Mazda has officially unveiled its G-Vectoring Control system – a handling aid that aims to make racecar-like cornering precision something that every driver can enjoy.
Developed over an eight year period, G-Vectoring Control (GVC) is a software system that detects steering inputs and slightly restricts engine torque output to shift vehicle weight forward slightly, adding more downforce to the front tyres.
That in turn leads to more direct handling and swifter reactions from the car which are interpreted more readily and accurately by the human body in control.
The system forms a part of Mazda’s Hashiri Yorokobi theory – the joy from driving, or more accurately “the fundamental thrill of pushing past our own biological performance envelope.”
Essentially Mazda has taken a step back from engineering cars, and taken a closer look at how humans are engineered. An extensive investigation revealed that cars that react in a human-like way were easier, and more enjoyable to control.
Every time a car moves, be it forwards, or to the side, human occupants attempt to right themselves, keeping their heads upright, with the range of motion to do so channeled through the muscles in the neck.
Mazda’s goal was to make the reactions of its vehicles match the anticipatory movements of the human body – that means faster reactions, but also smoother directional transitions.
The idea – minimum jerk theory – is the same one used to describe human movement, whereby every action we make is smoothly controlled, never abrupt.
Applying the process to an automotive application led Mazda to create GVC – at the heart of the system any steering input, even some of less than one degree is enough to prompt the system to alter the engine’s torque characteristics.
The change is so minimal that vehicle occupants won’t notice it, but the flow on effect results more precise steering control with around 5kg of extra front wheel down force added to stabilise the vehicle.
The time taken for a steering input to become a movement is thus reduced – it all happens in less than 50 milliseconds, and the human expectorial rection matches what the vehicle actually does.
The system works anytime the car has a throttle input, either from the driver, or from cruise control, but doesn’t change how the car reacts off throttle, thanks to the weight having already been shifted forward.
GVC is also unrelated to, and independent of electronic stability control, which will continue to operate on Mazda’s range as it has previously.
Mazda claims the system can be added to front, all, or rear wheel drive vehicles, however Mazda engineers were slightly less keen to point to the MX-5 as a recipient of GVC.
Although the system itself does not require any hardware changes to the vehicle, most models in the Mazda range will be given a slight revision to steering and suspension to better complement the GVC system’s behaviours.
Australian customers will first see GVC in the facelifted Mazda3, due to arrive before the end of this year. Mazda6 is the next likely candidate, with every model expected to receive the system in line with its respective update schedule.