Suspension technology is one of the keys to enhanced vehicle drivability and comfort in the automotive industry. Innovations in air suspension systems optimise the ride and handling for different driving conditions.
Adaptive Ride Control systems contain adaptive dampers, an Electronic Control Unit (ECU), a sensor set, and a driver preference switch. The sensor set is a combination of accelerometers and position sensors located on the body and near the suspension at the vehicle corners.
Modern adaptive damping systems use “continuously variable” dampers, allowing the damper setting to be adjusted to any value between pre-established firm and soft settings. The Ride Control ECU is the brain of an adaptive damping system and is connected to sensors located on the body and suspension at all corners as well as the vehicle’s main data bus.
It receives inputs including vehicle speed, throttle position, steering angle, transmission as well as others. The ECU receives different data streams and uses them as inputs to an algorithm that is defined by the driver preference switch selection. The algorithm continuously calculates the magnitude and direction of the vehicle’s body motions as well as the motion of each wheel relative to the vehicle body.
The motion calculation results are used to determine the damping force required at each corner of the vehicle to reach the desired ride and handling characteristics. Once the ideal damping force has been calculated, the ECU provides the appropriate amount of electrical current to each damper.
The firm and soft damping force limits of adaptive dampers are controlled by shim stacks installed in separate flow passages within the damper. The damping force adjustment is typically achieved by opening or closing a fluid flow control valve to regulate the amount of fluid flowing through each flow passage.
Arnott eRide Technology
Arnott’s eRide R&D team in the US focused on a perfect collaboration with the continuously variable ride control systems being used by car manufacturers today. The Arnott eRide technology can be used to replace any continuously variable shock with an internal valve. Its valve design works in compliance with a variety of ECU set ups and valve designs.