Tenneco's Digital Damper.
Although dampers have historically been based on a fluid or gas, this being the 21st century, Tenneco (tenneco.com), which offers a variety of shock absorbers and struts through its Monroe brand (which, speaking of centuries, celebrated its centennial last year), has developed a digital damper, DRiV.
The simple question one might have is "why?"
And the answer to that is that compared with conventional dampers, DRiV has algorithms that provide up to 16 damping profiles. The company is looking at full-frame vehicles (a.k.a., "light-duty pickups") as an initial target market, as the adaptive damping is good for both ride and handling, be the bed loaded or not.
An interesting aspect about the setup of the DRiV: the damper doesn't require an electronic control unit. Electronics, sensors and software are located in the damper, and there is a simplified gateway module to communicate with the vehicle via the existing CAN bus and the DRiV damper via a private network to provide cybersecurity protection (what someone would do were they to hack into your suspension setup isn't immediately clear, but better to be safe than sorry).
All of this means that the system can be integrated into an existing suspension system without having to make major revamps to the mechanical or electrical architectures.
Ben Patel, Tenneco vice president and chief technology officer, says, "The damper's simplified design and ability to quickly adapt to road surfaces and conditions make it an excellent option for manufacturers looking for an easy-to-integrate solution for improved ride performance in any vehicle segment."
At this point, particularly that light truck segment.
Caption: A cutaway view of the Tenneco DRiV digital damper. Designed so that it can be fitted into existing suspension designs so that major rework isn't necessary to integrate it.