As part of the transaction, the joint venture will acquire Paravan’s Space Drive technology. Schaeffler Technologies will have a 90 percent stake in the new company. A leading drive-by-wire technology, Space Drive was developed by Paravan to help drivers with physical disabilities by replacing cumbersome mechanical vehicle control systems with 100 percent reliable, fully electronic systems.
Alongside electronic accelerator and brake activation, Space Drive features steer-by-wire functionality, which enables safe and reliable 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 completely new possibilities for vehicle and cab interior design. The solution features triple redundancy and fulfills the ISO 26262 ASIL D functional safety standard. Consequently, is the only system of its kind to be licensed for on-road use in multiple countries worldwide, while at the same time having the potential for technical and commercial viability in large-series automobile production. SPACE DRIVE also has an unblemished record of over 500 million kilometers of accident-free driving.
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 Dr. Dirk Kesselgruber, head of the business division Chassis Systems at Schaeffler, and one other, yet-to-be-decided, employee of the Schaeffler Group.