If it’s up to doctoral student Laurenţiu Encică, cars of the future will zoom by on electro-magnetic suspension. This system shall replace the combination of shock absorbers and springs used in today’s cars, which is cheap, but not optimal.
Encică’s reseach focused on using a combination of permanent magnets and electro-magnetic coils. The permanent magnets provide passive suspension, much like the good old mechanical suspension system. The electro-magnetic coils add an active component to the mix, allowing the system to respond to changing road conditions much faster than current systems.
Don’t expect Encică’s electro-magnetic suspension to be under your car any time soon, though. Measuring about 20 by 80 centimeters, the prototype he built is still a bit too bulky to fit under an average car and further research will be neccessary to make the design smaller and less energy consuming. Encică expects it will take another five to ten years for his system to hit the road.