Lippstadt, January 17, 2018.
The ever-stricter regulations for reducing CO2 emissions require fuel-efficient products. Moreover, autonomous driving requires reliable and precise steering systems. Since 2010, the lighting and electronics expert HELLA has been producing electronic control units (ECU) for Electrical Power Steering (EPS) to support and promote these trends. They allow needs-based steering assistance by means of an electronically controlled electric motor. This saves energy. At the production plant in Germany, the 20 millionth unit has recently rolled off the assembly line.
Control systems not only facilitate vehicle maneuvering and improve fuel efficiency, but also form the foundation for implementing various functions of automated driving, such as lane keeping assistance or automated parking. “In addition, for partially or fully autonomous driving, active safety systems are increasingly required to increase road safety”, says Frédéric Laure, Vice President Head of Program Management Steering at HELLA. Therefore, HELLA continuously develops its Electronic Control Units and offers them in a Fail Operational version. This means that in the event of a fault in the electronics, the system will not be shut down but the EPS will continue to work. With the Fail Operational function, HELLA has laid an important foundation for the ECU being suitable for level 4 automated driving. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) defines this level as being able to operate without driver interaction under certain conditions.
Over the coming years, HELLA will expand its ECU global production capacities. The automotive supplier is currently producing them in Germany and China. By 2019, the company intends to also produce the units in Romania, Mexico, Brazil and India. "This will bring us even closer to our customers, allowing us to fulfill their requirements faster”, says Frédéric Laure. Units can thus for example be individualized according to customer requests. With HELLA steering solutions, automotive manufacturers will benefit from a scalable and flexible business model. Starting with a built-to-print service, HELLA also offers further development services. Customers can also choose a ready-mounted product where HELLA takes over the mechanical integration as well as hardware and basic software design.
HELLA is one of the three leading suppliers of EPS systems and Electronic Control Units in Europe. Automotive manufacturers across the world rely on its longstanding expertise. The range of vehicles equipped with HELLA's EPS control unit comprises medium-sized, premium and the sports car segments.