WABCO Holdings Inc. (NYSE: WBC) has signed a long-term cooperation agreement with Nexteer Automotive, a global leader in intuitive motion control, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. WABCO and Nexteer will collaborate to develop and supply active steering systems for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles using Nexteer MagnaSteer Actuation Technology.

WABCO and Nexteer will integrate MagnaSteer’s proven technology with Sheppard’s suite of power steering gears, which has set the industry standard for heavy-duty commercial and specialty vehicles.

As previously disclosed, WABCO has signed an agreement to acquire Sheppard, subject to customary U.S. regulatory clearance. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter 2017.

Through an existing exclusivity agreement between Nexteer and Sheppard, WABCO can offer a compact, cost-effective, breakthrough technological solution that enables active steering control for commercial vehicle manufacturers in North America. In addition, WABCO has access to this technology for all medium- and heavy-duty commercial truck markets outside North America. Furthermore, this access is on an exclusive basis, except in China.

“This cooperation agreement marks another key milestone as WABCO advances toward enabling self-driving commercial vehicles,” said Jorge Solis, WABCO President, Truck, Bus and Car Original Equipment Manufacturers Division. “We have a clear line of sight on the fundamental technologies - such as active steering, active braking, electronic stability control and other advanced driver assistance systems - which will enable significant intermediary steps on our industry’s path to realize fully autonomous driving.”

Full dynamic control of commercial vehicles - lateral and longitudinal - is necessary to progressively achieve the industry’s vision of autonomous driving. The acquisition of Sheppard and the cooperation agreement with Nexteer are key capabilities toward providing lateral control through active steering, which is a cornerstone that complements WABCO’s leading technologies in longitudinal control through active braking, stability and suspension controls.

Nexteer’s MagnaSteer is precision engineered for flexibility as a modular design that fully integrates within Sheppard’s gear product line. It also scales efficiently for manufacturers of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses. This breakthrough active steering solution will make vehicles safer and more comfortable to drive compared with conventional steering gears. At the same time, active steering enables further advanced driver assistance systems with steering correction, lane keeping and lane centering functionalities, among other advancements.

“We are excited to partner with WABCO,” said Brian Darling, Product Line Executive, Nexteer Automotive. “Our industry-leading MagnaSteer will be fully integrated into the strategy of this industry leader on an exclusive basis in the medium- to heavy-duty commercial truck market to create opportunities for further growth.”