Key component for automated driving: HELLA launches latest generation of steering electronics

Series production of steering control modules as fail operational system is successfully started

HELLA, the internationally positioned automotive supplier has further expanded its leading market position in the field of steering electronics. The company has secured further major orders and successfully commenced series production of the latest product generation of steering electronics. The new modules, which are designed as a fail operational system and thus represent an essential key component for automated driving, are manufactured at the HELLA electronics plant in Amexhe, Mexico.

A North American automotive supplier of steering and drive components will initially be supplied with this component and further customer projects for fail operational designs are currently under development with start of production due in 2022. HELLA has been producing steering electronics for various customers for more than ten years and the 30 millionth steering control module rolled off the production line in Hamm (Germany) at the beginning of the year. In addition, since 2017, the products are manufactured in China, with further sites in Germany and Romania also starting production.

“Our business success is primarily due to the fact that, as a technology leader, we offer a high-performance, scalable product that can be easily adapted to different customer requirements,” says Björn Twiehaus, who is responsible for the Electronics division on the HELLA Management Board. “Our steering electronics also increase vehicle efficiency and are indispensable components for automated driving as fail operational systems.”

Steering electronics are the basis for electric power steering. By assisting the steering with the aid of an electronically controlled electric motor when required, they improve the energy efficiency of vehicles. The basic version of the fail-safe system also enables certain driver assistance functions such as lane departure warning or automated parking. Fail safe means that a system detects when it stops working and then enters a passive safe state. This is not sufficient for more highly automated driving functionalities, in which there is no longer any interaction with the driver in certain use cases. In such cases, the steering system must rather be designed as a fail operational system. It must therefore ensure, via a redundant architecture, that in the event of a potential fault in the electronics, the power steering support is still maintained and vehicle control is unrestricted.

In pre-development projects in the area of steering control, HELLA is also working on new product solutions for steer-by-wire functions, which are also required for the more advanced development stages of automated driving and open up new design possibilities for the vehicle interior, for example.

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