Assisted & AD Enablers, Electrification, Innovation, New Mobility

Nexteer’s Portfolio-to-Megatrend Alignment: Enabling the Future of Mobility

The topic of future mobility consistently dominates news alongside how this quickly shifting landscape impacts the movement of people and goods.

Much of this news can be categorized into megatrends such as electrification, driver-assist and automated driving, software-defined vehicles (SDVs) and connectivity. Nexteer innovates in support of these trends (and others) through our technologies that are featured on millions of vehicles around the world – as well as other developing technologies not yet in production. While I would be excited to share some of what’s in our R&D pipeline, I must stick to innovations that are already in production or near production that we’ve already disclosed publicly. With that, here are just a few ways our technology is helping usher in the future of transportation.

Electrification

The transition to EVs has been the focus of OEMs around the globe as they look for cleaner, more efficient solutions to our mobility needs. From the chassis perspective, this can present new challenges as EVs have heavier load requirements due to heavy batteries, as well as new packaging and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) needs as the noise of the road isn’t masked by an internal combustion engine.

On the steering front, Nexteer offers advanced steering technologies that are capable of handling EVs’ heavier load requirements, plus packaging and NVH needs. For example, our High Output Electric Power Steering (HO EPS) systems can handle the heavier loads with added steering capacity, while Steer-by-Wire (SbW) replaces the mechanical connection between the steering wheel and roadwheels with an electronic connection – helping make room for other components under the hood.

In addition, Nexteer’s Driveline technologies include high efficiency joints to help extend battery life and battery charge, while lightweight axles are designed with NVH performance in mind. EVs are very quiet and don’t mask the sounds of the road, so it’s important to have quiet parts in the chassis for increased driver comfort.

For many OEMs, the transition to EVs is having a “clean sheet” effect where they are using this opportunity to rethink Electrical/Electronic (E/E) architectures and leapfrog beyond existing legacy designs. As part of this reinvention, the industry is evolving from hardware-defined vehicles to SDVs, which is leading to a revolution in advanced safety, performance and convenience.

SDVs and Connectivity

Vehicles are becoming more similar to smartphones on wheels. They can communicate with drivers and other vehicles, detect dangers on the road and respond to over-the-air (OTA) software updates from OEMs. As software becomes the main driver of safety, performance and convenience features, partnerships between OEMs and suppliers – such as Nexteer – are playing a critical role in creating the SDVs of the future.

With integrated software and hardware solutions, our steering technologies optimize steering assist and feel and enable advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) features such as park assist, lane keeping and others. It also offers a steering experience that can be altered to match the vehicle’s brand, so it feels sporty, luxury or like a pickup truck.

Nexteer’s steering software solutions support vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity, OTA updates and crowd sourcing. For example, our road surface detection software, developed with Tactile Mobility, identifies unsafe road surfaces and gives a heads-up communication to trailing vehicles, while our tire detection software can also monitor vehicle health to alert drivers to upcoming maintenance before it becomes an issue.

Vehicle health management solutions like these identify potential issues before it interrupts a vehicle’s performance – allowing the driver to potentially save time and money and schedule repairs at their convenience. These solutions also potentially reduce an OEM’s warranty costs and enhance future product development while also fostering consumers’ brand loyalty.

Solutions such as these offer greater value to drivers as their vehicles advance and evolve long after they drive off the dealer lot. These software solutions also strengthen relationships between OEMs and their drivers over the lifetime of the vehicle and help them differentiate their brands’ driving and ownership experiences.

ADAS and Automated Driving

Both software and connectivity help support ADAS and automated driving, and our advanced motion control technologies are helping automakers add new safety and convenience features for drivers.

EPS is a key ADAS feature enabler. EPS translates data from the vehicle’s electronic control unit (ECU) into precise mechanical steering functions. Many Nexteer EPS-enabled ADAS features are already on the road today such as park assist, lane keeping, lane departure warning, traffic jam assist and more. Our EPS systems also integrate backup hardware components and multi-path processing software to build redundancy and ensure the safety net is always on.

SbW takes steering to the next level by enabling features not possible with traditional steering systems like enhancing stability control, shortening braking distances and enabling other technologies such as Quiet Wheel™ Steering. SbW is also a preferred enabler for Automatic Emergency Steering.

In addition, our Stowable Steering Column increases driver convenience and comfort during autonomous driving, or while parked, by allowing the steering wheel to retract into the dashboard – offering the driver more room and creating new possibilities for cabin space.

As future mobility continues to evolve, advanced motion control solutions will be needed to solve challenges across these megatrends, and Nexteer is committed to supporting our customers along this journey to accelerate mobility to be even safer, greener and more exciting.

 

Robin Milavec
Robin Milavec is Nexteer’s president, chief technology officer (CTO), chief strategy officer (CSO) & executive board director, responsible for facilitating global alignment and teamwork, while spearheading the strategic direction of Nexteer and ensuring technology roadmap alignment with industry megatrends to proactively capture growth opportunities.