Willow Springs International Raceway is one of the fastest trails in the west. Perched on the edge of the Mojave Desert, about two hours north of Los Angeles, the 2.5-km circuit offers curving curves, requiring slow braking and welcoming acceleration.
Since I am what we would call technically "passionate amateur", it's a good thing that my race has its back turned or rather the front. The new Lamborghini Huracán EVO that I spent a few hours whizzing around Willow earlier this month may have the most advanced dynamic control system of all legal sports cars. It analyzes the condition of the vehicle every 20 milliseconds and predicts what the driver will do next, setting up vehicle systems to better manage each challenge. So, while I usually saw the steering wheel and put the car at the best spot along each race track, the EVO softens this process, thus providing a less frenetic driving experience and more agreable.
Ordinary, every driving assistance system (traction control, traction control, adaptive steering, etc.) has its own computer, which responds to information from the driver and other systems. The EVO, an upgraded version of the Huracán worth $ 261,000, with 640 horsepower and a time of 2.9 seconds ranging from 0 to 60 seconds, gathers all the calculations and all the controls in one single centralized computer for vehicle dynamics. This allows a much faster and more synchronized control of elements such as the braking of the wheels by the stability control system, the reactions of the suspension to the track ripples and the distribution of torque between the wheels. All modern performance cars manage these variables, but this is particularly good, which requires fewer corrections of steering, throttle and braking by humans.
The result is a system, dubbed Lamborghini Dinamica Veicolo Integrata (LDVI), which produces an almost clairvoyant harmony between the driver and the machine. For example, while I'm heading for the blind, fast, right-handed turn six, the car collects data from accelerometers positioned in the center of gravity of the EVO, just under the console between the seats, as well as my inputs on the pedals and the steering wheel. He notes that I quickly tap on the brakes and I turn quickly, knowing that I enter a right turn quickly. I can see that I'm going up on a dry sidewalk and, as I climb on the ridge and the suspension lights up as the car lifts, everything has changed again.
Along the way, the computer adapts the responsiveness of four-wheel steering in anticipation of my next move, including turning the rear wheels in the bend to make the car easier to get through. He installs the rigidity of the suspension when the car lifts up, settles down and leans down the hill. It balances the torque distribution, stability control and traction control in the AWD system so that the car is pointed in the right direction and safely planted. What would normally be a White Knuckle moment that could cause panic or over-correction becomes a smooth course with zero hiccups, with the bare minimum of flying instructions necessary for me to determine where to go on the other side of the hill.
Lamborghini says that this system not only represents a technological pivot of the typical behavior of cars, but also a concept. "We are now able to synchronize the brain of the car with that of the driver," says Maurizio Reggiani, technical director of Lamborghini.
This can be sometimes confusing, however. The new system often configures the car so that you have to adapt to yourself. If I need 20 small corrections to cross a corner because I did not learn the race line or spent a lot of time in a car, the EVO allows me to go to 10. this. However, it only takes a few moments, and once I start to anticipate these movements, I can work with them to my advantage. And Alessandro Farmeschi, CEO of Lamborghini for the Americas, assures me that the car will not fight to hold a line if the driver has to turn around to avoid an accident. "The processing speed is so fast that all the information from the view of the obstacle is taken into account in the behavior of the car," he explains.
The LDVI does not use the camera or GPS data to analyze the road, which other cars do primarily for their comfort or safety. It assumes that your intention is based on your actions and the dynamics of the car. "It's really the first of what you could call artificial intelligence in a car," says Reggiani. "We create a connection between your intention and what the car will do."
After a day spent watching Willow Springs in the Huracan EVO, I can attest to this duality, even if the stand observers only see me in the driver's seat.
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