The constant technological evolution in the steering and suspension systems has currently made elements as advanced as electronic power steering increasingly common in production vehicles.
So, if today these systems can operate autonomously during maneuvers such as parking, and there are adaptive suspension systems to achieve the best result in each terrain condition or type of driving… what is the next step?
Advances in management systems
As for the improvements related to the steering of the cars, we have seen an evolution that takes us from the traditional mechanical steering, hydraulic steering or electro-hydraulic steering, to end in the current electric steering, where despite all the electronic management, it continues There is a mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the steering rack, something that disappears in the Steer-by-wire direction.
This technology, in which the electronics gain weight over the mechanical parts, is already common in the acceleration system, where we did not find the gas cable, which traditionally linked the pedal with the throttle or the injection pump. Thus, at present, the cable has disappeared and in its place are angular sensors that measure the position of the pedal; This information is received by a processor, which opens the throttle valve by means of an actuator motor, or sends a signal to the injection computer (in the case of Diesel).
Going back to advances in direction, the sensors on the steering wheel measure movements by the driver. This information is sent to one or up to three processors, which control actuators in the direction in order to maintain the direction of the vehicle in accordance with the movements of the driver, eliminating the mechanical connection between steering wheel and rack, generating greater performance, automation, comfort, and better optimization of space.
To ensure the safety of these systems, which are completely dependent on electronic management, up to three processors are used in vehicles that use this technology, and they are also provided with a clutch that will link the steering wheel with the rack in the event that detects any error or fault in the system.
Advances in suspension systems
As far as suspension is concerned, adaptive suspension systems and roll control systems have been vastly improved in recent years. Thus, the pneumatic systems have evolved to the point of converting the car into an SUV or sports car, increasing or decreasing the ground clearance as well as the suspension setting at the driver’s discretion. In automatic mode, the same system is in charge of “reading” the road to detect irregularities and thus anticipate and adapt to circumstances. Radars located in the front of the vehicle send the readings of the pavement to the suspension calculator, which determines, according to the programmed parameters, the best instantaneous suspension configuration.
Also, magnetic suspensions, as they are popularly known, are gaining ground. These systems consist of shock absorbers filled with ferrofluid, which, when subjected to a magnetic load, varies its density, thus varying the behavior of the shock absorber. The different sensors of the vehicle are in charge of giving the necessary information to the computer so that it determines the magnetic load to which the ferrofluids of the shock absorbers must be subjected, in order to instantly adapt the behavior of the car suspension.
As for the active roll control, systems similar to those previously described are applied to counteract as much as possible the role of the body with respect to the ground. These systems harden or soften the spheres or stabilizer dampers on the opposite side to which the curve is traced, thus compensating for annoying rocking and achieving greater comfort and performance.