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IAA Mobility 2021

The Space Drive 3 steer-by-wire system paves the way to autonomous mobility

Pfronstetten-Aichelau | 26 August 2021 | Automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler is consistently expanding its commitment in the areas of intelligent chassis systems towards autonomous mobility concepts. At the IAA Mobility, the company, together with Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG is premiering Space Drive 3 Add-On, the third generation of the steer-by-wire system - a multi-redundant key technology for autonomous driving - and is thus marking its entry into industrialisation. In the field of mechatronic systems, Schaeffler is showing for the first time a Hand Wheel Actuator (HWA) with force feedback module as well as the mechatronic rear axle steering system (iRWS) for more safety and comfort when driving. The new "Rolling Chassis" offers a platform for entirely new forms of autonomous mobility. "With our chassis solutions, we are becoming the preferred technology partner for highly integrated chassis solutions," says Matthias Zink, Member of the Executive Board of Schaeffler AG responsible for Automotive Technologies. "In combination with our electric drive technologies, this results in groundbreaking innovations for autonomous mobility concepts. The basis for this is our decades of component and system expertise, which we are now transferring to the vehicle level."

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Steer-by-wire system Space Drive ready for series production

The Space Drive steer-by-wire system from Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG is a key technology for autonomous driving by transmitting driving and steering commands to the wheels in the form of electronic signals via cable. Originating from mobility for the disabled, the technology has road approval, is already successfully in use in the field with more than one billion kilometres driven and is also being further developed in racing under extreme conditions. At the IAA, Schaeffler Paravan is presenting the next generation with Space Drive 3 Add-On, marking its entry into small series production. The redundant system relies on a consistent safety concept and meets the highest requirements according to the ISO 26262 safety standards. The AUTOSAR-based system enables a direct connection to the vehicle electronics as well as communication and network architecture, which allows integration into already existing driver assistance systems. "Space Drive 3 is a major milestone for us. It allows us to offer our customers a production-ready steer-by-wire system with maximum scalability and flexibility. The next important step is then the integrated solution," says Roland Arnold CEO of Schaeffler Paravan Technologie. "In addition, all steering parameters can be recorded. This makes it possible to communicate back to the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) in automated driving vehicles."

Space Drive 3 is a big milestone for us. It allows us to offer our customers a production-ready steer-by-wire system with maximum scalability and flexibility. The next important step is then the integrated solution.

Roland Arnold, CEO of Schaeffler Paravan

Mechatronic solutions for more comfort and safety

For the first time, Schaeffler is also showing a Hand Wheel Actuator (HWA) with force feedback module, which replaces the classic steering wheel with a mechanical steering column with mechatronic actuator technology. This makes it possible to optimise the installation space and enables completely new interior concepts - for example, by stowing the steering wheel in the console, which will play a particularly important role in (partially) autonomous driving. In addition, the system enables the suppression of unwanted disturbances, such as impacts from the road, as well as the realisation of new driving dynamics functions through a variable steering ratio. The modular and scalable design allows the system to be adapted for different vehicle classes and applications. In combination with the Space Drive steer-by-wire system from Schaeffler Paravan as well as mechatronic actuators on the steering gear, the result is intelligent front axle steering (iFWS).


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Development approach From Track to Road

Racing is traditionally regarded as a development accelerator. The engineers at Schaeffler Paravan are taking advantage of this approach to further develop the Space Drive steer-by-wire technology - under the toughest conditions. The technology carriers used already manage without any mechanical connection between the steering unit and the steering gear. The Space Drive system has been approved by the German Motor Sports Federation (DMSB) since 2019 and will be firmly anchored in the DTM regulations from 2021. In this environment, the Schaeffler Paravan technology carriers are tested by renowned development drivers, including, since 2019, Markus Winkelhock, Bernd Schneider, Timo Glock or, in the rally field - where the loads are even significantly higher - European Rally Champion Armin Schwarz. In addition to GTC Race, DTM and Rally, the technology carriers have already been used in 2020 and 2021 at the ADAC Total 24h Nürburgring. "It is our goal that our development has a common thread. When used in motorsport, there are many new ideas in terms of steering parameters. At the end of the day, it is important that we are able to record the road conditions and also feed them back through the system with a view to autonomous driving," says Hubert Hügle, CTO of Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG. "This enables us to feed back the corresponding information to the vehicle or a corresponding driving automation system. This is the field we are in, and nowhere better than in the fierce competition of motorsport." However, this is not just about developing a new technology: it is about breaking with 125 years of automotive history, because the steering of the future is digital! The foundation for this is laid on the race track and then transformed into the production vehicles - From Track to Road.

Space Drive comes alive at the Driving Experience

Visit Schaeffler and Schaeffler Paravan at the IAA Mobility in Hall B3, Stand A80 and gain an insight into the world of technological applications in Hall B04, Stand E51 as well as at the Driving Experience at the racecourse near the fair. Take a seat yourself in the Space Drive Cockpit and get an idea of the steering technology of the future, whether behind the force feedback steering wheel or with the joystick. A shuttle will take you to the test track. The press conference will take place on 6 September 2021 at 13:45 and can be followed online at http://schaeffler.gomexlive.com/.



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Anke Leuschke