Relaxed stability and farewell understeer
Relaxed doesn’t sound too bad. And stability sure sounds good. In aviation design, it means an aircraft is so aerodynamically unstable that the workload to fly the aircraft is overwhelming. Presenting the idea of an unstable aircraft was probably much easier with the phrase “relaxed stability”. The pilot needs the aid of a computer to fly it, but then it handles beautifully and the turning performance is outstanding.
Steer-by-wire for cars enables many benefits, but for a driving experience, we haven’t seen so much yet, except maybe for variable steering ratio. And to be honest, variable ratio have been around well over a decade, even for conventional steering.
The unique driving experience starts when we integrate sophisticated stability management into steer-by-wire. Now you can tune the car far away from the traditional terminal understeer behaviour, otherwise required to handle violent throttle off reactions, braking instability, etc. These cases can’t typically be handled by ESP braking, due to the cumbersome and annoying interventions. But with subtle steer effects from steer-by-wire with stability management, it will instead be part of a fluent, high-capacity driving experience. And when it comes to evasive manoeuvres, I can see that there are new records to be set. Farewell understeer, welcome fighter jet of the road.
About Lars Markström
Vehicle Dynamics Attribute Leader, Lars Markström, at Sentient is an experienced vehicle dynamics Engineer. Few know as well as Lars how experienced drivers – and non experts – perceive and act on road conditions and upcoming situations. In articles on this website, marked “By Lars”, he reflects and go into details about vehicle dynamics, its history and development.