Premiere on the Nordschleife: Nico Rosberg tests steer-by-wire
After the acid test of the Porsche Cayman 718 GT4, which successfully drove the 24h race at the Nürburgring without a mechanical connection in the steering, the shareholder of TRE GmbH and Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg sat down in the steer-by-wire cockpit of the Audi R8 LMS GT3 from Schaeffler Paravan and subjected the space drive technology carrier to an endurance test on the Nordschleife. This was the first high-speed drive for a GT3 racing car without a mechanical connection between the steering unit and steering gear on the world's most demanding race track.
"I didn't feel a single disadvantage, even curbs or minor vibrations were noticeable. I would very much like to find out more in detail: how exactly you manage to map the input so precisely from the tyres to the steering wheel. That's a huge challenge in terms of software and sensor technology," says Nico Rosberg after his first drive in the Audi R8 LMS GT 3. "This technology will play an important role in future vehicle development. Without a steering column, you have an enormous gain in space and can freely design the interior."
I didn't feel a single disadvantage, not even curbs or minor vibrations. I would very much like to find out more in detail: how exactly you manage to map the input from the tyres to the steering wheel so precisely. That is a huge challenge in terms of software and sensors.
"We are delighted that Nico Rosberg sat in the car himself to get his own impression of the steering behaviour of the bolide on the race track. His verdict is another important confirmation of our work and an incentive at the same time," says Roland Arnold, CEO of Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH.
The background to the test was the planned closer cooperation between TRE GmbH and Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG with a view to developing new vehicle concepts. "It is important to get a feel for the technology yourself, which you want to develop further together," says Eckardt Döhrer, Managing Director of TRE GmbH, headquartered in Neustadt an der Weinstraße.
"With the chassis specialist TRE, we have an important development partner, especially in the area of testing, simulation and development of chassis concepts. I see important points of contact here. Space Drive, currently the only road-approved digital steering technology, has already laid an important foundation stone for future vehicle development," says Arnold, who developed Space Drive from mobility for the disabled. "That this technology is resilient, we have sustainably proven at the 24h race. These drivers have also reported that they feel virtually no difference to conventional steering and are seeing the first benefits."
"We are the specialist for chassis development, vehicle dynamics, rolling chassis, up to series development. Our focus is on the implementation of such systems as well as simulation on the test bench. We have already worked together on the Schaeffler Mover. Since we also have a racing history, it makes perfect sense to advance such projects together when it comes to simulations, for example," explains Döhrer. "In feedback, for example, the tyre plays an important role as a link between the road and the steering. With different tyres or road surfaces, for example, we can simulate very specific driving behaviour. These are important topics for cooperation in order to develop the system closer to series production."
"The elimination of the steering column through steer-by-wire opens up many facets for the further development of future vehicle models," says Roland Arnold. "The area of New Mobility is a very important one, especially for Nico Rosberg, and the Space Drive steering technology is a very important component here, along with alternative drive concepts, which is a great fit for us," emphasises Döhrer.
With chassis simulation and steering control, but also with the overall integration of new technologies in vehicle concepts, there are important interfaces for both companies, which must now be further expanded. One important goal is to shorten the development process. The first step has been made!