A new urban vehicle concept, the Schaeffler Mover is one of the main players of the 11th Schaeffler Symposium (Schaeffler Kolloquium 2018). For this vehicle designed for an entirely autonomous operation, Schaeffler has developed a compact wheel module that integrates the propulsion and the chassis components. Called the “Intelligent Corner Module”, it allows great manoeuvrability of the vehicle while offering great comfort for passengers.
The “Schaeffler Mover” technological platform is designed in such a flexible way that it can be transformed into different vehicle structures, from a robotic taxi to an autonomous delivery vehicle. With this launch, Schaeffler meets the challenge of guaranteeing the mobility requirements of people living in the big cities, the company said in a statement.
By 2050, two thirds of the world population are expected to live in cities. This concentration will change the way people move around the city or how goods that meet daily needs are supplied. In this sense, autonomous and electric vehicles play a key role, especially the new design of the robot taxi or the “People and Goods Mover”, which complement the public transport of suburban cities or even replace it.
Schaeffler provides the technical basis for this concept of urban mobility with its new “Schaeffler Mover”. With the propeller and transmission housed in each wheel hub and 90-degree steering, it offers a novel platform for the most diverse vehicle concepts such as, for example, robot cabs or autonomous transport vehicles.
Schaeffler is developing the feasibility study of this vehicle and throughout this year plans to develop new advanced prototypes with cabin and air conditioning.
The “Schaeffler Mover” technological platform is designed in such a flexible way that it can be transformed into different vehicle structures, from a robotic taxi to an autonomous delivery vehicle
The propulsion and chassis components are grouped in the “Schaeffler Mover” occupying little space in a compact unit, the “Intelligent Corner Module” of Schaeffler. This module, mounted on all four wheels, is comprised of the engine mounted on the wheel hub, the suspension of the wheel, including the springs, and the actuator for the electromechanical steering.
The wheel module steering is performed as a “Steer-by-Wire” electromechanical system. The shape of the wheel suspension chosen allows turns of up to 90 degrees. This allows the vehicle manoeuvring in narrow alleys or to park laterally in small spaces to allow passengers to get on and off. Its turning radius, less than five meters, makes the vehicle move in a very agile way in urban traffic. Furthermore, the vehicle can rotate on its axis.
Each of the four electric motors, with an operating voltage of 300 volts, provides a continuous power of 13 kilowatts and a maximum power limited in time of 25 kilowatts
The traction engine of the wheel module, made as a permanently magnetized synchronous machine, is a variant of the engine mounted on the wheel hub developed by Schaeffler in 2013 during the initial project. In the current design for the “Schaeffler Mover”, each of the four electric engines, with an operating voltage of 300 volts, provides a continuous power of 13 kilowatts and a maximum power limited in time of 25 kilowatts. The nominal torque of 250 Newton meters per engine can be doubled momentarily, the company continues.
“Reliable, flexible and comfortable, the” Schaeffler Mover “meets the essential requirements for an automated urban vehicle. An explicitly developed driving dynamics regulation allows each wheel module to be controlled individually, combining the functions of the regulation of the driving dynamics (ESP), torque vectoring, and four-wheel steering. ”
In this way, the lateral movements can be done almost without transverse forces noticeable by the occupants, something very pleasant for example for the passengers who are reading. Meanwhile, this propulsion concept guarantees high availability and safety in case of accidents. All the software to regulate the propulsion and steering comes from Schaeffler, including an integral safety concept.
Schaeffler module’s high degree of integration has more advantages. The propulsion and the chassis require less space in total, and the area that remains free offers more room for passengers and freight surface for goods. The space created for the battery and auxiliary groups allows the vehicle to have compact dimensions. These in turn may also vary. Finally, the vehicle can also be manufactured as a longer and wider variant, without having to make modifications to the drive and the chassis.
The modular structure of the “Schaeffler Mover” fulfils the condition of performing several transportation tasks both of people and goods with a very uniform chassis. The structure, which can be equipped for each application, can be quickly separated from the platform, in which all the necessary technology for driving is integrated. Only a part of the sensors necessary for autonomous driving is found in the additional structure.
The interconnection in autonomous urban vehicles is an essential condition for them to function without problems. Schaeffler experts have developed a digital twin of the vehicle, which represents a copy of the real vehicle in the cloud. Thanks to a continuous analysis of the status and operation data, the future demand for long-term maintenance can for example be recognized. “The vehicle designed consistently for interconnected operation fills a crucial gap in the current range of the automotive industry,” says Schaeffler Technology President Peter Gutzmer.