Corvette Active Handling System Debuts

Chevrolet Press Release November 6, 1997

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ — The Chevrolet Corvette has a well-
deserved reputation for cutting-edge technology and high performance — all
delivered at a very competitive price. That reputation will soon be enhanced when an optional Active Handling chassis control system (JL4) becomes available on all Corvette models early in 1998, and standard on convertibles with the Indy 500 Pace Car package.

Corvette’s Active Handling system features a unique blend of sensors that are capable of reading steering inputs, vehicle yaw rate, and lateral g force, then activating the vehicle’s brakes on a selective basis to help stabilize the car in emergency maneuvers. When added to Corvette’s well-developed ABS braking and traction control systems, Active Handling greatly enhances the accident avoidance capabilities of the already nimble Corvette. No other sports car has a system like this, and similar but less-sophisticated systems are currently offered on only a handful of high-end luxury cars.

Active Handling works to reduce excessive understeer or oversteer. Understeer is the tendency for a vehicle to “push” or run wide in a corner, and oversteer is the tendency for the back end of the car to swing out in a corner.

As mentioned earlier, the Corvette Active Handling system senses these usually negative conditions and helps the driver overcome them by selectively applying individual wheel braking to pull the car back into line during an emergency maneuver.

The concept is similar to steering a canoe. If the front of a canoe starts turning to the right, it can be brought back on course by dipping a paddle into the water on the left to act as a rudder and brake. Of course, the Corvette Active Handling system is much more sophisticated, so the individual wheel braking happens in less time than it takes for the blink of an eye. Like ABS brakes or traction control systems, Active Handling goes into action only when the car’s limits have been exceeded in some way so it will be relatively transparent to the driver, even in emergency conditions.

The Corvette Active Handling system goes a step further than other similar
systems by giving the driver more latitude before engaging, thereby retaining the more aggressive feel of a true sports car. For the racetrack, there’s even a competition mode that deactivates the traction control part of the system to allow for wheel spin and acceleration — conditions that highly-skilled drivers sometimes find useful on the racetrack. This is a feature not offered on any similar chassis control systems.

As good as it is, Active Handling has its upper limits. At some point, the laws of physics will take over, and at that point, not even the most sophisticated system or driver can prevent a loss of control.

SOURCE Chevrolet Motor Division

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