Steering control ECU is fail operational for automated driving

July 06, 2021 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Steering control ECU is fail operational for automated driving
The automotive supplier Hella has developed a new generation of its steering ECUs which are designed to be fail-safe. Major orders have already been received and series production has started.

Hella's new steering control ECUs are designed as a fail operational system and thus fulfil an essential requirement for automated driving. Steering electronics form the basis for electric power steering. By supporting the steering as needed with the help of an electronically controlled electric motor, they improve the energy efficiency of vehicles. At the same time, in the basic version as a fail-safe system, they enable certain driver assistance functionalities such as lane departure warning or automated parking. Fail Safe means that a system recognises when it is no longer functioning and then switches to 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. In other words, it must ensure through a redundant architecture that in the event of a potential failure in the electronics, support for the power steering is still maintained and vehicle control is unrestricted.

Within the scope of pre-development projects, the electronics supplier in the field of steering control is also working on new product solutions for steer-by-wire functionalities, which are also necessary for higher development stages of automated driving and, for example, open up new design possibilities in the vehicle interior.

The devices are manufactured in Hella's electronics plant in Amexhe, Mexico. Initially, a North American automotive supplier of steering and drive components will be supplied; further customer projects for Fail Operational versions are currently in development with series production starting next year. Hella already produces steering electronics for various customers in Germany, among other places. At the beginning of the year, the 30 millionth steering control module rolled off the production line at the Hella plant in Hamm. In addition, the products have been manufactured in China since 2017. In addition, further locations in Germany and Romania are to


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