Drive-by-wire system moves closer to high-volume production
At the beginning of September, Schaeffler signed an investment agreement with China's Hunan province in a move aimed at supporting and facilitating autonomous driving in China using Schaeffler technologies. Under the agreement, both parties will jointly develop a mobility ecosystem for intelligent vehicles in the provincial capital of Changsha. Schaeffler's role in the venture will revolve mainly around the further development of its Space Drive technology, its drive-by-wire system, and the Schaeffler Mover, a mobility concept featuring Schaeffler Intelligent Corner Module technology. Alongside all of this, Schaeffler is planning to set up a new R&D facility in Hunan province. It will be the second R&D center operated by Schaeffler Greater China, and its focus will be on developing technologies for tomorrow's intelligent vehicles.
"With the establishment of Schaeffler Paravan Technologie, Schaeffler has optimally positioned itself for the future," explained Matthias Zink, CEO Automotive OEM at Schaeffler. "We want to play a decisive role in shaping the mobility of the future with the Space Drive key technology and the innovative Schaeffler Mover vehicle concept."
"We have set up a partnership that provides benefits for both parties," explained Roland Arnold, CEO of Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG and founder of Paravan GmbH. "We have reached the first milestones and established the basis for the further development of the Space Drive technology with a view to high-volume production. The Schaeffler Mover was successfully showcased as a groundbreaking self-driving technology platform at the IAA in Frankfurt."
"The start of volume production of this system is planned for 2021," added Zink. "We have already started specific projects with numerous customers who will implement the components used in the Schaeffler Mover, such as the Schaeffler Intelligent Corner Modules and Space Drive. We see ourselves as a chassis integrator here, supplying drives and drive control systems to higher-level vehicle integrators."
The drive-by-wire technology was demonstrated by the Audi R8 LMS GT3 actively competing in the DMV Gran Turismo and Touring Car Cup (DMV GTC). The Audi R8 LMS GT, equipped with the Space Drive steer-by-wire system, made its racing debut in the DMV GTC season finale at the Hockenheimring at the end of October, and was among the front runners in the two DMV GTC races. The concept vehicle, which has no mechanical connection between the steering unit and the steering gear, was the first vehicle of its kind in the history of motor racing to receive approval from the German Motor Sport Federation (Deutscher Motor Sport Bund – DMSB) in June.