May 25, 2023
The World Steel Association is set to reveal a new autonomous concept vehicle (AV) it says will make ride-sharing and ride-hailing more affordable and sustainable.
WorldAutoSteel, the organization’s automotive group, is showcasing the Steel E-Motive initiative at several events over the next few months – and as part of that, the radical SEM1 will be on display.
The SEM1 has been developed in partnership with Ricardo and ARRK Engineering and is a 3D-printed prototype of a four-passenger concept vehicle designed to deliver Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) urban commuting. But its wider aim is to demonstrate to auto manufacturers how steel has a key role to play in achieving a zero-emission future.
According to WorldAutoSteel, its Steel E-Motive portfolio of materials and methods could help to produce a new generation of efficient vehicles that reduce in-use emissions by up to 86%.
The SEM1 in particular has been created with high-volume manufacturing in mind; by using Advanced High Strength Steel and existing body assemblies, it could be ready for global production from 2030 onward.
Safety is highlighted as one of the SEM1’s key attributes. It’s claimed to be the world’s first AV engineered to meet global high-speed crash requirements, with performance in line with a “Good” rating from America’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
In particular, it has been optimized to ensure the safety of occupants in the unconventional seating arrangements you might expect in an AV, while the battery – which is 37% lighter than conventional units – is protected from front, side and rear impacts.
The futuristic design, meanwhile, integrates all the sensors required for autonomous operation seamlessly into the body, while inside configurable seating means it is easy to switch between carrying passengers and goods. There’s also four-wheel steering, and the SEM1 is said to be able to travel at high speeds in mixed environments with both autonomous and manually controlled vehicles.
It will be on display at several events in Europe and the United States, including the Zemo Partnership Conference in London on June 15, Car MBS at Traverse City, Michigan August 1-3, EuroCarBody at Bad Nauheim, Germany Oct. 17-19 and CoMotion LA, Los Angeles Nov. 14-16. Technical presentations are also planned for Japan, China and South Korea.
“We will be presenting a highly engineered vision of the future for Mobility as a Service,” said Cees ten Broek, WorldAutoSteel’s director. “Our mission with Steel E-Motive is to provide a roadmap of innovations that will advance and enable the journey to zero emissions. Steel’s characteristics of strength, durability, and repairability align with the needs of these next-generation ride-sharing and ride-hailing vehicles while supporting optimal total cost of ownership.”
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