A new patent that was just granted to General Motors last November could be of particular interest to fans of the Cadillac Escalade and other full-size GM SUVs with optional air suspension. The patent, which bears the catchy title “Process and System for Correcting Longitudinal Roll From Offset Load Using Active Roll Control”, describes a clever method for mitigating body roll on air suspension-equipped vehicles using air springs and active sway bars.
Here, the phrase “from offset load” is important; this is more than just a system for mitigating cornering body roll in real time. Active sway bars already accomplish just that. Instead, this patent specifies that the system might initialize by “detecting a static offset roll, and executing the vehicle leveling event… based upon detecting the static offset roll.” So if your Cadillac Escalade is transporting something especially heavy, which is loading up the suspension on one side of the vehicle more than the other, this system can theoretically compensate.
What we’re envisioning is a system that reads the current state of the suspension at vehicle startup and, by adjusting the air springs and applying “offset torque” (in the patent’s own language) with the active sway bars, levels the vehicle with the ideal air spring firmness on both sides. Presumably, the active sway bars then continue to function as usual while driving, albeit with a one-sided bias to continue supporting the mitigation of the longitudinal roll.
One of the more interesting passages in the patent is one that specifies that the system may be employed by a pure-electric vehicle, in which event drivers would have the option of turning it off to conserve battery power and extend range. This could imply that we could see this technology on upcoming GM BT1 Platform vehicles like the electric Cadillac Escalade IQ and longer Escalade IQL.
Active sway bars use motors, after all, and those motors necessarily draw current from the battery. Granted, corporate patents are always sure to cover as many bases as possible – variations on the invention and its functionality, potential applications, etc. – to ward off would-be copycats. Just because GM mentions electric vehicles in this patent does not necessarily mean the system is bound for an EV.
But it would be a fitting bit of tech for, say, the pure-electric Cadillac Escalade IQ/L, don’t you think?