|At Delphi Automotive Systems,
we can't leave well enough alone. We are always working on the next step
in technology - how what we know today can evolve for the next generation
of vehicles. One of our projects is to electronically integrate chassis
technologies to help enhance safety, increase comfort, and improve performance
- for the optimum in ride and handling.
Congested traffic, severe
weather, and adverse road conditions affect vehicle handling performance.
But drivers don't want to think about that. They simply want the vehicle
to perform - and perform well. Drivers want the vehicle to respond safely,
comfortably, and immediately to every driving situation, including the
normal driving condition.
Backed by decades of expertise,
Delphi engineers can predict almost every imaginable driving situation
and develop ways to help the driver and vehicle stay in control. Braking,
steering, suspension, and powertrain systems play critical roles in a vehicle's
overall ride and handling performance. By electronically linking these
systems, information and resources will be shared, making it possible for
the vehicle to detect - and help the driver react to - a variety of driving
"This enhanced vehicle control
is subtle, often undetected by the driver," said Ashok Chandy, manager
of vehicle dynamics, systems, and controls. "For example, with Delphi's
traction control the driver may not even realize that a wheel has encountered
an icy patch. A superior performing vehicle can make the vehicle operator
feel like a better driver."
"In addition to creating
a better handling vehicle, this integration will benefit the vehicle manufacturer
by reducing mass, improving design flexibility, and streamlining the assembly
process," added Jim Petrowski, manager of customer solutions.
For the most part, independent
chassis subsystems simply react to a situation. Delphi's vision of vehicle
control will link these subsystems so they "think" as one, enabling proactive
capabilities. Delphi engineers will use their knowledge of electronics,
micro-controllers, sensors, actuators, and high-speed data busses to design
the future of vehicle control.
As vehicle technology progresses
from hydraulic to electric power, the ability to communicate between systems
becomes a reality. Some of Delphi's available technologies are TRAXXAR™
Vehicle Stability Enhancement System, Interactive QUADRASTEER™ Four Wheel
Steering System, and MagneRide™ Semi-Active Suspension System. The TRAXXAR
system can integrate antilock braking, traction control, steering, suspension,
and powertrain systems to help improve stability and directional control.
The Interactive QUADRASTEER system combines front-wheel steering with an
electrically powered rear-wheel steering system, providing control based
on three speed-dependent phases. The MagneRide suspension system adjusts
damping levels at each corner of the vehicle to increase wheel contact
with the road, improving ride and handling.
The next step toward integrated
vehicle control is Delphi's Unified Chassis Control (UCC). Using a chassis
supervisory control function, UCC will oversee transmission of sensor data,
interpreting changes in the road, vehicle, and driving conditions. The
control function will send instructions to various chassis systems that
can help the driver return the vehicle to its normal driving state.
One chassis integration possibility
is to integrate the Interactive QUADRASTEER and TRAXXAR systems, allowing
active steering and controlled braking to work together for the first time.
The two systems will respond to the same data and react in harmony to help
the driver control the vehicle.
For example, when braking
with one side of the vehicle or one wheel on ice, the steering system will
monitor the braking imbalance and command a small corrective steer to help
prevent the vehicle from being pulled to one side. The result is enhanced
vehicle control through earlier intervention, which may help to prevent
"Selective applications of
damping in individual shocks also allow a crisper turning response," said
Paul Flanagan, manager of technology planning. "As the steering wheel is
turned, the suspension immediately adjusts. Meanwhile, the front and rear
wheels are steered individually for the maximum in vehicle control and
The safer choice.
In addition to improved handling,
another significant benefit of vehicle control is increased safety. The
Delphi family of technologies known as Forewarn® Collision Warning
Systems will integrate with chassis safety features to create a higher
level of control - for the vehicle and the driver.
For example, Delphi's Forewarn
Adaptive Cruise Control detects slower, in-lane vehicles ahead and uses
throttle control and limited braking to maintain a driver-selectable headway.
Forewarn Back-Up Aid assists the driver when backing the vehicle. The system
detects stationary and/or moving objects as far as 6 meters behind the
vehicle. The system also provides the driver with an audible and visual
The future is wired for
As Delphi's vision of vehicle
control continues to evolve, X-by-Wire technology is considered to be a
major step toward chassis system integration. This technology, with its
network of wires and sensors, eliminates the need for mechanical connections.
As a result, the vehicle manufacturer enjoys mass reduction, improved design
flexibility, and a streamlined assembly process.
The future of Delphi includes
many safety concepts such as the monitoring of the roadway's surface condition,
rollover detection and reduction, collision avoidance systems, and an emergency
notification system. In addition, post-accident exit features such as automatic
"windows down" or "doors unlock" commands would help facilitate an exit
by the occupants or an entry by rescue personnel.
"The primary goal of vehicle
control is to provide a complete driving package - comfortable ride, enhanced
safety features, and improved handling," concluded Mark Depoyster, chief
engineer of advanced chassis systems. "With Delphi's commitment to our
vehicle control vision, we are anticipating and then delivering the ways
to help the driver and vehicle stay in control."
TRAXXAR, QUADRASTEER, MagneRide,
and Forewarn are trademarks of Delphi Automotive Systems, Inc.