(from DaimlerChrysler Press Release) DaimlerChrysler
is exhibiting a special concept study at the 35th Tokyo Motor Show: the
F 400 Carving is a research vehicle packed with dynamic systems designed
to give the cars of tomorrow and beyond substantially enhanced active
safety, dynamic handling control and driving pleasure.
The main attraction in the F 400 Carving is a new system that varies the
camber angle on the outer wheels between 0 and 20 degrees, depending on
the road situation. Used in conjunction with newly-developed tyres, it
provides 30 percent more lateral stability than a conventional system
with a fixed camber setting and standard tyres. This considerably
enhances active safety, since better lateral stability equals improved
road adhesion and greater cornering stability.
Active camber control boosts the research vehicle's maximum lateral
acceleration to 1.28 g, meaning that the concept study outperforms
current sports cars by some 28 percent.
The active camber control in the F 400 Carving paves the way for an
equally new asymmetrical-tread tyre concept. When the two-seater car is
cornering, the outer wheels tilt inwards, leaving only the inner area of
these tyres in contact with the road. This area of the tread is slightly
rounded off. Meanwhile both the tread pattern and the rubber blend have
been specially selected to ensure highly dynamic and extremely safe
cornering. When driving straight ahead, however, it is the outer areas
of the tyres that are in contact with the road. These areas have a
tried-and-tested car tread pattern, offering excellent high-speed and
low-noise performance. Two different concepts therefore come to fruition
in a single tyre, thanks to active camber control.
The research vehicle's "Carving" epithet symbolises the new technology,
evoking images of the high-speed winter sport in which adepts perform
sharp turns on a specially-shaped high-grip ski.
Less risk of skidding
and shorter emergency stopping distance
The F 400 Carving is something of a
mobile research laboratory for the Stuttgart-based automotive engineers.
They will be using it to investigate the undoubted further potential of
this new chassis technology: besides of-fering excellent directional
stability during cornering, the new technology ensures a much higher
level of active safety in the event of an emergency. By way of example,
if there is a risk of skidding, the wheel camber is in-creased by an
appropriate degree. The resultant gain in lateral stability
significantly enhances the effect of ESP®, the Electronic Stability
Program. If the research car needs to be braked in an emergency, all
four of its wheels can be tilted in next to no time, thus shortening the
stopping dis-tance from 100 km/h by a good five metres.
active hydropneumatic system and light from glass fibres
In addition to active camber control, the
F 400 Carving research car is fitted with other forward-looking steering
and chassis systems, including a steer-by-wire system. Sensors pick up
the driver’s steering inputs and send this information to two
microcomputers which, in turn, control an electrically driven steering
gear. The DaimlerChrysler engineers also charted new territory when it
came to the suspension tuning, and introduced a first: an active
hydropneumatic system that optimises the suspension and shock absorption
in line with the changing situation on the road, all at lightning speed.
The F 400 Carving is also the showcase for a totally new form of
lighting technology developed by the Stuttgart-based researchers: fibre-optic
lines are used to transmit light from xenon lamps beneath the bonnet to
the main headlamps. This technology stands out by virtue of its high
perform-ance and extremely space-saving design. Additional headlamps
positioned on the sides also come on when the car is cornering.
symbolising innovation and emotion
The F 400 Carving is an exciting and
harmonious blend of technology and design. The shape of the sports car –
notably its distinctive wing profiles – provides the necessary room for
the wheels to move when the active camber control is at work during
cornering and, at the same time, emphasises the youthful and
highly-adventurous nature of this concept study. In order to reflect the
research car's high-quality driving dynamics, the de-signers opted for a
speedster concept – incorporating an extended bonnet, a windscreen with
an extremely sharp rake, a short tail end and an interior tailor-made