Corvette’s Active Aero Patents Discovered!

A recent patent publication reveals GM is working on active aerodynamics, probably with the Corvette in mind. 

10 months ago GM filed a patent application for “vehicle ride-height determination for control of vehicle aerodynamics,” which was only published today.

The application depicts a “sensor system configured to detect a height of the vehicle body” which feeds information to a controller mechanism that will alter the aerodynamics of the vehicle based on changes to the body relative to the center of the wheels. Basically, the mechanism will change how the aerodynamic elements interact with the ambient airflow based on what the suspension is telling it.

The controller is programmed with a look-up table establishing a correlation between the detected height of the vehicle body relative to the road wheel and the deflection of the tire, and wherein the controller is configured to determine the deflection of the tire using the look-up table.

 

Several different aerodynamic elements are shown in the patent drawings; a Corvette is equipped with adjustable spoiler, moveable splitter, air dams, diffusers and shutters. It’s unclear if the elements would all work in conjunction or these are simply all the possibilities available with this type of system.

The system seemingly aims to offset suspension travel and the deflection of the tires from upsetting the car’s behavior through downforce. It’s effectively the opposite of what F1 teams aim for through the use of a Jounce-damper or Inerter–where the suspension is used to offset effects of natural pitch and yaw on the race car’s aerodynamic efficiency.

The controller is additionally configured to determine a pitch of the vehicle body along the longitudinal axis and to determine the ride-height of the vehicle using the determined pitch of the vehicle body.

Notably, the Corvette ZR1 was recently spotted hot lapping the legendary Laguna Seca outfitted with at least two different aerodynamic kits, it’s possible GM is working on an active aerodynamic system for its next generation of high performance products. Ron Kiino who handles communications for Chevrolet Performance Cars responded, “we have no comment at this time.” 

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