How Ferrari’s SUV technology redefines active suspension

Of all the things that make up a car’s personality, driving and handling are at the top of the list.

A lot of the feel, comfort, emotion, and intention feedback to the driver comes down to these two things. And while drivetrains are changing radically, the basics of what controls the suspension have remained fairly constant, with springs of some sort to keep you off the ground and get you through the bumps and dampers calming your excitement. Still, there have been many variations on the theme, and one of the most recent is Multimatic’s True Active Spool Valve (TASV) system, introduced by the Ferrari Purosangue SUV.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of suspension: passive and adaptive. Passive springs are those familiar steel coils for springs, torsion bars or, once upon a time, flat steel sheets. Currently, passive dampers usually consist of a piston in a tube that displaces gas, oil, or both to resist motion. Passive dampers may be sophisticated in their design and effect, but at the end of the day they’re not smart. Adaptive dampers are the opposite, changing resistance and response in real time under electronic control.

Some do this via electronically controlled internal valves, while the exclusive Magneride system (a creation of Delphi) does so with glorious magnetorheological fluid, which thickens in response to the electromagnetism built into the units and linked to the ‘brain’ of the chassis. Adaptive or active suspension includes air springs of the type used by premium brands such as Audi, BMW, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.

All these systems work in conjunction with conventional steel springs or air springs. None are truly active in the sense that the springs are replaced entirely by 1980s Formula 1 style hydraulic actuators. Back then, engineers struggled to have enough computing power to process the vast amount of data involved, but things have changed a lot since then. . Despite this access to modern, mega-fast electronics, the TASV system still works in conjunction with springs, but, says Multimatic, “redefines the role of dampers, transforming the suspension into an active system capable of exerting enough force to move the entire vehicle body”. It does this when it anticipates, say, a bump in the road or detects that the driver is about to give a steering command or slam on the brakes.

Of all the things that make up a car’s personality, driving and handling are at the top of the list.

A lot of the feel, comfort, emotion, and intention feedback to the driver comes down to these two things. And while drivetrains are changing radically, the basics of what controls the suspension have remained fairly constant, with springs of some sort to keep you off the ground and get you through the bumps and dampers calming your excitement. Still, there have been many variations on the theme, and one of the most recent is Multimatic’s True Active Spool Valve (TASV) system, introduced by the Ferrari Purosangue SUV.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of suspension: passive and adaptive. Passive springs are those familiar steel coils for springs, torsion bars or, once upon a time, flat steel sheets. Currently, passive dampers usually consist of a piston in a tube that displaces gas, oil, or both to resist motion. Passive dampers may be sophisticated in their design and effect, but at the end of the day they’re not smart. Adaptive dampers are the opposite, changing resistance and response in real time under electronic control.

Some do this via electronically controlled internal valves, while the exclusive Magneride system (a creation of Delphi) does so with glorious magnetorheological fluid, which thickens in response to the electromagnetism built into the units and linked to the ‘brain’ of the chassis. Adaptive or active suspension includes air springs of the type used by premium brands such as Audi, BMW, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.

All these systems work in conjunction with conventional steel springs or air springs. None are truly active in the sense that the springs are replaced entirely by 1980s Formula 1 style hydraulic actuators. Back then, engineers struggled to have enough computing power to process the vast amount of data involved, but things have changed a lot since then. . Despite this access to modern, mega-fast electronics, the TASV system still works in conjunction with springs, but, says Multimatic, “redefines the role of dampers, transforming the suspension into an active system capable of exerting enough force to move the entire vehicle body”. It does this when it anticipates, say, a bump in the road or detects that the driver is about to give a steering command or slam on the brakes.

Of all the things that make up a car’s personality, driving and handling are at the top of the list.

A lot of the feel, comfort, emotion, and intention feedback to the driver comes down to these two things. And while drivetrains are changing radically, the basics of what controls the suspension have remained fairly constant, with springs of some sort to keep you off the ground and get you through the bumps and dampers calming your excitement. Still, there have been many variations on the theme, and one of the most recent is Multimatic’s True Active Spool Valve (TASV) system, introduced by the Ferrari Purosangue SUV.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of suspension: passive and adaptive. Passive springs are those familiar steel coils for springs, torsion bars or, once upon a time, flat steel sheets. Currently, passive dampers usually consist of a piston in a tube that displaces gas, oil, or both to resist motion. Passive dampers may be sophisticated in their design and effect, but at the end of the day they’re not smart. Adaptive dampers are the opposite, changing resistance and response in real time under electronic control.

Some do this via electronically controlled internal valves, while the exclusive Magneride system (a creation of Delphi) does so with glorious magnetorheological fluid, which thickens in response to the electromagnetism built into the units and linked to the ‘brain’ of the chassis. Adaptive or active suspension includes air springs of the type used by premium brands such as Audi, BMW, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.

All these systems work in conjunction with conventional steel springs or air springs. None are truly active in the sense that the springs are replaced entirely by 1980s Formula 1 style hydraulic actuators. Back then, engineers struggled to have enough computing power to process the vast amount of data involved, but things have changed a lot since then. . Despite this access to modern, mega-fast electronics, the TASV system still works in conjunction with springs, but, says Multimatic, “redefines the role of dampers, transforming the suspension into an active system capable of exerting enough force to move the entire vehicle body”. It does this when it anticipates, say, a bump in the road or detects that the driver is about to give a steering command or slam on the brakes.

Of all the things that make up a car’s personality, driving and handling are at the top of the list.

A lot of the feel, comfort, emotion, and intention feedback to the driver comes down to these two things. And while drivetrains are changing radically, the basics of what controls the suspension have remained fairly constant, with springs of some sort to keep you off the ground and get you through the bumps and dampers calming your excitement. Still, there have been many variations on the theme, and one of the most recent is Multimatic’s True Active Spool Valve (TASV) system, introduced by the Ferrari Purosangue SUV.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of suspension: passive and adaptive. Passive springs are those familiar steel coils for springs, torsion bars or, once upon a time, flat steel sheets. Currently, passive dampers usually consist of a piston in a tube that displaces gas, oil, or both to resist motion. Passive dampers may be sophisticated in their design and effect, but at the end of the day they’re not smart. Adaptive dampers are the opposite, changing resistance and response in real time under electronic control.

Some do this via electronically controlled internal valves, while the exclusive Magneride system (a creation of Delphi) does so with glorious magnetorheological fluid, which thickens in response to the electromagnetism built into the units and linked to the ‘brain’ of the chassis. Adaptive or active suspension includes air springs of the type used by premium brands such as Audi, BMW, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.

All these systems work in conjunction with conventional steel springs or air springs. None are truly active in the sense that the springs are replaced entirely by 1980s Formula 1 style hydraulic actuators. Back then, engineers struggled to have enough computing power to process the vast amount of data involved, but things have changed a lot since then. . Despite this access to modern, mega-fast electronics, the TASV system still works in conjunction with springs, but, says Multimatic, “redefines the role of dampers, transforming the suspension into an active system capable of exerting enough force to move the entire vehicle body”. It does this when it anticipates, say, a bump in the road or detects that the driver is about to give a steering command or slam on the brakes.

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