A recent patent from general motors’ adds one more tool by linking the aero tweaks to the suspension’s ride height. The official documents use a Corvette as a demonstration, which might point towards a future a future application of this tech. according to GM, the active aero element could be “may be one of an adjustable spoiler, an air dam, a splitter, a diffuser, and shutter,” and these components could be either at the front or rear of the vehicle. The company describes using either lasers or ultrasonic sensors on the suspension for monitoring the distance from fixed point on the vehicle.
Flexibility of the model
GM filed for this patent on May 24, 2016, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office just published it on March 23, 2017. Since the active aero tech was under development last year, the engineers potentially had time for incorporating it into the upcoming mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette. The system would be one more way of making the new model an even more revolutionary upgrade for the brand’s famous sports car.
Adjusting according to the vehicles ride height can be some tangible benefits, for example the GM says in patent description that the sensor could monitor body roll during turn. The adjustable elements could then change to improve handling in that situation. While GM’s patent images portray a Corvette, this tech could work on any of the company’s vehicles. It’s easy to imagine the benefits that a future Chevy Camaro or Cadillac CTS-V might gain from being able to link adjustments to their ride height and active aerodynamic components. In combination with the already impressive MagneRide magneto rheological damper system, this development could lead to even better handling vehicles and also provide the ability to dynamically tweak the airflow around a vehicle depending on the situation.
An active aerodynamic system
General Motors looks to have patented an active aerodynamics system that takes into account body movements when making adjustments.
The concept of active aero is to adjust aerodynamic elements such as shutters or spoilers to deliver either lower drag or higher down force. When done correctly, active aero can yield significant performance gains. Normally, active aero systems take into account a vehicle’s speed when making adjustments. The system patented by GM goes a step further by also taking into account pitch, roll, ride height and even steering wheel position when calculating adjustments.
In the case of GM’s patent, filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office a year ago, the aerodynamic elements to be adjusted could be a spoiler, air dam, splitter, diffuser, or shutter. Various sensors such as ultrasonic and laser sensors could be used to detect the body movements.
While the patent uses a current C7 Chevrolet Corvette for illustrative purposes, the system isn’t necessary designed exclusively for that model. However, given the performance-oriented nature of the design, it stands to reason that GM would want to use such a system on a performance model like the Corvette. Perhaps we’ll see something like it on the upcoming C7 Corvette ZR1 or mid-engine C8 Corvette.