THE DRIVE-BY-WIRE STORY
Roland Arnold, founder and managing director of Paravan GmbH, and also CEO of Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co.KG, lost his father in a tragic accident when he was a young boy. Since then, he has had a strong desire to help people in need. As an adult, he struggled to make a living with a small tire business and earned a little extra money by operating a combine harvester.
The turning point in Roland Arnold’s life came in 1997 at a dreary rest stop on a highway: In the pouring rain, he helped a woman who was having difficulties lifting her paraplegic husband into a car. This spontaneous action eventually led to the creation of PARAVAN. Roland Arnold’s vision was to give mobility and a zest for life back to people with disabilities. In a garage on his brother’s farm, he began to work obsessively on innovative customized vehicles for the disabled.
He also quickly began focusing on the development of a revolutionary drive-by-wire-system (Space Drive) that would allow people with even the most severe disabilities to enjoy the benefits of mobility. In 2003, he acquired his first patents – and the components for the first generation of Space Drive were soon rolling off the line in his home factory. Paravan GmbH was then established in 2005. For his new company, Arnold built an ultra-modern 50,000 m² mobility park in Pfronstetten-Aichelau, a community with 270 inhabitants in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.
Since 2009, Paravan has been the global market leader for customized vehicles for disabled people. The company now has more than 180 employees working in branch offices and in partnerships around the world – even as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
The highlight of the Paravan product portfolio is the Space Drive II drive-by-wire system with active servo motor redundancy. Space Drive II – the first drive-by-wire system with worldwide road approval – is a fail-safe digital control system that enables the flexible use of safety-related automotive applications with state-of-the-art drive by-wire technology. The system’s processor unit (ECU) meets the most demanding requirements in accordance with the ISO 26262 ASIL D safety standards. In addition, the drive-by-wire control devices are manufactured in accordance with the world’s highest quality standard (IPC-A-600 Class 3) . Over the last 17 years, Paravan has accumulated more than a billion kilometers of experience around the world with Space Drive – experience that has continually influenced the further development of the Space Drive system. Paravan’s Space Drive system can now be found in numerous vehicles from renowned automakers. The technology has also been used successfully in many autonomous driving projects conducted by automakers, automotive suppliers, and research institutes
Schaeffler Technologies AG & Co. KG and the owner of Paravan GmbH, Roland Arnold, founded the joint venture Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co. KG on September 12, 2018. The new company acquired the drive-by-wire technology, along with all related activities, from Paravan GmbH in October 2018 and will develop the technology further in the future.