September 5, 2006

Siemens VDO plans to integrate drivetrain and suspension directly into wheels

Regensburg, Germany – Automotive supplier Siemens VDO has announced it is working on plans to integrate the drivetrain, steering, shock absorbers and brakes directly into the wheels of future cars. Called eCorner, the system is the basis for “Drive-by-Wire” automobiles, which the company says “will become a common sight on roads in 15 years,” and which “translates into improved fuel mileage, more safety and greater convenience.”

The company’s researchers say that the traditional engine architecture will be replaced by electric wheel hub motors, acting directly on the wheels to accelerate the car, possibly eliminating internal combustion engines. The eCorner system will make it possible to develop vehicles on which the drivetrain, steering and brakes provide common support during critical driving situations, helping to avoid potential collisions.

In the eCorner design, the tire contains a sensor for monitoring inflating; electronic circuits will eliminate hydraulic steering; and the wheel hub motors will act as auxiliary brakes, with energy reclaimed and used to charge the vehicle battery.

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