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A racing car without a steering column using a steer-by-wire system has been unveiled by Germany’s Schaeffler. The Audi R8 LMS GT3 – using Space Drive technology – has been premiered at the 24 Hours Nürburgring.

It’s the first racing car of this kind to be approved by the DMSB (German Motor Sport Federation). 

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Gutzmer, Deputy CEO and CTO of Schaeffler AG says: “Motor sport is all about extremes, so it is common practice to bring technologies into play in this area. This calls for endurance, and enables us to check requirements and system features.” 

He adds: “Motor racing is an ideal test environment for the ongoing development of the entire drive-by/steer-by-wire system based on Space Drive. With a view to the future of autonomous driving, these kinds of technologies are going to be indispensable. The test under motor racing conditions is an absolutely crucial prerequisite for readying these solutions for volume production.”

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Racing driver Markus Winkelhock says: “If the car swerves you have to be able to make very fast steering movements to the left and right. I was doubtful at first as to whether the motors could cope with these requirements. But it wasn’t a problem: the steering is unbelievably fast and unbelievably precise.”

Schaeffler says Space Drive is an important key technology for Level 4 and 5 autonomous driving. It aims to have the system ready for volume production by 2021.

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