BERLIN -- Schaeffler and autonomous driving technology specialist Mobileye are teaming up on a self-driving shuttle project that will pair Schaeffler's engineering expertise in drivetrain and chassis with Mobileye's knowledge of driver assistance and autonomous systems.
The customizable vehicle platform will be available starting in 2023 and combines Schaeffler's rolling chassis modular platform for new mobility concepts with Mobileye's Drive self-driving system.
For the steering and drive components, Schaeffler will offer a variety of variants, from a simple drivetrain through an e-axis and central steering to the use of four "Schaeffler Corner Modules," which could be implemented based on customer requirements.
The corner modules allow for a steering angle of up to 90 degrees and have been developed in for series production and scalability.
They include the wheel hub motor and the wheel suspension including air suspension, which makes it possible to lower the vehicle for entry. The corner modules also include the actuator for the electromechanical steering and a brake.
Mobileye's Drive perception system offers two independent subsystems (cameras and radars plus lidars) for what it calls "True Redundancy."
The company's Road Experience Management AV mapping technology allows for a range of geographic deployments thanks to proprietary, crowdsourced AV maps of the global road networks.
These maps continuously and automatically updated using data gathered from mass-market advanced driver-assistance systems.
Matthias Zink, CEO of automotive technologies at Schaeffler, told Automotive News Europe that the company had been studying the concept of an autonomous people mover for some years, folding in the concepts of 90 degree steering and a holding chassis.
"When discussing strategy, we asked ourselves if we really wanted to do everything on our own," he said. "Do we look into radars and lidars and software on the top level, or do we rather go bottom up and says, we develop the scalable skateboard platform with battery, with steering elements, and we take a certain responsibility."
He then started talks with Johann Jungwirth, vice president of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) at Mobileye as well as a former top executive at Volkswagen Group, Apple and Daimler.
"We said, 'Well, that is a pretty good fit in terms of interfaces'," Zink said. "So, that is how it came into play. As this unfolds, we will have to see whether we need a third or fourth partner."
Zink said it remains to be seen who will be building the cabin on the chassis or whether a third party is doing part of the production.
"If you do not look into these new fields, you will never get there," he said. "With a strong, innovative team such as Mobileye and our bottom-up guys, we have shown the desire to go into this. So, let us see how that continues."