When Bose made the world’s best car suspension

When Bose made the world's best car suspension

The unexpected beginning:

Bose was fascinated by magnets and realized that a heavy-duty version of the electromagnetic drivers used for loudspeakers would be great for suspending up to 1,000 pounds and could theoretically replace conventional suspension components such as shock absorbers. From there, Bose assembled a ragtag team of engineers and innovators and they began working covertly on this project under the code name “project sound”

Work on this suspension began in the 1980s and after many prototypes and refinements, the final version of this technology was ready to be shown to the world in 2007. Bose held an extensive demonstration at their headquarters where members of the press and top executives from the automotive industry were all invited to witness this revolutionary new suspension technology.

The demo started with no indication at all and a Lexus LS appearing seemingly out of nowhere and appearing to be driven by a madman at the wheel as it went through a high-speed bend straight for a railroad track. A major crash seemed imminent, but just before the car could hit the tire it magically jumps over it, and to top it all off, after the driver gets out, both the driver and car bow to the crowd.

Technological revelation:

Unlike conventional suspension that uses a series of springs, shocks and control arms to passively suspend the vehicle, Bose’s system uses modified MacPherson struts that contain an intricate arrangement of magnets, motors and controllers that control Bose linear electromagnetic motors and power. mentioned. amplifiers. But it doesn’t stop there. The system is also connected to a series of sensors that read the bumps in the road and can prime all four corners of the vehicle individually, giving it the ability to push or pull individual wheels as needed.

As a result, this car can not only jump over obstacles, but can also stay flat under braking and remain virtually flat even in fast corners without compromising on ride quality. Bose’s demonstration featured two LS400s, one on stock factory suspension and the other on Bose suspension.

The challenges in scalability:

Throwback - When Bose Made the World's Best Car Suspension - Image 1082507

Bose invited a slew of automakers from Ferrari to Chevrolet to witness their innovative solution, but after careful evaluation by industry experts and engineers, this advanced suspension system was found to be too heavy and expensive for general use and there were no customers for this technology. In addition, the market had evolved considerably since this system was conceptualized, and the Magnaride suspension introduced by Chevy in the early 2000s, while not nearly as advanced, was a significant step up from the mainstream suspension configurations and, most importantly, was scalable for mass production. Then there were automakers like McLaren who introduced a fully independent hydraulic suspension with the MP4-12C, which proved to be perfect for high-performance vehicles.

Throwback - When Bose Made the World's Best Car Suspension - Image 1082508

Throwback - When Bose Made the World's Best Car Suspension - Image 1082508

Bose wasn’t ready to give up on the idea and they adapted this technology to create the “Bose Ride”, an advanced truck seat that suspends the driver’s seat on a platform powered by the same suspension technology that aims to reduce driver fatigue. to reduce in the long term. to travel. Fortunately for Bose, the product has been somewhat of a sales success. In 2017, Bose sold this suspension technology to ClearMotion, a company that wants to make it more scalable and affordable. The company has released the ActiValve, the software-centric “digital chassis” that the company says is ready to hit the market. As of 2018, ClearMotion has raised nearly $115 million in funding and extensively tested this system in a pair of BMW 5 Series sedans, with their press material featuring a Model 3. So it’s only a matter of time before we release a new and improved version of this one. next-gen technology that will form the basis of luxury vehicles from top brands in the near future, or so we hope.