If you’re not technically inclined, or at least a keenly mystified observer of engineered wizardry, turn away now. This could get a little boring for you. But, even if not knowingly, you'll soon be glad this new system exists.
G-Vectoring Control, or GVC as Mazda calls it, is an all-new electronic system that works with Mazda’s SkyActiv engine range to promise better driving feel behind the wheel, more linear steering response, added safety and reduced fatigue. And while we didn’t easily feel the system working away under the Mazda6’s skin at launch this week, we reckon any system that adds to safety is a good thing.
Here’s a quick breakdown on how GVC works.
As you’ll read in our other news piece, one Mazda engineer spent an incredible eight years developing GVC to ensure it is ready for launch on road cars that you could be driving as soon as the refreshed release of the new Mazda 3 in the months ahead.
Mazda has spent plenty of time watching human behaviour, not only behind the wheel but also in doing something as simple as walking, running or even sitting in a vehicle as a passenger. The end result is a clever software system that reads steering inputs and ever-so-subtly reduces engine torque to the driven wheels. The result of that torque reduction, like a race car driver ‘lifting off’ on the track, is a shift of the vehicle’s weight forward. This adds more ‘bite’ to the driven tyres and therefore more grip and confidence at any speed.
The result, according to Mazda, is more assured handling and balance. That, and more certainty to the way the vehicle reacts to the road conditions, which dictate what the driver is doing with the steering wheel.
This technology is a direct result of Mazda so intensely observing human behaviour and how the body reacts to motion. Every action within the human structure is linked, so that as a vehicle tips into a corner for example, the body will do all kinds of balancing acts to try to keep the occupant's head (and therefore eyeline) level.
When humans walk or run, turn a corner, lean forward or back, the natural and subconscious reaction is make those movements as smoothly as possible, essentially because it feels more comfortable to do so. Mazda calls it ‘minimum jerk theory’ and the effort to translate that human movement into driving control led the company to develop GVC.
The more balanced you can make a vehicle, the more enjoyable - even if only subconsciously - the experience will be for the occupants. This in turn reduces fatigue, given there’s less effort and muscle action required, whether you're driving or a passenger in the vehicle.
Timing is key, and the GVC system can work at speeds - less than 50 milliseconds - that beat even the most skilled driver. Imagine, for example, you pick the wrong line into a corner. You’d have to adjust the amount of lock to suit the line you should have taken. This takes time, and the slower you correction, the messier your corner progression. GVC aims to remove that occurrence altogether.
As we saw on test, GVC works even when cruise control is activated - any time there is throttle input, as a matter of fact. The system isn’t affected by ESC or traction control, either, and works independently of both.
Engineers told us at the test event that the plan is to filter this tech down through the whole Mazda range, whether the vehicle is front-, rear- or all-wheel drive.
While the system would make sense across the entire Mazda range, we’ll see it filter through as each model is refreshed or updated. First cab of the rank will be the Mazda 3 - due to hit Australia later this year.