Although much of the focus at Frankfurt is on the car manufacturers, many suppliers will use the event to showcase new technology. Automotive News Europe's Edmund Chew reports on what some of the major suppliers have planned for next month's show.
On its home ground, Robert Bosch GmbH will introduce three major new systems at Frankfurt.
Co-developed with DaimlerChrysler, Bosch's electro-hydraulic braking (EHB) system will be make its debut at the show. The German supplier describes EHB as a 'first step toward brake-by-wire systems' and says the concept is ready for series production.
Bosch is also showing a cockpit module that integrates information, communication, entertainment, comfort and safety features. Body and drivetrain electronics are networked with vehicle-control and driver-information systems.
The company is also showing its gasoline direct injection system - or BDE, as it is referred to in Germany. The system will compete with Mitsubishi's GDI technology. Mitsubishi first introduced its gasoline direct-injection system to Europe in the Carisma, which is built at NedCar in Born, the Netherlands.
Bosch is not alone in developing GDI technology. Siemens AG is also showing its gasoline direct-injection engine management system fitted to the Renault Megane. Siemens is also using Frankfurt to show an electromechanical valve train.
Outside the engine bay, Siemens will display a near-distance sensing radar - a system that provides 'all-round cover for pre-crash detection' and parking assistance, according to the company.
A fingerprint security system for automotive applications, which will be ready to go into production within two years, also debuts on the Siemens stand.
Delphi Automotive Systems will unveil a diesel direct-injection system. It includes the first 'closed-loop' control system for diesels, which allows much tighter control of combustion, claims the company.
Delphi is also showing four new door-module concepts with different levels of trim and hardware, right up to a complete door with soft interior trim and exterior sheet metal.
Johnson Controls Inc. is showing Vios, its new concept car, which 'promises fundamental changes to small-car interiors,' according to the company.
'The new car offers individual interiors determined by situations and requirements, and presents new ideas on the future of the integrated interior,' says Johnson Controls.
Johnson Controls is also showing the 'PlaySeat,' which it has developed in cooperation with toymaker LEGO. The center is integrated into the backrest of the middle seat of the rear row. When pulled forward and folded down, it can serve as a drawing or game board.
The Concerto computer control is another interior system from Johnson Controls set to make its debut at Frankfurt. It consists of an on-board computer which is part of the central console, where all the 'infotainment system' functions are organized. A reconfigurable display located in the middle of the instrument panel enables all information and entertainment functions to be monitored quickly and accurately, says the company.
Valeo SA's Frankfurt package includes a series of demonstration vehicles to showcase new technology. The French supplier will show a BMW 530d as its 'comfort' vehicle, displaying innovations such as a new wiper system with a rain sensor, a new lighting system which gives 'enhanced visual comfort,' a new thermal system, and an electronic parking assistance system.
Valeo is also using the Renault Megane to demonstrate its new solutions for energy conservation. Its innovations include an electronic thermal management system, a robotic gearbox, and an electronic 'Start-Stop' system, which shuts down the engine when a car stops at a red light or in traffic and starts it again quickly and silently.
Valeo says the 'Start-Stop' system offers fuel savings of 5 percent in urban conditions.
ZF Friedrichshafen AG will show its 6HP26 six-speed automatic gearbox. The gearbox, which will go into production in 2001, offers a 5-7 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared with a five-speed box, according to the company. The box also offers improved acceleration and a 13 percent weight reduction.
ZF has also succeeded in reducing the number of parts used, from 660 in the five-speed box to 470 in the new six-speed system.