DETROIT - Delphi Automotive Systems Corp. has a new four-wheel steering system for big sport-utilities that could make the vehicles significantly more maneuverable.
Quadrasteer improves the handling and stability of full-sized vehicles by electronically controlling the direction of the rear wheels.
At moderate speeds, the rear wheels remain straight. But at lower speeds, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction of the front wheels. That helps shorten the turning circle, on average by about 20 percent. That leads to easier parking, even with a trailer.
At higher speeds, the rear wheels turn in the same direction as the front wheels. That means improved stability, handling and control on the highway, especially when hauling a trailer.
Quadrasteer, introduced at this month's Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit, is expected to debut on a production vehicle early this decade. Delphi won't name the customer.
Delphi also announced two new contracts: a $40 million contract to supply seat belts to General Motors for a future full-sized van program, and a $90 million contract with Renault SA to provide compact variable compressors for two future global vehicles.
For suppliers such as Delphi, the future is all about new technologies such as Quadrasteer. Electronics, especially, helped Delphi log $33 billion worth of future business in 1999.
Its new Integrated Safety System, which the company also featured at SAE, brought in contracts worth $3 billion; its mobile multimedia products gained another $2.5 billion.
'We expect that by 2005, electronics and other high-tech systems will account for 60 percent of our business, versus approximately 40 percent today,' said J.T. Battenberg, Delphi CEO. Among Delphi's high-tech offerings is its new Integrated Safety System.
The system is actually a collection of 50 current, soon-to-be-available and future technologies that can work together in a vehicle to prevent collisions or at least minimize the risks to vehicle occupants if a collision occurs.
'Fully realized, the ISS would offer occupants a virtual electronic cocoon with 360 degrees of enhanced protection around the vehicle,' said Dave Wohleen, executive vice president of Delphi's electronics and mobile communications sector.
Delphi also expects to cash in big on the industry rush to put information and entertainment electronic systems in vehicles.
Battenberg said forecasts project 25 to 30 percent annual growth in the mobile multimedia segment.
Four new Delphi multimedia products will hit the market during the 2001 model year: an integrated radio navigation system, a rear-seat audio-video entertainment system, an infotainment personal computer, and a satellite digital audio radio service.