An innovative active suspension system – capable of adjusting wheel alignment while driving – has been developed by Victorian-based company Doftek.
The active wheel alignment system (AWAS) is designed to be retrofitted to a car's existing suspension.
The vehicle's standard suspension mounts and tie rods are replaced with electromechanical components that, via a control unit, can adjust the angle of the wheels (camber, toe-in, and caster) to suit road conditions and driver preferences.
According to Doftek inventor Geoff Rogers, the product maximises handling performance, improves fuel efficiency, and minimises tyre wear.
The company claims testing has demonstrated a 15 per cent increase in handling performance, 10 per cent reduction in rolling resistance, and 10 per cent reduction in peak tyre temperatures.
However, the company was unable to provide figures for the claimed fuel efficiency improvements or the reduction in tyre wear.
Two versions of the technology have been developed. A ‘mode select’ version allows the driver to manually select between normal, sport, and sport plus settings, and an ‘adaptive’ option which uses an onboard computer to autonomously adjust wheel alignments while driving. The latter is still being developed.
Geoff Rogers told CarAdvice the ‘adaptive’ system being developed uses "a wide variety of sensor data from the car, about the car's current attitude and the way it's being driven."
"We've got a proprietary set of algorithms that then work out what is happening, and what is about to happen, based on the vehicle's attitude and these parameters ... the overall goal of doing that is to optimise your contact patch at every moment in time."
The company did not divulge which manufacturers they are currently working with, however it said it has received interest in the technology from within the car industry.
The initial targets for AWAS are luxury and performance vehicles, followed by electric cars, and fully autonomous vehicles, the company says.
The prototypes are co-funded by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) as part of the Federal Government’s Industry Growth Centre Initiative.
Doftek and AMGC will reportedly each contribute matched funding of $196,425 to the program.
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