It is often said that racing is used as a test bed for road car technology. Of course, it’s a cliché that gets aired often, but it’s always accurate. With DOFTEK’s recently released Variable Road Alignment System, it gave us a moment of déjà vu for Formula 1 pre-season testing when Mercedes developed their ingenious two-axis steering system ( DAS).
While we don’t know if this is a direct spinoff idea, it follows the same principles as the unit seen on Mercedes’ latest Formula 1 challenger. Although many are not sure what exactly the F1 system does, it is believed that Thewith Hamilton and Valterri Bottas have the ability to change the toe of the front wheels by pushing or pulling on the steering wheel. At first glance, it seemed like they were getting ready for take off, but all jokes aside, DOFTEK’s Adaptive Wheel Alignment System (AWAS) is essentially a more advanced version of what we saw on the race car.
“Cars today are so sophisticated that they have electronic control for everything except the most important thing that controls contact with the road – the alignment of the wheels,” says the inventor. and co-founder of Doftek Geoff Rogers.
So what are the advantages of the automated road alignment system? In a highway driving situation, rolling resistance and fuel consumption are of the utmost importance. It’s no surprise that sharp turns on the highway are very rare outside of an emergency. That said, performance is not an afterthought for Australian society; The system is estimated to improve handling by at least 15% while simultaneously reducing tire wear and rolling resistance by 10%.
Although the system has not yet been implemented in production, it gives us a glimpse of the exciting road technologies that lie ahead.