Delphi Help Land Rover Achieve The Highest Standards Of Handling And Comfort | Part Three

Advanced Air Suspension

The blend of talents required by the suspension of a Range Rover Sport is considerable. As well as safely managing the 385 bhp and 550 Nm of the supercharged engine option it must provide the 2,572 kg vehicle with sportscar handling, limousine ride quality and world-class off-road ability.

Land Rover chose air suspension because it allows low spring rates (providing good ride quality) without compromising the ability to maintain ride height when loaded or trailering. Air suspension also allows the ride height to be increased when travelling over difficult terrain. Delphi already supplies compact air suspension modules for the new Discovery (called LR3 in the US) and the current Range Rover, so was a logical choice to as a key suspension supplier for the new Range Rover Sport.

When designing its air spring technology, Delphi chose a modular approach to allow fast adaptation to new applications. For the Range Rover Sport, the system uses high-pressure monotube gas shock absorbers to provide high damping forces and excellent high frequency control. The air springs are stiffened and a new type of single point top mounting has been developed to reduce the transmission of road noise into the vehicle body. The new gas shock absorbers have an 18mm shaft diameter, thought to be the largest in production for a passenger vehicle, and fit into the existing air sleeve without any modification.

The new air spring modules allow Delphi to meet Land Rover’s tough targets for performance, comfort, packaging and durability and, compared with conventional coil springs, also reduce vehicle weight by nearly 7kg. The units are designed to withstand the most demanding burst pressure and temperature range requirements set by any vehicle manufacturer.

Innovative design and electronic control allows all versions of the vehicle (four engine options, two suspension options and a vast number of accessory combinations) to be accommodated with just two versions of the air suspension module. As well as simplifying production and logistics for both Delphi and Land Rover, this helped significantly shorten the development time.

Fourth Generation Smart Cruise Control
The Range Rover Sport is also one of the first vehicles to be fitted with Delphi’s fourth-generation Smart Cruise Control (SCC) which helps the driver maintain a selected time gap behind the vehicle ahead. At highway speeds, if the lane ahead is clear, the system will maintain the cruising speed set by the driver. When slower traffic is detected in front of the vehicle, the system will automatically maintain a driver-selected headway (the time gap between the vehicles, adjustable between 1.0 and 2.2 seconds) using throttle control and limited braking. If the closing speed is sufficient to require manual intervention, audible and visual warnings are given.

At the heart of Delphi’s SCC is a mechanically scanning 76GHz microwave radar sensor, integrated with a yaw sensor in an easily packaged housing that in the Range Rover application is mounted behind a polymer body panel in the nose of the vehicle. A separate Electronic Control Unit processes the radar data to calculate the range (distance), rate (closing speed) and azimuth (lateral deviation) of targets up to 150m ahead and delivers appropriate control signals to the engine and brake control systems via the vehicle’s CAN bus.

Delphi’s narrow-beam radar system provides greatly improved angular accuracy and target discrimination compared with rival multi-beam fixed sensor systems. The wide angle view (up to 15 degrees) provides early warning of vehicles entering the lane ahead and superior tracking in tight curves. It also allows an automatic alignment feature to compensate for installation tolerances and for changes in sensor alignment during the vehicle's life, reducing fitting costs for the vehicle manufacturer and increasing system reliability.

The Delphi Forewarn system also includes a Forward Alert feature that the driver can set to provide audible and visual alerts if braking is required due to slower-moving vehicles ahead. Drivers can adjust system sensitivity to adapt alert levels to their preferred driving style. The system will also warn the driver if mud, snow or other material is blocking the sensor.

3 November 2005 Staff
 
 

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