Actually, Siemens has been researching electromechanical valves for some time, and while I am unfamiliar with the current state of their project, back in 2000 they had a software controlled solenoid system that allowed "soft landings" of the valve. (The system was capable of positional encoding, and could decelerate the valve as it reached the target position)JeffersonRaley said:Apparently the challenges come from magnetic interference from the massive solenoids required, and from the fact that the valves tend to destroy themselves because they "slam" open and closed. The ability to do this is one of the drivers behind the move toward higher voltage electical systems. I believe that BMW is working on it also.
Renault used pneumatically operated valves on their very successful F1 V-10 engines about 10 years ago.Knute said:I have also heard of a system that BMW was experimenting with for Formula 1, in which the valves were pneumatically operated.