Sona Comstar has developed an integrated motor controller module (IMCM) for suspension systems that can be used in high-end cars.
The development took place when the R&D team was working with its Belt Starter-Generator (BSG), an enabler for transmitting torque to the engine crankshaft when it’s operating as a hybrid drive motor. According to the company’s leadership, the development has opened up potentially a revenue stream for the company with the new order alone expected to provide about Rs 400 crore of annual revenue.
Vivek Vikram Singh, Managing Director and Group CEO of Sona Comstar told Autocar Professional that while developing BSG systems for the engine, inputs from a customer with regard to an application it is working on for predictive active suspension systems led to this development. The IMCM as well as its software module is part of a larger system being developed by the OEM. The project has been named 'Gliding' internally, Singh said.
According to Singh, the development required a few modifications, most of which were implemented in the software while the motor itself was repackaged by shrinking its size and elongating it.
Many large OEMs, especially those that manufacture high end cars, are said to have developed their own similar systems in-house but for Sona Comstar as a component supplier, the development is a milestone of sorts.
Explaining the IMCM’s features, Singh said the suspension system is designed to sense bump and speed breakers, and then independently respond to all external disturbances. In simplistic terms, the motor generates an exact countering force to mitigate the impact of the uneven surfaces so that the vehicle glides over all kinds of roads. This capability further extends to anticipating oncoming potholes or road disturbances through the geo-spatial software and reacts with “lightning speed” so as to make complete avoidance of motion sickness. The company claims that the technology is several notches smoother than a vehicle without a predictive active suspension.
The development ties in with Sona Comstar's larger business strategy which is develop products by taking the organic root. After several learnings, the company now has decided to own and thereby control its own technologies. Singh revealed that despite not having a single commercial order yet for its BSG, the company managed to add an entirely new stream of revenue which he claims only happens “if one truly understands and owns its technologies unlike in a JV.
According to the company, the predictive active suspension systems do not come cheap and consequently are likely to be used initially in the high-end segment before trickling down, as it happens with most of the technologies. Currently, the addressable market comes to be around 3 million annual volumes, the company adds.
The Gurgaon-headquartered company designs, manufactures and supplies highly-engineered, mission critical automotive systems and components such as differential assemblies, differential gears, conventional and micro-hybrid starter motors, BSG systems, EV traction motors and motor control units to automotive OEMs across the US, Europe, India and China, for both electrified and non-electrified powertrain segments.