The vrooming sound, the tense creases on the forehead and that one leap with absolute control with which a Forumla1 racer begins the race. The adrenalin starts skyrocketing with just the vrooming noise. But have ever wondered what kind of Launch Control mechanism makes the driver stay in such strong control of the vehicle? Wonder if you can own one too? It’s quite a possibility now.
Recent developments in automobile electronics has powered regular cars with launch control technology. This feature is now available in high-performance cars with big motors such as Tesla Model S P100D, Porsche 911, BMW M series, Lamborghini Huracan, Nissan GTR and Ferrari 488. Since launch control provides maximum acceleration to a vehicle in stationary mode itself, it delivers maximum performance from the time the wheels begin to roll.
This technology isn’t restricted to cars alone. Superbikes such as the popular BMW S1000R, Yamaha R1, Suzuki GSX-1000R, and KTM 1290 super Duke R also use launch control.
How does launch control work?
Launch control operates using an onboard computer program running in sync with an electronic accelerator. The software makes calculation according to the engine specifications, accelerating the vehicle smoothly and as fast as possible, without the tires skidding or any detrimental effects to the engine.
Launch control sets into motion when the vehicle is started. It disables automatically once the vehicle is in motion. The purpose of the launch control system is to aid drivers to rush with the maximum speed possible and to control the vehicle during launch. The system also reduces detrimental effects on the transmission and the clutch due to irregular revving of the engine. Thus, to make the most out of the traction and power of the engine, launch control is implemented in high-performance vehicles. It goes without saying that this feature should only be used in a controlled environment, and the engine needs to be at an optimal temperature.
What’s powering launch control technology?
In 2017, Jaguar Land Rover Limited published a patent disclosing a system for launch control in vehicles with an internal combustion engine with or without an automatic transmission. The invention talks about shift control strategy of the transmission having an internal combustion engine. The launch control unit is used to engage the shift control strategy on receiving a torque demand greater than or equal to a set torque for a predefined time when the brake is released.
In 2015, Nissan published a patent EP2843266A1 that discloses a lock-up clutch mechanism and a device by which all the power of the engine is delivered to the wheels when a launch control request has been initiated. A program in the ECU of the vehicle sets the engine rotation speed to a predetermined value and then locks the clutch with the engine. This transfers power directly to the wheels. This method is restricted to vehicles having a combustion engine powering the vehicle.
In 2015, GM Global Technology published a patent disclosing a system of dual clutch transmission vehicle’s launch control system. The patent revealed a technology where the vehicle will consist of two sets of clutch attached to two transmission shafts with alternate gears for smoother transition of gears. A Transmission Control Module (TCM) will switch gears when in automatic mode according to engine speed, and determine the inertia and acceleration of the engine. The TCM will also calculate a clutch torque for the particular input clutch used for vehicle launch as a function of the actual engine torque and the product of the inertia and the acceleration, comparing the calculated clutch torque to the commanded clutch torque.
In 2005, Ford Motors published a patent disclosing an assembly for hybrid vehicles which will aid in the easy launch of the vehicle from rest. The vehicle, according to the patent, will consist of an internal combustion engine, transmission, electric induction motor, a clutch for connecting and releasing the engine and transmission, and a controller to control the state of engagement and disengagement of the clutch and the torque produced by the motor during launch. The motor shall work independently at lower speeds and throttle positions for smooth power delivery. At higher speeds, the engine can rev up delivering power along with the electric motors.
The growing popularity of electric vehicles combined with the luxury statement of launch control is sure to revolutionize the joys of riding a bike or driving vehicles.
(Featured image is intended for representational purpose alone and has been sourced from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Audi_S1_EKS_RX_quatto_meets_Audi_quattro_R6_(1980)_(33349480804).jpg)