innovation'. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731718)

This is a quarterly reminder from Troll Horns Inc. Please remember to oil the Horn(tm) periodically, preferably with air pressure tool oil since a lot of hot air can pass through the equipment while it is under heavy load. This helps prevent unnecessary wheezing, which can be further exaggerated if the Horn(tm) comes in contact with neck hair during operation. Also, cheeto dust left on the Horn(tm) for more than three months can turn into a fine gel, thus turning the Horn(tm) slippery. This mode of operation can at times result in the Horn(tm) winding (yep we went there) very far down the operator's esophagus. Certain elements of society would have you believe this is a good thing, quite the contrary, operation of Troll Horns is highly important for the US economy, namely keeping headache medicine manufacturers in business. Thus one can see that the continued well operation of Troll Horns(tm) is important to US National Security, act accordingly.

Troll Horns Inc and the Horn(tm) are copyrighted trademarks of Troll Horns Inc. All rights reserved. Patents where applicable will be enforced.

Re:'america', 'innovation'. (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 years ago | (#35731772)

Not sure if you were a troll or not but this was patented in the USA in 1988: http://ip.com/patent/US4892328 [ip.com] oh and is being currently sold by an American speaker manufacturer.

Re:'america', 'innovation'. (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 3 years ago | (#35731980)

patenting things without producing them is u.s. specialty. this firm actually had had demonstrated the technology. if you come down to that, i can patent billions of ideas that are only in dreamscape yet. without producing and showing shit for it. then i can come up in future and demand payment when someone actually does it. and this is the american way.

Bose had something like this (2)

dxk3355 (987361) | about 3 years ago | (#35731426)

I worked for Bose back in 2005 and they were researching something like this. They were partnering with GM at the time but I think it fell out because the system was too heavy. There's a video floating around on YouTube of a car jumping over a bump using the Bose system.

Ban it!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731604)

It will make speed-bumps worthless!!! Think of the children

Car analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731614)

Can someone please post a car analogy?

I'll keep my old shocks (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | about 3 years ago | (#35731642)

I wonder what the price tag would be. Of course, if you never have to replace them that would be a plus.
What I would really like to see is shocks that could generate electricity that recharge the battery in a hybrid/electric vehicle.
It could probably work somewhat akin to those generators that harness power from ocean waves. Not sure how much power you could get from the motion generated by 4 shocks moving a few inches in each direction.

To the author: (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 3 years ago | (#35731654)

You are correct; No two people have an identical opinion in ride quality, and none have the ability (as far as I know) to quantify improvement. So, they fit the cars with devices which monitor travel of the body during test conditions and compare that to the travel on stock suspension.

60% improvement will be 60% reduction in body travel compared to stock mechanical suspension under test conditions using body travel as the metric (or some such).

Re:To the author: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731702)

Nonsense! This is Slashdot. We love to act like we embrace science but we refuse to see its value and always question the answers with triffling axioms of old.
 
How fitting the pages tagline is: For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. -- H. L. Mencken

Minimize maximum acceleration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35731878)

"Ride quality" with respect to shock absorbers is easy to quantify and really only has one right answer. It's the maximum acceleration experienced over the course of the ride. The job of a shock absorber is to minimize the maximum acceleration. Inside the cab of a car cruising at constant velocity on a smooth surface, an accelerometer should read a constant zero.

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