Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,906,370) for an “active suspension system” for a vehicle.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that vehicles include suspension systems that support a body of the vehicle on road surfaces over which the vehicles travel. The suspension system controls vertical movement of tire and wheel assemblies relative to the body due to road disturbances, so as to maintain contact of the tire and wheel assemblies with the road surface and to provide comfort to passengers in the vehicle body.
However, current suspension systems have issues, per Apple. Vertical movements of the unsprung mass due to road disturbances generally occur in a low frequency (e.g., around 3 Hz), which may be referred to primary ride. Additional vertical movements of the unsprung mass may occur in a higher frequency range due to dynamic characteristics of the unsprung mass (e.g., stiffness of the tire), which may be referred to as secondary ride or wheel hop.
Apple says that, typically, movements of the unsprung mass in the low and high frequency ranges are damped by passive fluid dampers, which extend and transfer force between the unsprung mass and the vehicle body. Apparently, the tech giant thinks it can do better.
Here’s the summary of the patent: “A suspension actuator assembly includes a first actuator and a second actuator. The first actuator selectively applies a first force between an unsprung mass and a sprung mass of a vehicle to control movement therebetween. The second actuator selectively applies a second force between the unsprung mass and a reaction mass to damp movement of the unsprung mass. The second actuator is coupled to the first actuator to form the suspension actuator assembly as a singular unit.”
Speaking of Apple Car rumors, a report from Reuters says executives at Hyundai are divided over a potential partnership with Apple, “with some raising concerns about becoming a contract manufacturer for the U.S. tech giant, dimming the outlook for a deal.”
On January 8, Korea IT News reported that Apple and Hyundai would team up to produce electric vehicles. On January 10, it was reported that Apple and Hyundai plan to sign a partnership deal on autonomous electric cars by March and start production around 2024 in the U.S.
Then, on January 19, Korea’s eDaily claimed that Hyundai intends to transition the company’s “Apple Car” partnership to its Kia brand as part of an arrangement that could see production move to the U.S.
The report added that Hyundai has decided it’s “not suitable” for the Apple Car business because of its will, to continue the Hyundai brand. Plus, the car maker purportedly doesn’t want to come an original equipment manufacturer for Apple vehicles.