WABCO Holdings Inc. signed a long-term cooperation agreement in late August with Nexteer Automotive to collaborate on the development and supply of active steering systems for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles using Nexteer MagnaSteer Actuation Technology, its advanced steering assistance product.
According to a release from the companies, WABCO and Nexteer will integrate MagnaSteer’s technology with Sheppard’s suite of power steering gears for heavy-duty commercial and specialty vehicles. As previously announced, WABCO has signed an agreement to acquire Sheppard, subject to customary U.S. regulatory clearance. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter 2017.
Through an existing exclusivity agreement between Nexteer and Sheppard, WABCO can offer what it calls a compact, cost-effective “breakthrough” technological solution that enables active steering control for CV manufacturers in North America. In addition, WABCO has access to this technology for all medium- and heavy-duty commercial truck markets outside North America. According to the release, this access is on an exclusive basis, except in China.
“This cooperation agreement marks another key milestone as WABCO advances toward enabling self-driving commercial vehicles,” said Jorge Solis, WABCO President, Truck, Bus and Car Original Equipment Manufacturers Division. “We have a clear line of sight on the fundamental technologies—such as active steering, active braking, electronic stability control and other advanced driver-assistance systems—which will enable significant intermediary steps on our industry’s path to realize fully autonomous driving.”
Full dynamic control of commercial vehicles—lateral and longitudinal—is necessary to achieve the industry’s vision of autonomous driving. The acquisition of Sheppard and the cooperation agreement with Nexteer are key capabilities toward providing lateral control through active steering, which complements WABCO’s technologies in longitudinal control through active braking, stability and suspension controls.
Nexteer’s MagnaSteer is engineered for flexibility as a modular design that fully integrates within Sheppard’s gear product line. It also scales efficiently for manufacturers of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses. This active steering solution promises to make vehicles safer and more comfortable to drive compared with conventional steering gears. At the same time, active steering enables further ADAS capability with steering correction, lane keeping and lane centering functionalities, among other advancements.
“We are excited to partner with WABCO,” said Brian Darling, Product Line Executive, Nexteer Automotive. “Our industry-leading MagnaSteer will be fully integrated into the strategy of this industry leader on an exclusive basis in the medium- to heavy-duty commercial truck market to create opportunities for further growth.”