Bose sus­pends be­lief

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels -

BOSE technology is usu­ally found in high-end sound sys­tems, not un­der­neath truck driv­ers. That is chang­ing with the roll­out of a new Bose truck seat in the US.

It sounds un­likely, but the Bose Cor­po­ra­tion, which has be­come fa­mous for gen­er­at­ing sounds, has now turned its at­ten­tion to sus­pen­sion.

Back in 2004, the com­pany pre­sented the con­cept of a new form of car sus­pen­sion that does away with tra­di­tional struts and shock ab­sorbers, re­plac­ing them with an ac­tive sys­tem us­ing four pow­er­ful elec­tric mo­tors to iso­late the ve­hi­cle from road con­di­tions.

Bose in­sists that the project, which it has been work­ing on for some time, will make it into pro­duc­tion but for now is on the back­burner.

In the mean­time, Bose has used sim­i­lar technology to de­velop a new sus­pen­sion seat for heavy-duty trucks.

Called the Bose Ride Sys­tem, it was re­leased early this year as an af­ter­mar­ket prod­uct.

It cer­tainly isn’t cheap with a sticker price of about $6000.

Even so, those who have tested the seat on a demon­stra­tion rig that Bose set up to show the dif­fer­ence be­tween it and con­ven­tional seats say it does a re­mark­able job of iron­ing out bumps and vi­bra­tions.

The seat uses an air spring to main­tain a stan­dard ride height, but it is the seat’s com­plex elec­tri­cal sys­tem that makes this a dif­fer­ent kind of pew.

A range of sen­sors de­tect the seat po­si­tion, pro­cess­ing data at the stag­ger­ing rate of 2000 times a sec­ond, which is con­sid­er­ably faster than any other sen­sors used in cur­rent ve­hi­cle sys­tems, such as the yaw sen­sors in elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol sys­tems.

If move­ment is de­tected a po­tent elec­tric mo­tor pushes a scis­sor frame be­neath the seat to nul­lify the move­ment.

It can gen­er­ate 250lb of force and has the abil­ity to push the seat up or down as much as 100mm in one-tenth of a sec­ond.

De­cid­ing ex­actly how much force to use in re­la­tion to the seat’s move­ment is quite a tricky task and in­di­cates how much work has gone into de­vel­op­ing the con­trol soft­ware.

A vari­a­tion of this technology could one day sit un­der our cars, but for the short-term fu­ture it looks like mak­ing sit­ting in a truck a whole lot more bear­able.

Bose is con­cen­trat­ing on the mas­sive US mar­ket, but if it is suc­cess­ful you can ex­pect to see it of­fered in Aus­tralia as an af­ter-mar­ket op­tion.

JAMES STAN­FORD

Softly softly: the Bose truck seat irons out the bumps.

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