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Schaeffler and Paravan sign JV for drive-by-wire

By Simon Warburton | 8 August 2018

Schaeffler Group has inked a joint venture with Paravan to develop drive-by-wire technology subject to regulatory approval by Germany's Federal Cartel Office.

The JV – to be known as Schaeffler Paravan Technologie - is the further development of Paravan's Space Drive drive-by-wire technology and the development and sale of mobility systems.

As part of the transaction, the joint venture will acquire Paravan's Space Drive technology, while Schaeffler Technologies will have a 90% stake in the new company.

Space Drive was developed by Paravan to help drivers with physical disabilities by replacing cumbersome mechanical vehicle control systems with fully electronic systems. Alongside electronic accelerator and brake activation, Space Drive features steer-by-wire functionality, which enables vehicle steering by purely electronic means, thereby eliminating the need for a steering wheel, steering column and associated mechanical linkages.

Steer-by-wire is a key enabling technology for self-driving cars, for which safe and highly reliable steering is a fundamental requirement. Even in part-time autonomous passenger cars with steering wheels, the space saved by eliminating the steering column opens up new possibilities for vehicle and cab interior design.

Space Drive features triple redundancy with a statement from Schaeffler noting it: "Is currently the only integrated drive-by-wire solution in the world to be manufactured in accordance with the highest quality and safety standards including certification according to the extremely exacting ISO 26262 ASIL D functional safety standard."

The new joint venture company will have its operational headquarters in Aichelau and Herzogenaurach and will be headed by a team comprising Paravan founder, Roland Arnold as CEO, and Dirk Kesselgruber, head of the business division Chassis Systems at Schaeffler and one other, yet-to-be-decided, employee of the Schaeffler Group.

The Schaeffler Group will contribute its Schaeffer Mover technology to the joint venture. Schaeffler Mover is a concept for a small, rolling chassis which is fully electric and can be combined with various body versions to support a range of different urban mobility and transport applications.