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Schaeffler is official sponsor and supplier of drive-by-wire technology for driverless “Indy Autonomous Challenge”

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Schaeffler’s patented “Space Drive” technology – developed by Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG – 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.

2021-01-07 | Fort Mill, South Carolina

  • Schaeffler selected as official sponsor of the $1.5 million “Indy Autonomous Challenge” collegiate engineering competition
  • Autonomous race cars to rely on Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG’s patented “Space Drive” drive-by-wire technology
  • Schaeffler to participate in the all-digital 2021 Consumer Electronics Show (CES)

Global automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler is an official sponsor of the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC), a $1.5 million prize competition for universities to compete in the world’s first autonomous head-to head, high-speed race at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The company will supply its patented “Space Drive” drive-by-wire technology developed by Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co.KG.

Led by Indianapolis-based Energy Systems Network and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the IAC is a broad collaborative effort between public, private and academic institutions that challenges university students around the world to imagine, invent, and improve a new generation of automated vehicle software. The IAC offers a $1 million first prize to the winning collegiate team that is able to program an automated race car to outrace and outmaneuver the competition in a wheel-to-wheel, high-speed race scheduled for Oct. 23, 2021, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

For the first time, race cars will be competing against each other at the world-famous “Brickyard” – home of the legendary Indianapolis 500 automobile race – without any drivers behind the wheel.

Space Drive – originally developed by Paravan GmbH to provide mobility solutions for the disabled – 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. This makes Space Drive a key technology for autonomous driving, for which steering with the appropriate functional redundancy in accordance with ISO Standard 26262 ASIL-D is a basic requirement. Space Drive is the only system of its kind approved for public road use in several countries – including 18 U.S. states – according to ECE-R-13, ECE-R-79, ECE-R-10 (ISO 16750-P5). “Developing autonomous driving technologies and pioneering new approaches to motion are part of our company’s DNA,” said Roland Arnold, founder and owner of Paravan GmbH and CEO of Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG. “This dovetails perfectly with the Indy Autonomous Challenge’s mission to inspire the next generation of STEM talent to ‘imagine, invent and prove a new generation of automated vehicle software.’ We are, therefore, excited to be a part of the Indy Autonomous Challenge.”

Schaeffler, in partnership with Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG, will provide its Space Drive system – including the necessary hardware, software, training and support – to all of the collegiate teams selected to compete in the IAC. The Space Drive driving and steering system is a three-stage, multi-redundant motor driver and control system that will serve as the central control unit for converting the digital signals into actual driving signals on the road. This technology will be used equally throughout all the teams’ race cars.

Space Drive has already proven itself under the toughest conditions on the racetrack, albeit with a human behind the wheel: In last year's Gran Turismo and Touring Car Cup (GTC) racing series in Germany, a total of five GT race cars – along with a Ford Fiesta 5R in the rally field – were equipped with this innovative drive-by-wire technology. In addition, the #58 Porsche Cayman GT4 became the first car in the history of the 24-hour endurance race at Germany’s storied Nürburgring to compete without a mechanical connection between the steering unit and steering gear – where it ultimately finished second in its class (SP7).

The IAC race car will be unveiled at the all-digital 2021 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which opens its virtual doors January 11-14. Schaeffler will be participating at this year’s CES, where the company will showcase its e-mobility, e-motor and autonomous driving technologies.

About Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG
Schaeffler Paravan Technology GmbH & Co. KG specializes in the development of fail-safe drive-by-wire systems ("Space Drive") and chassis system solutions. Based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, with a production facility in Pfronstetten-Aichelau, Schaeffler Paravan Technologie is a joint venture (90% Schaeffler and 10% Roland Arnold) that was founded in October 2018. The Space Drive system, developed by Paravan founder Roland Arnold, has been completely transferred to the joint venture where it will be industrialized. For vehicles that will drive autonomously in the future, Schaeffler Paravan is also developing a "rolling chassis" with intelligent corner modules – featuring integrated Schaeffler wheel hub motors, brakes, Space Drive steering (90 degrees) and suspension in one system.

About Energy Systems Network
ESN was founded in 2009 to accelerate the pace of energy and transportation technology development and commercialization. Through ESN, companies and institutions from across Indiana and around the world – including Cummins, Duke Energy, Delphi, Toyota, Bolloré, ITOCHU, Toshiba, Vectren, MISO, Purdue, Ivy Tech, Notre Dame and many others – have showcased and advanced new technologies and solutions through industry research, pilot projects, collaborative convening, and the development and deployment of innovation models. Examples include: The Hoosier Heavy Hybrid Partnership to reduce emissions/fuel consumption of heavy trucks; Project Plug-IN to enable all-electric commutes powered by a smart utility grid; MicroGreen to supply military bases with reliable homegrown energy; and the Battery Innovation Center to establish a single point of access for battery research, development, testing and commercialization; and Leaper X to use Internet-of-Things (IoT) and advanced analytics to advance on-demand transit solutions. ESN also played leading roles in developing and launching the first and largest all-electric car sharing system in the nation, the largest electric bus fleet and first electric bus rapid transit line, and the first mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) public fleet contract, among others. ESN is based in Indianapolis and part of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP). For more information, visit

Publisher: Schaeffler Group USA Inc.
Country: USA

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