The automotive suspension system helps to reduce the body roll and improve the ride quality effectively. However, the system which actively controls the vertical movement of the wheels corresponding to the vehicle chassis (vehicles body) through a computer-controlled system is known as the Active Suspension or Adaptive Suspension. It offers a more refined and smooth riding experience. In the passive/conventional suspension system, the profile of the road alone decides or affects the entire movement of the suspension system.
The active system came into existence more than two decades ago. Formula Ones racing Team Lotus first employed the active suspension. However, it had numerous problems such as excessive noise, vibrations, and harshness. It also had an excessive power consumption issue. The manufacturing cost was also very high. So, the manufacturers were reluctant to implement it in passenger cars.
Generally, this system has two main categories: The purely active suspensions and semi-active/adaptive suspension. The active system can be further divided into sub-categories. It uses a kind of actuator which helps in raising or lowering the chassis/body independently at each wheel. However, the semi-active suspension can only vary the firmness of shock absorbers in order to suit the changing driving conditions.
Furthermore, the purely active system works on either hydraulically actuated or an electromagnetic recuperative mechanism. Whereas, the semi-active suspension operates either through the solenoid/valve or uses magneto-rheological damper mechanism.