Schaeffler is mapping out a future in which steering wheels are no longer needed. It is doing so by enhancing a product called Space Drive, which was originally developed to help people with disabilities regain their mobility. Through its joint venture, Schaeffler Paravan Technologie, the German supplier is turning Space Drive into a key part of Level 4 and 5 autonomous systems that can take over full control of the car. Schaeffler Automotive Technologies CEO Matthias Zink discussed this big change and explained why becoming is Tier 0.5 supplier is within reach in an interview with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Nathan Eddy.
The rising responsibility given to Tier 1 suppliers has led to discussion of whether the largest players would be considered for an even higher category: Tier 0.5. Will Schaeffler rise to that level?
If you look at the rise of e-mobility, and you are supplying the e-motor, plus the gear set, power electronics and software, you are getting closer to this Tier 0.5 level. In addition, as automakers change their software structure, the layering of responsibility will be more seamless, at which point may reach this Tier 0.5 structure. We still have to figure out who is doing what, who will be responsible for cybersecurity, who is doing which kind of software module. On the powertrain side, we can imagine delivering a kind of skateboard that includes the battery and wheel hub motors. Then, we are even more than a Tier 0.5 supplier. There will be a new kind of work split. You will not have 60 control units for each and every functionality.