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Aussie-developed wheel alignment tech to go global

Doftek's Active Wheel Alignment System has been trialled on Audi's TT RS, but will work on most existing suspension set-ups.

Australian automotive research and development company Doftek has built the world’s first on-the-fly wheel alignment system that is expected to be picked up by a European car brand in the near future.

Called the Active Wheel Alignment System (AWAS), the technology works with existing suspension systems, including MacPherson strut, double-wishbone and multi-link set-ups, and only adds around one kilogram of unsprung weight at each corner.

Replacing the strut top with an electromechanical device allows the wheel’s camber angle to be tweaked on the fly, up to -3.0 degrees, while a similar device also replaces the tie rod for adjustment of the toe angle.

Both devices are controlled by an electronic control unit (ECU), and will run on current 12-volt electrical systems.

The benefits of AWAS range from performance and handling, to improved fuel efficiency, tyre wear and reduced emissions, which in its current form “provides at least: 15 per cent increase in handling performance; 10 per cent reduction in rolling resistance; and 10 per cent reduction in peak tyre temperature”, according to Doftek.

However, the company is working on the next iteration of the technology that will allow wheel alignment changes to occur adaptively, rather than through the button-based, three-stage toggle system is has in place now.

This new-generation system will also improve handling performance by up to 29 per cent, according to the company.

At present, Doftek is trialling the first generation of AWAS on a 2012 Audi TT RS, while it is developing the new tech on a Mercedes-AMG GT.

Having been in development for over two years, Doftek was close to securing an OEM partner from Europe earlier this year, but the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic halted plans from moving ahead.

However, the company still expects to finalise the deal and make an announcement before year’s end on its partnerships.

From a vehicle perspective, Doftek says OEM brands are currently more interested in the reduced emissions and improved NVH applications more so than the performance benefits.