Filed away in a geeky car corner of YouTube is a video that demonstrates what was an incredible forward thinking bit of technology for cars, and it came from the most unlikely of sources.
The story starts with US audio manufacturer Bose (yeah, I thought they were German too) who worked for more than 24 years on a revolutionary electromagnetic suspension system for cars, it was known as ‘project sound’.
The brainchild of Bose’s late CEO Amar Bose, the active system was designed to anticipate the road ahead and react accordingly, resulting in a magic carpet ride for occupants with eerily flat cornering, unrivalled bump absorption and even the ability to jump obstacles.
Ultimately deemed a commercial failure, the system never made it to production but a YouTube clip from tech website CNET immortalises the system’s capabilities, and it’s well worth watching.
Bose used the Lexus LS400 to demonstrate project sound, it replaced the entire suspension setup for one car. In place of standard components was now a bespoke computer controlled system that used a series of magnets and motors (now the speaker connection suddenly makes a lot of sense).
The active system was totally independent at each wheel and despite requiring a lot of power to work correctly (Bose said peak power consumption was 50kilowatts), a recuperative technology was used to recapture energy. Apparently, the ill-fated system required less than one third of the energy a regular climate control system draws.
So, what were the results? Well, they’re nothing short of remarkable. See for yourself in the video below.
Apparently, the demonstration car rarely comes out nowadays but according to CNET, the lessons learned in this project were transferred to Bose’s Ride system, an active suspension system that’s implemented in the seat’s of truckers – you can see a video of that here.