Poland supports the automotive cluster in Tychy where there is a Free Trade Zone

Poland supports the automotive cluster in Tychy where there is a Free Trade Zone

Nexteer says it is evaluating its steer-by-wire (SbW) system with unnamed OEMs as it moves to a production date for the technology by 2022/23.

With SbW, the mechanical connection between the road wheels and the steering wheel is replaced with electronics and actuators on the steering column and rack. The system, supporting both manual and automated driving, opens new possibilities for safety features, vehicle light-weighting and packaging flexibility. 

"We are working with some OEMs on the pre-development phase with SbW," Nexteer VP COO, EMEA and South America, Herve Boyer told just-auto at the supplier's Tychy plant in Southern Poland. "There is one application today, which is a kind of prototype where it is backed up by mechanical link and the idea is to get rid of that.

"So, yes, everything is getting validated. We have some prototype cars and some tests in Sweden and we are confident. First start of production is expected in 2022/23. The real benefit is we have infinite possibility of [a] combination of driving [and] feeling, that is the beauty.

"The regulatory part is driven by us and the OEM. The OEMs are keen on developing this technology. We are working in partnership and [with] the prototype programmes to validate the technology.

"We were the ones to propose it to the OEMs and we targetted that quite rapidly."

Nexteer maintains its SbW emulates the 'feel of the road' and offers a performance range from sporty to luxury.  In addition the supplier says its system's variable steering ratio enhances manoeuvrability, as well as factors in Nexteer's SbW steering feel.

"When we started, Nexteer had one simple question: What will people want to experience in steering control during varying stages of semi- and fully autonomous driving?" added executive director of Research & Development, Jeff Zuraski.

"This question led to others as we tried to imagine all the nuances of this uncharted territory. As we painted a clearer picture of the evolving role of steering in a semi- and fully automated world, we started creating solutions that led to our suite of technologies."

Nexteer's Tychy plant operates in a Free Trade Zone focused on the automotive sector and has received support from the Polish Ministry of Development for the European Technology Centre.

The supplier recently unveiled a new production facility in Kenitra, Morocco. Initially, Nexteer will use the facility for manufacturing Single Pinion-assist Electric Power Steering (SPEPS) systems and plans to extend manufacturing to driveline products in the future.

The18,000 m2 facility will be the company's first in Africa and once production starts in 2019, it will be Nexteer's 25th plant in its global manufacturing footprint.