The new system not only reduces vertical body movements, known as “heave” or “bounce,” but also pitching and rolling movements during accelerating, braking, or cornering. The brain of the active suspension system is a controller – the electronic suspension platform – where handling data is recorded, evaluated, and translated into concrete commands. It makes use of another system, which will be absolutely indispensable for cutting-edge assistance systems in future Audi models: the 48-volt electrical system. The increased voltage allows the system to supply the actuator motors with the energy they need even when requirements are high.
Despite this, the system’s average power consumption is surprisingly modest, not least because energy does not need to be supplied all the time. In its damper function, the system actually recuperates energy, with the electric motors operating as generators and the 48-volt battery acting as an internal energy storage system. The mechanical and electronic elements achieve impressive results by working together in harmony. Since all four wheels can be controlled individually, vertical and horizontal body movements are significantly reduced. The new Audi AI active suspension is also integrated into Audi drive select, allowing it to be configured to comfort or dynamic modes as desired.
When cornering, the system always provides a certain amount of feedback. This is entirely intentional – for safety reasons, drivers always need to be able to sense how fast they’re going. It’s not the only feature that demonstrates how mechanical and electronic systems can work in tandem to boost safety: in the event of an imminent side impact at more than 25 km/h, the suspension actuators work in combination with pre sense 360˚ and the optional intersection assistant to raise the body on the exposed side by up to 80 mm within half a second. As a result, the collision is directed to even stronger areas of the body. This can reduce the load on passengers, especially in the chest and stomach area, by up to 50%.