A better ride from Ford

Ford engineers claim to have made a major breakthrough with the launch of an active suspension system on the new Ford Mondeo.

Called Interactive Vehicle Dynamic Control (IVDC), the system offers sports, comfort and regular suspension settings and eliminates the trade off engineers have to make between ride and handling with conventional suspension set-ups. Once selected, the settings determine how the suspension reacts, providing rapid, imperceptible adjustments in line with the car’s behaviour and prevailing road conditions.

Broadly, the firmer sports setting will optimise the car’s responses on winding B-roads while the comfort setting would be for a long distance motorway journey.

Once the choice is made, the active suspension technology adjusts the car’s dampers more than 10 times a second to provide the best possible handling characteristics, by matching the driver’s selection with road conditions and the demands being made by the driver in terms of acceleration, braking, cornering and speed. This provides more precise responses than the fixed settings of a conventional suspension system.

The responses of IVDC are based on inputs from seven sensors: one acting on each wheel and three others positioned to measure acceleration, pitch and roll. Information from the sensors is fed into a control unit that triggers electronic valves in the dampers, adjusting them at a rapid rate that matches the information being fed into the system. The system has been tuned to match precisely the specific weights and tracking of the new Mondeo.

‘An active suspension system makes particular sense in larger cars like the new Mondeo,’ said Ford vehicle dynamics manager Norbert Kessing. ‘It enhances dynamic stability, particularly under critical driving conditions, and works with the car’s other safety systems to reduce braking distances by up to 10 per cent on rough roads.’