Schaeffler is embarking on a partnership with Robert Bosch Automotive Steering to expand its intelligent Rear Wheel Steering portfolio. Under the partnership, Schaeffler is providing mechatronic iRWS systems, and Bosch is contributing software and electronics in the form of steering control units.
The mechatronic iRWS unit improves ride comfort and safety which offers several key benefits in today’s rapidly urbanizing world. By turning the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels, it reduces the turning radius, significantly increasing maneuverability in tight spaces, such as when parking in busy urban settings. Moreover, the rear axle’s assistive steering action enhances handling, stability and ride comfort and improves vehicle safety. Schaeffler’s Rear-Wheel Steering system uses lightweight technologies and features a maximum overall weight of just eight kilograms. At the heart of the system is a planetary roller gear that performs a self-locking function, ensuring that the rear wheels do not change direction without steering input from the driver. The planetary screw drive also delivers superior efficiency. Moreover, the system’s design is acoustically optimized, making it particularly well suited for use in low-noise electric vehicles.
Bosch’s contribution to the partnership is the steering control unit, an integrated module comprising control electronics, an electric motor and software. Scalable and modular in design, this unit is fundamental to many of the driver-assistance functions in Schaeffler’s new rear-axle steering system. Already a proven performer, the steering control unit has been successfully implemented in millions of front-axle steered vehicles. It features Bosch security for robust protection against cyber attacks. Functions and updates are supported by over-the-air technology.
Bosch has already partnered this technology in numerous customer applications. Based on signals from the steering wheel torque sensor, the steering control unit’s integrated electronic controller calculates the optimal steering assist, which is then delivered by the integrated electric motor. In addition to the torque applied to the steering wheel by the driver, the calculation takes into account numerous other vehicle parameters.