As the dynamic performance of suspension systems has progressively improved over the years, the search for the “ideal” form of shock absorber damping characteristic has intensified. The conventional, velocity conscious, shock absorber deals competently with a wide range of operating requirements, but it is doubtful whether a single, fixed “ideal” setting is achievable as, for example, similar suspension velocities can be associated with different damping requirements. An obvious route to improve discrimination is to sense further inputs and combine these via microprocessor logic to control an adjustable valve in the shock absorber. Thus the damping force is better able to adapt to the prevailing conditions.
The possible systems to achieve this adaptive concept can be fairly simple or very complex and the challenge to the engineer is to develop cost effective systems, correctly tuned to the particular class of vehicle which demonstrate a recognisable benefit to the customer.