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Autonomy's ‘Pirouetting’ Future

  • Magazine Article
  • 20AVEP01_06
Published January 01, 2020 by SAE International in United States
  • English

Protean Electric's novel 360-degree steering and in-wheel drive systems add new potential for urban mobility.

Designing and engineering a 360-degree steering capability for a production electric autonomous road vehicle's four wheels is no mean achievement. But Protean Electric also combines this pirouetting capability with an in-wheel electric motor, “innovative” suspension and pneumatic ride height control into an all-in-one package. Its adroit wheel-at-each-corner module, called Protean360+, is designed initially for next-generation urban mobility pods. But it could also be applied to a wide variety of other autonomous vehicles.

Development of the 360-degree capability began in early 2018. It is the latest element to be added to the company's ProteanDrive in-wheel system, on which work started more than a 10 years ago to specifically meet emerging needs for radical new urban vehicle technology combined with autonomous transport visions. These include autonomous passenger cars, light-duty commercial vehicles and other future mobility solutions.