SEMA eNews Vol. 10, No. 20, May 17, 2007

VEHICLE ELECTRONICS MIGRATE TO SUSPENSION

Automakers continue to focus on new technologies that enhance driver safety. For example, electronic stability control is becoming more prevalent in the new vehicles released by the OEMs. In addition, automakers are now using electronically controlled suspensions to enhance consumers’ driving experience. For example, Tenneco Inc. recently announced that its Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CES) system is featured on the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class launched in Stuttgart earlier this year. The electronically controlled suspension system continuously adjusts to road conditions and driver’s actions, resulting in enhanced ride comfort and improved stability. The system enables Tenneco to tune vehicles to adapt to different driving factors, such as braking, accelerating, steering and vehicle load, which increases the range of ride comfort and handling capability.

Tenneco’s CES system continuously adjusts damping levels according to road conditions and vehicle dynamics. At the heart of the system is an electronic control unit (ECU) that processes driver inputs and data from sensors placed at key locations on the vehicle. The sensors include three accelerometers mounted on the vehicle body and four suspension position sensors, which provide data on steering-wheel angle, vehicle speed, brake pressure and other chassis control factors. The ECU utilizes control software that processes the sensor information in real time and sends signals that adjust independently the damping level of each shock-absorber valve. Electronic dampers allow a large range between maximum and minimum damping levels and adjust instantaneously to ensure ride comfort and firm vehicle control.

“We are very pleased to supply the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class with our electronic suspension technology,” said Gregg Sherrill, chairman and CEO, Tenneco. “Our commitment to customer collaboration—from development through systems integration, ride tuning, program management and launch—helps ensure that each vehicle equipped with our advanced suspension technology has unique ride and handling characteristics.”

Source: Tenneco Inc. (May 8, 2007). “Tenneco Launches Electronic Suspension System on the New Mercedes-Benz C-Class.” Tenneco Inc. press release courtesy of PR Newswire.