PARAVAN SPACE DRIVE 2 – the modern drive-by-wire system
SPACE DRIVE II is a perfectly coordinated drive-by-wire/steer-by-wire system (hardware and software) that incorporates a revolutionary new safety concept. Individually adaptable to an extremely wide range of safety-related applications in the automotive sector, in agricultural technology, construction machine technology, municipal vehicles and special-purpose vehicles, the defence industry and as a separate branch in the disabled mobility sector. The SPACE DRIVE operating system is a three-stage multi-redundant motor-driver and control system for all common electric motors (60 A/DC 12–24 V) in applications with the highest safety requirements. Depending on the field of application and customer requirements, the system can be supplied in subcomponents and specially coordinated software modules. The system is certified in accordance with ISO 26262 ASIL D and is manufactured in line with the highest safety standard IPC A 600. The system is also road-approved for international vehicle types M1, M2, M3, N1, N2 and N3.
What makes up our drive-by-wire system for automated driving?
The heart of our system is a newly developed CPU with an optimally coordinated software package and an innovative and revolutionary safety concept. The CPU and software process digital (CAN/FlexRay/LIN) or analogue input signals (joystick, steering wheel) in real-time with essential vehicle data such as braking signals and speed and then pass these signals onto servo motors to control the accelerator and brake pedal as well as steering in accordance with logical validity checks. As additional subcomponents, we offer a large range of in-house-developed analogue input systems such as steering wheels (steer-by-wire) with digital Force Feedback technology, joysticks or acceleration-braking levers and even rotation handles. High-performance servo motors to control steering, acceleration and braking as well as specially coordinated safety cable harnesses for automated driving complete the comprehensive package that makes up our system. All system components are developed, manufactured and tested in accordance with the strictest automotive standards (ECE-R 13, ECE-R 79 and ECE-R 10). Furthermore, the SPACE DRIVE system is approved for the road.
The safety concept – FAIL-SAFE (fail-safe system performance)
The highlight of the PARAVAN steer-by-wire system is based on a multi-active redundant safety architecture. What lies behind this innovation? As mentioned, input signals are transmitted to the system for processing in analogue or digital form via various interfaces (CAN, LIN, Flex Ray). The heart of this new and revolutionary PARAVAN safety architecture is the fact that three processors immediately take over the task of controlling the vehicle at the same time and simultaneously check their values with one another. All the control signals of the three processors are then compared in a logic comparator (CPLD). In accordance with established criteria, the CPLD decides which processor control signal is selected and is transmitted to the actuators via the three H bridges available. The development of the new SPACE DRIVE II system has been influenced by over ten years of experience that has seen first-generation PARAVAN drive-by-wire systems sold by the thousand.
What advantages does the new PARAVAN system offer autonomous driving?
In addition to the revolutionary multi-redundant safety architecture and the associated fail-safe system operation, the new PARAVAN SPACE DRIVE II offers additional advantages that will not only radically change automated driving but also the driving of the future as a whole. The use of SPACE DRIVE II will make the steering column – one of the main sources of injury within vehicles – superfluous in the future. A mechanical connection between the input device and axle is obsolete with the drive-by-wire concept from PARAVAN. Safety cables and servo motors will take over the function of the pedals and steering column in a reliable and fail-safe manner without the driver having to accept restrictions regarding driving comfort or enjoyment. With SPACE DRIVE II we are already driving similarly quick lap times using steer-by-wire as we would conventionally with a steering wheel and steering column. Initial studies also show that driving with drive-by-wire gives drivers more room for concentration and attentiveness while driving because the complex motor coordination of arms and legs whilst driving is no longer required. With PARAVAN, drivers are more comfortable, more relaxed and safer on the road. The omission of the steering column will also result in completely new interior concepts. More vehicle-monitoring options and the implementation of interactive multimedia applications can be realised using larger display areas. The vehicle can be controlled from the driver’s or the passenger’s side without significant or expensive structural alterations. This means that lightweight vehicles can be built with lower consumption, greater driving comfort and enhanced safety. With the PARAVAN system, the vehicle control system can now be managed by a wide range of input devices thanks to numerous analogue and digital system interfaces. Control via joysticks, GPS, laptop, smartphone, apps and even radio is not only an idea but a reality. The first road trials were successfully completed. The technology enables the use of vehicles in hazardous situations. The driver gets out of the vehicle, sets the control to remote and controls the vehicle from the outside. Thanks to this versatility and the installation of additional sensor systems, even semi-autonomous or completely autonomous driving is no longer a futuristic vision.