Grand Blanc’s CNXMotion Develops Brake-to-steer Technology with New Functions

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Conceptual illustrated image of self driving cars on a multi lane highway.
CNXMotion in Grand Blanc has expanded its brake-to-steer technology with new software functions. // Stock Photo

Further developing technology architectures from its parent companies, Nexteer Automotive and Continental Automotive, CNXMotion, an auto parts manufacturer in Grand Blanc, has expanded its brake-to-steer (BtS) technology with two new software functions.

The new offerings provide backup safety layers for electric power steering (EPS), steer-by-wire (SbW) systems, and across all SAE levels of driving automation, ranging from Level 1 — driver assistance — to Level 5 — full driving automation.

“These new brake-to-steer software functions further enable safety redundancies across all electric power steering applications and SAE driving levels without the cost and complexity of additional hardware,” says Greg Katch, general manager of CNXMotion. “Our advanced brake-to-steer technology can help ensure the safety net is always on through driver effort support and steer-by-wire support, as well as automated driving support.”

This flexible, cost-efficient software uses electronic braking and steering as an additional layer of steering control while performing the steering task dependent and independent of the driver.

When the BtS system is paired with a traditional EPS system, driver effort support adds another safety layer and provides an additional 25 percent reduction in torque. BtS enables the braking and powertrain systems to contribute to lateral control to reduce steering efforts (SAE levels 1-3).

The BtS brake-by-wire support replaces the mechanical steering connection between the hand wheel and road wheels with algorithms, electronics, and actuators. For this steering system, the BtS SbW support function adds another safety layer by translating the driver’s steering inputs into brake system control of the vehicles lateral motion.

CNXMotion’s original BtS function, launched in 2020, pioneered the use of electronic braking as another layer of steering control for traditional, advanced autonomous vehicles (SAE levels 4-5), earning an automotive news PACEpilot innovation to Watch in 2021.

“Brake-to-Steer’s expanded software functions highlight how collaboration through our CNXMotion joint venture with Continental leads to innovation in motion control solutions and further enhances the steering safety net for all assisted and automated driving levels,” says Robin Milavec, president, CTO, CSO and executive board director of Nexteer Automotive.

Benefits for drivers and OEMs include extra safety with steering, flexibility with the BtS software functions covering all types of vehicles with or without a driver and eliminating additional hardware cost due to the portable software functions.

“As the industry progresses toward highly automated and autonomous vehicles, brake-to-steer’s advanced functions allow for critical safety features across all levels, enabling increased safety for all road users,” says Lutz Kuehnke, head of safety and motion business area of Continental Automotive, North America. “CNXMotion’s Brake-to-steer technology offers a flexible and cost-effective way to achieve and to prioritize safety needs by leveraging existing systems in the vehicle, e.g., Continental’s 1-box brake controls unit MKC1, and eliminating the need for additional components.”

In 2017, CNXMotion was established as a joint venture between Continental and Nexteer to innovate motion control solutions for advanced applications and increase research and development activities to the parent companies. It focuses on research and development activities such as rapid evaluation, design, and prototyping.

Continental Automotive, located in Auburn Hills, develops technologies and services for a sustainable and connected community of people and their goods.

Nexteer Automotive, also headquartered in Auburn Hills, is a motion control technology company accelerating mobility to be safe, environmentally friendly, and exciting.

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