Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG and Arnold Verwaltungs GmbH signed a basic agreement under which Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG will acquire the remaining 10 percent stake in the joint venture company Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG (Schaeffler Paravan) from Arnold Verwaltungs GmbH. Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG currently holds a 90 percent stake in Schaeffler Paravan and will own the company outright once the deal is completed. The parties have agreed not to disclose the financial details. Under the deal, Schaeffler will take on Schaeffler Paravan’s 70 employees and operate the company under its own management. Schaeffler will also continue to maintain Schaeffler Paravan’s highly successful relationships with its existing customers and partners. Further details regarding the former joint venture company’s future within the Schaeffler Group will be announced in due course.
Schaeffler Paravan’s current managing director, Roland Arnold, is stepping down from his management role and will be succeeded by Clément Feltz, head of the Chassis business division at Schaeffler. “We would like to thank Roland Arnold for his immense contribution to Schaeffler Paravan and for developing the globally unique Space Drive technology,” said Matthias Zink, CEO Automotive Technologies at Schaeffler AG.
Roland Arnold invented the innovative Space Drive drive-by-wire system about 20 years ago as a mobility solution for people with disabilities. Since then, the system has enabled over 10,000 people to participate more fully in society thanks to improved independent mobility. In effect, this means that Schaeffler Paravan’s Space Drive has already clocked up more than a billion kilometers. In addition, Roland Arnold and Schaeffler Paravan have realized various prototypes as well as specialized, road-licensed solutions for all areas of the automotive and goods transportation sector based on the Space Drive technology. The Space Drive system has also been put to the test under extreme conditions in motorsport applications, where it has successfully covered over 100,000 racing kilometers.
“Space Drive is currently the only steer-by-wire system licensed for on-road use,” Matthias Zink said. “What’s more, it symbolizes Roland Arnold’s impressive lifetime achievement. The know-how and experience gained from years of refining and enhancing Space Drive will continue to serve us well as we develop a highly integrated steer-by-wire system for volume production.”
Systematic development and expansion of the Space Drive system
Since 2018 the Schaeffler Paravan joint venture has been working on developing the next-generation of the innovative steer-by-wire system. This new system is being developed in accordance with automotive industry standards and requirements. It is a multiple-redundant system designed for maximum safety and meets the functional safety requirements of ISO 26262. Schaeffler is committed to continuing this pioneering work. The company also intends to complement and combine its own mechatronics competencies gained from developing chassis systems for volume production with the technical know-how from developing Space Drive. Schaeffler’s objective is to accelerate the development of innovative, integrated steer-by-wire systems for large-series automotive production, and also to use the market access gained through Space Drive applications to market fully developed volume production solutions.
The agreement by which the joint venture company was established in 2018 included a provision allowing Schaeffler to take full ownership of the company at a later date by acquiring Roland Arnold’s 10 percent stake. The basic agreement signed today brings the negotiations for this acquisition to a successful conclusion.
Schaeffler’s chassis business to be developed into a key integrator of chassis solutions
This takeover is the next logical step in Schaeffler’s strategy of shaping the transformation of mobility not just through CO₂-efficient drives, but also increasingly through innovative chassis applications. The company has built up extensive capabilities over recent years to enable this. Schaeffler will continue to systematically develop its chassis business into a key center for integrating chassis systems for automotive volume production and new forms of mobility. This development of highly integrated systems will benefit from the takeover in various ways, including access to the wealth of know-how and experience built up with the Space Drive system developed by Roland Arnold as part of his life’s work.