It is no secret that the roads in America are rough and filled with potholes. It can make driving very unpleasant. And while it is very expensive to fix all the problems with our road, it looks like there is another solution to deliver a better driving experience.
ClearMotion, a spinout of MIT in Boston, MA, is developing a technology that is aimed to deliver a smoother driving experience to drivers. The company is calling it a “preventative suspension system”. ClearMotion bought technologies from Framingham based company Bose in November 2017 that is used for the new suspension technology.
The current suspension systems used on cars use electromagnetic fluids or hydraulics to tighten or soften the ride. ClearMotion’s technology uses small actuators that lift the car’s wheels over bumps. The company is describing their system as playing offense while other systems play defense.
“We are digitizing our relationship with the road,” said Shakeel Avadhany, founder and CEO. “Allowing a layer of software to work between the humans and the road.”
The new and advanced suspension system “reads” defects that may be on the road and cancels the bumps and holes by moving in the opposite direction. Every wheel uses an accelerometer to detect the problems in the road whether they be potholes or bumps. Once the problem is detected, the system then activates the electric motor to draw liquids that will pull or push the wheel down or up.
The engineers of ClearMotion have allowed some feel of the road to the steering and body of the car so that the driver knows the kind of surface they’re on. As drivers are used to it, the engineers also still allow for the car to slightly dip when braking.
A similar system is being tested by Audi for their flagship A8 sedan that uses a titanium torsion bar and electric motors to control the ride. “The customer can drive dynamically while keeping the vehicle under control or work undisturbed in the rear,” said the company.
Vehicles that have the ClearMotion system equipped will be able to collect information on bad road areas and share the information with local authorities. By sending the information, the local authorities can then begin necessary measures for repair. It can also help prepare other vehicles as to what is coming ahead on the road.