That’s right. Bose.
The latest trick coming from the 74 year old Dr. Amar Bose is an active suspension system; the Bose Suspension System. It’s been in development since 1980, and so far they’ve only got it on a 1994 Lexus test mule, but rumor has it that Cadillac may offer the Bose system as an option on an upcoming car.
The proprietary Bose suspension system couples linear electromagnetic motors and power amplifiers with a set of unique control algorithms. For the first time, it is possible to have, in the same automobile, a much smoother ride than in any luxury sedan and less roll and pitch than in any sports car. The Bose research vehicle provides superior comfort by gliding smoothly over bumpy roads and superior control by keeping the car body level during aggressive maneuvers.
When you think about it, it’s not that much of a stretch for an outfit like Bose to go from speakers to automobile suspensions. A speaker is essentially a linear motor that uses electromagnetism to move a speaker coil to produce sound waves; the suspension Dr. Bose has assembled uses four linear motors that basically use the same principle to keep the car on an even keel, no matter how the driver and road thrash the thing.
We’ve talked about the inherent problems of sophisticated electronic systems in vehicles before, and I don’t think I’d want something like this in my car… At least not until the technology has matured for several years. Stories of Land Rover suspension systems failing at high speeds and causing deadly accidents is enough to make me want to stick with plain old shocks and struts.
The January print issue of Motor Trend has a brief article on it, but a more extensive writeup online, complete with a video of the test mule in action. In the grand finale, the Lexus actually jumps over a 2×6 on edge at 35mph!