Steer-by-Wire – thyssenkrupp patent for autonomous driving
Engineering - that means tinkering, research, trial & error. Creativity and perseverance are essential for developing new innovations. thyssenkrupp invests in this progress by tradition. To protect our solutions from imitators, thyssenkrupp filed 308 new patents in the past fiscal year, 16% more than in 2021. Among them are technologies for steer-by-wire - a technology essential for autonomous driving.
Steer-by-Wire: Data-based steering systems to replace mechanics
Of these 308 patents, 88 come from thyssenkrupp Automotive Technology alone. The segment therefore holds the pole position among thyssenkrupp's patent applications. One reason for the high level of innovation in the Automotive segment is the importance of autonomous driving for the mobility of tomorrow. To make it possible, our experts are working intensively on the use of steer-by-wire in series production.
But what does steer-by-wire mean? Steer-by-wire is a steering system that no longer uses a continuous mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the front axle. Instead, electrical signals are transmitted via data cables. In addition to autonomous driving, this also enables a completely new design and use of space in the car. This is because with steer-by-wire, steering is no longer tied to a specific location, but can be adapted to the preferences of the person driving.
Autonomous driving needs autonomous steering
Among other things, thyssenkrupp Presta is working on making the steer-by-wire steering system ready for production at a 3,000 square meter test center. All competencies for autonomous driving in the areas of development, vehicle body and prototype construction are pooled here.
For autonomous steering to be ready for series production, however, various challenges must first be solved. For steer-by-wire, this means that the elimination of mechanical steering means that many new intelligent solutions and safety concepts must be found. After all, it must always be possible to maneuver an autonomously driving vehicle safely and bring it to a standstill under all circumstances.
These challenges of autonomous driving include, for example, the after-steering effect in highly dynamic - i.e. fast and dangerous - driving maneuvers, for which thyssenkrupp Presta, together with a partner, has developed and patented effective control processes and solutions to ensure optimum control of the vehicle even in difficult situations. Another patent deals with vehicle control at very slow speeds and enables the generation of differential drive torque between the two rear wheels. To make maneuverability more efficient and safer, the technology uses the vehicle's existing drive and braking systems. Intelligent control of these systems ensures optimum steering in all possible situations. As a result, the vehicle can drive better and more stably in curves. Patents have also been filed for rear-wheel steering and torque vectoring on the rear axle, as well as for emergency steering operation.
Intellectual Property: Why patents protect competition
Inventing innovative solutions and technologies is no easy task. Often, a lot of time and also money is behind the innovative ideas. One more reason why they need to be protected by patents. By applying for patents, the intellectual property of inventors is protected and it is ensured that they profit from their idea and not those who copy it. Ultimately, this not only improves the company's market position, but patents also help to ensure that competition remains fair.
Read more about our patent work at thyssenkrupp and other exciting innovations in our stories.