Let’s Look At Tesla’s Patented Self-Adjusting Air Suspension
This patent has its ups and downs
A nifty patent has shown up on the website of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Issued to Tesla for a “Vehicle Air Suspension Control System,” the technology raises and lowers a vehicle’s active air suspension. Now, you may be thinking, “Yo, InsideEVs peeps, Tesla has had that for quite some time now.” If so, you are right.
The Model S, and Model X have had active air available from the start of production and it’s now standard equipment on them, unlike the Model 3, for which it is not yet, and may never be, available. So why file a new patent, then? Well, this is actually a continuation of patents filed in 2012 and 2013 called “Vehicle Air Suspension Control System.”
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The new patent, which builds on the foundations of the old, lays out all the many ways in which the air suspension may raise or lower — drivers could simply tap preset heights on the touch screen or by voice command; the system can also allow for preset locations, determined by GPS, to cause the vehicle to raise or lower; larger areas could also be set, referred to as geofencing, where the car may raise to more effectively deal with speed bumps, for example , and then lower again as it leaves that area. Of course, the patent still talks about lowering when the vehicle reaches a certain speed to improve aerodynamic efficiency.
While setting these raising and lowering parameters can sound intimidating, the prompts from the car actually make the whole process pretty painless. Basically, upon adjusting suspension height, it will ask whether you would like this action to be performed every time that location is reached, or not. What could be simpler? Well, for one, the car won’t ask you if you’d like the car lowered at the same spot in the future if you’ve previously told it to raise in the future on the approach to that spot. For example, if you confirm to the car that you’d like it to raise for a set of speed bumps in the future, when you tell it to lower after the bumps, it will assume you will want it to lower there in the future as well and won’t ask for confirmation.
If all this sounds a bit tedious, it should be much less so in the actual usage of the technology. Certainly it’s far less tedious than reading the twenty-three published pages of patent#US20180095543. (Just trust us on this one. Do not attempt. Repeat, do not attempt.) Just know, as you reach your steep driveway and your Model S or Model X automatically lifts its body to avoid scraping, that Tesla has a patent covering the action, and states in its abstract that it is: “A method of automatically adjusting the ride height of a vehicle each time the vehicle is in a particular location is provided, where the automatic ride height adjustment is based on location and ride height information previously gathered from a user.”