China Automotive Systems (CAAS), a power steering components and systems supplier based in China, announced it has begun a development program for a new recirculating-ball steering steering system (“i-RCB Program”) in tandem with Chrysler’s Autonomous Vehicle product development.
Started in the fall of 2018, the i-RCB Program is currently in the design verification test-phase. The company said it expects to begin mass production in August 2019 with annual sales of approximately 45,000 units. In addition to orders from Chrysler North America, the technology of i-RCB has significant other market opportunities in the Chinese domestic heavy-duty truck market.
Intelligent hybrid power steering combines traditional RCB with electric power steering (EPS) to monitor or control basic functions such as steering speed, active returning, independent steering, and emergency steering. In addition, intelligent hybrid power steering provides extended functions such as lane monitoring with departure warning and crosswind compensation.
Qizhou Wu, CEO of CAAS, commented, “Autonomous driving is already on the product roadmap of many U.S. and Chinese automakers. Steering is a critical component in the autonomous driving ecosystem as on-road execution is crucial for safety measures. Our nearly 10-year track record with Chrysler anchored us to be the trusted supplier choice for their promising new product in a key secular market trend. Domestically, we are having serious discussions with a few large OEMs in the commercial vehicle sector.”