2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 05:39
Schaeffler announced the takeover of Paravan at the beginning of the week. In an interview with Autogazette, Head of Development Peter Gutzmer talks about the reasons for the acquisition.
As Gutzmer said, autonomous driving, together with electromobility, is one of the megatrends in the industry. “It will fundamentally change individual mobility in the future. We as Schaeffler have to be among the best in this area too - and we succeed in doing this with the acquisition of Paravan,”said Gutzmer.
«Advancing the systemic approach»
Gutzmer admitted that so far there has been a competence gap in autonomous driving, "even though we have started to conceptually catch up on this topic with our people mover". After the acquisition of Paravan, the
aim was to “further advance the systemic approach to mechanics, mechatronics and actuators,” said Gutzmer, who is also Deputy CEO of Schaeffler.
Paravan's steer-by-wire concept has triple redundancy
Autogazette: Mr. Gutzmer, Schaeffler has secured the “drive-by-wire technology” from Paravan by purchasing it. What makes the technology so interesting?
Peter Gutzmer: Together with electromobility, autonomous driving is one of the megatrends. It will fundamentally change the individual mobility of the future. We as Schaeffler have to be among the best in this area too - and we succeed in doing this with the acquisition of Paravan.
Autogazette: What will the purchase make possible that was previously not possible?
Gutzmer: The sensors, the software, the so-called ADAS environment and cyber security issues play an extremely important role in autonomous driving, although this cannot be viewed in isolation from the connection to the vehicle's mechanics. For legal reasons, it is crucial that redundant systems must be used here. This is exactly what Paravan's technology focuses on. Roland Arnold and his colleagues have solved this problem with the systematic development and introduction of this technology in vehicles for the disabled. Paravan's “steer-by-wire” concept has triple redundancy on the electronics, mechatronics and software level and thus meets all legal requirements such as the ISO 26262 safety standards with the highest safety level ASIL D.
Paravan technology has passed 500 million driving kilometers
Autogazette: Thanks to its use in vehicles for the disabled, the technology has already been approved. Did that have a major impact on the purchase?
Gutzmer: The existence of global road approvals was without question a decisive aspect. With the technology created by Mr. Arnold, all functional, safety and quality requirements are already met today in order to get rid of a steering wheel and a steering column and to use a vehicle via "drive-by-wire" or "steer-by-wire" worldwide without restriction move.
Autogazette: Would you have made the acquisition without these approvals?
Gutzmer: These street approvals were a decisive criterion. But it was also important to prove that the electronics and software meet the latest quality and safety standards. It should not be forgotten that Paravan has already built 6,000 to 7,000 vehicles for the disabled. Paravan's technology has passed more than 500 million driving kilometers without any problems. This gives us a huge head start in terms of experience and time.
Three to four years faster in mass production
Autogazette: How much time does that save you?
Gutzmer: This means that we can now bring this technology into mass production three to four years faster.
Autogazette: You are setting up a joint venture with Paravan in which Schaeffler holds 90 percent. How does it go on now?
Gutzmer: So far, Paravan's technology has only been available for small series and as a retrofit solution. But Paravan has already started to prepare the next generation of the Space Drive System for large-scale production - and we are now starting with our own mechanics, mechatronics, electronics and software expertise that we have built up with the roll stabilizer or e-mobility to have. For the qualification and large-scale series development of Space Drive III, we can already access prototype systems with road approval. This means that we can quickly go into broad testing and accelerated overall development.
Autogazette: Why do you start a joint venture and not do it alone?
Gutzmer: We made a conscious decision to do so. Mr. Arnold will continue to push his handicapped vehicles. At the same time, he brings his entire IP and his product portfolio into the joint venture and of course his network, his experience and his motivation.
Don't want to become a complete vehicle manufacturer
Autogazette: Did the acquisition give you a competitive advantage in autonomous driving?
Gutzmer: We don't want to catch up with competitors in the field of autonomous driving who are active in the field of sensors and ADAS as well as telecommunications. Our main concern was to be present as a chassis system partner with the addition and expansion of our mechatronic core competence in autonomous driving.
Autogazette: So Schaeffler has so far had a competence gap in autonomous driving?
Gutzmer: Yes, even if we started to catch up conceptually with our people mover. Now we want to use the systemic approach to advance mechanics, mechatronics and actuators. With a view to our people mover, we are concerned with the connection between “drive-by-wire” concepts, innovative mechatronic chassis solutions and, with the wheel hub drive, bringing together chassis and drive expertise. That could be a future business model.
Autogazette: Are you planning to build the People Mover in a joint venture with Paravan?
Gutzmer: It is conceivable that we will also industrialize the people mover as a rolling chassis in this joint venture. But we don't want to become a complete vehicle manufacturer.
We don't want to be the first on the market
Autogazette: Your competitor ZF, together with e. Go, announced the start of a people mover for the end of 2019. When will you be launching yours?
Gutzmer: We'll probably do it later. I assume that we will come with the People Mover in 2022 or later. We don't want to be the first on the market. Our main concern is to get the "steer-by-wire technology" into vehicle construction, to make it suitable for mass production.
Autogazette: The People Mover from ZF and e. Go should offer space for up to 15 people. What does your vehicle look like?
Gutzmer: We want to build a vehicle with a smaller footprint than today's taxi. It should offer space for four people including their luggage. We don't use local public transport, it is supposed to replace taxi traffic in the increasingly crowded cities. My dream of a wheel hub drive is living with this Schaeffler Mover concept.
Autogazette: Do you still experience this dream as Head of Development at Schaeffler?
Gutzmer: (laughs) It is conceivable that I will no longer be in this role in 2022. But I will continue to accompany the topic from whatever position. The wheel hub drive, electromobility, the merging of chassis and drive - these are important innovation steps for Schaeffler and also with my babies, and I won't completely lose sight of them in the conceivable retirement age. It is very important that we have built strong teams that ensure continuity for the further industrialization of these topics.
Quality and care come before speed
Autogazette: On the one hand you are working on the people mover, on the other hand you are working on a bio-hybrid, an e-bike. When will it be on the market?
Gutzmer: Quality and care come before speed. What others bring in this area are play objects. In the middle of next year we will bring a series with a recognizable number of pilot vehicles to the market. We plan to build a larger series in 2020/2021.
Frank Mertens conducted the interview with Peter Gutzmer
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