picPhil's Active Suspension

Introduction What is active suspension? How it works. Contact us



Hydraulic actuated

Hydraulically actuated suspensions are controlled with the use of hydraulic servomechanisms. The hydraulic pressure to the servos is supplied by a high pressure radial piston hydraulic pump. Sensors continually monitor body movement and vehicle ride level, constantly supplying the computer with new data.

As the computer receives and processes data, it operates the hydraulic servos, mounted beside each wheel. Almost instantly, the servo regulated suspension generates counter forces to body lean, dive, and squat during various driving maneuvers.

In practice, the system has always incorporated the desirable self-levelling suspension and height adjustable suspension features, with the latter now tied to vehicle speed for improved aerodynamic performance, as the vehicle lowers itself at high speed.

Colin Chapman - the inventor and automotive engineer who founded Lotus Cars and the Lotus Formula One racing team - developed the original concept of computer management of hydraulic suspension in the 1980s, as a means to improve cornering in racing cars. Lotus developed a version of its 1985 Excel model with electro-hydraulic active suspension, but this was never offered to the public.

Computer Active Technology Suspension (CATS) co-ordinates the best possible balance between ride and handling by analysing road conditions and making up to 3,000 adjustments every second to the suspension settings via electronically controlled dampers.