Bart Gysen, in his effort to obtain a PhD, has been working with a team of researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands), to develop an active electromagnetic suspension system for automobiles. The team demonstrated the current version at December 2010 Future of Electric Vehicles conference in San Jose.
Controlled by an onboard computer, the suspension system received signals from an accelerometer and other sensors to adjust the shock accordingly. In a normal suspension, shocks respond to the surface of the road like a mechanical linkage, and has a slower response than this electromagnetic prototype. The Eindhoven suspension responds in a matter of micro-seconds, eliminated swaying in curves, and helps reduce over overturning due to abrupt steering. Lab results show a 60% increase in overall "ride quality."
Gysen - "An ambulance fitted with this system will be able to transport patients quickly and free of disturbing road-surface vibrations.”
Overall, a complete system uses approximately 500 watts. Gysen - "Hydraulic suspension systems use four times as much power. And the consumption of our system can probably be reduced still further by optimization. This is only the first version.”
The shock consists of a passive spring, control unit, electromagnetic actuator, and batteries. The shocks also generates electricity from road vibration. If the system fails, the passive spring and magnets in the shock will provide a conventional ride.
More importantly, each shock's high can be adjusted on the fly. This is sure to be a new favorite in the car mod scene.