Lengthy drives to the deployment zone, adverse road and weather conditions, 100% concentration at all times – a military troop and supply convoy places arduous demands on even the most highly trained soldiers. This is where new technology from tedrive Steering Systems comes into play.

Patented intelligent Hydraulic Steering Assist (iHSA) technology from steering specialist tedrive Steering Systems, based in Germany, may not be able to shorten the distances or improve the conditions outside, but it can make time on the road a good deal safer for soldiers.

iHSA is a CO2-optimised hydraulic steering system that enables the integration into hydraulic steering systems of various advanced driver-assistance technologies (ADAS), thus connecting active features such as platooning, remote driving, active lane keeping, crosswind compensation, trailer stabilisation, parking assistance and joystick manoeuvring. The technology can be applied across all vehicle classes with a gross vehicle load of 2- 40t, including multipurpose vehicles, light vehicles and heavy trucks used in the military sector; special vehicles; surveillance and logistics vehicles and troop buses, to name just a few possible applications.

tedrive’s objective was to develop a hydraulic steering system featuring an array of functions analogue to those of an electric power steering (EPS) including driver-independent torque overlay. Besides conventional hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering systems, the iHSA module can now also be integrated into tedrive’s recirculating ball steering gears.

iHSA technology offers the best of electric power steering systems and traditional hydraulic steering systems. Designed to suit rack-and-pinion steering and recirculating ball steering systems, the product range is characterised by great modularity for a variety of platforms.

High performance

By incorporating an iHSA module into recirculating ball or rack-and-pinion steering gears, tedrive has succeeded in significantly improving the performance parameters of hydraulic steering systems and in developing a serious counterpart to EPS. At present, electromechanical steering systems can apply only limited rack forces, even with extensive manipulation of the on-board energy management system, whereas tedrive’s iHSA is distinguished by its ability to exert far greater rack forces without having to make any changes to the energy management.

Today, modern driver-assistance functions have started to migrate from luxury passenger cars into lower segments. Drivers are becoming increasingly familiar with the use and benefits of these features. Why not fit more comfort and safety technologies into trucks or other vehicles where steering performance and steering feel has thus far not been considered a priority? Because, prior to the launch of iHSA, there was no affordable technical solution available to meet these needs. Thanks to the iHSA module, there is now a cost-efficient steering gear solution on the market. The simple connection of the hydraulic steering system to the various existing ADAS functions provides access to increased safety, driving performance and comfort for all vehicle classes.

Multivehicle platoon assistance is an area in which iHSA can be of help. In platooning and convoy assistance systems, several vehicles follow in close formation behind a lead vehicle. The distance, speed and direction of the vehicle in front are captured using sensors, and the convoy is regulated by adapting the driving parameters of each successive vehicle. Despite this, all vehicles still drive independently and are able to leave the convoy at any time.

The benefits of the multivehicle platoon grouping are that drivers are under less strain when operating the vehicle, while the support eases the level of concentration required as the convoy heads towards its distant destination. There is even the possibility that the platoon can be driven without any driver on board while negotiating minefields or other critical areas.

The platooning concept delivers improved safety by reducing accidents resulting from human error. While we are years away from vehicles driving automatically in convoy in civilian traffic on roads, the military and defence sector could play a pioneering role in this technology. Not least, fuel efficiency supports further improvement, with a reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 20% resulting from the use of convoy proximity control systems.

Military and civilian vehicle sectors are showing keen interest in tedrive’s iHSA technology due to industry dynamics and the growing need to integrate safety solutions into steering systems. This truly modular, plug-in solution offers flexibility all the way along the steering-system value chain.