Wabco turns to steering with Sheppard deal

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BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – Wabco Holdings has signed an agreement to acquire RH Sheppard — a U.S. maker of power steering gears — securing access to a key piece of technology needed for self-driving vehicles.

The deal, still subject to regulatory approval, is worth US $145 million. RH Sheppard recorded sales of US $130 million last year.

RH Sheppard has more than 900 employees and also makes engine pumps. Its existing foundry operations will be used to make selected Wabco products, too.

But an existing exclusive agreement with a supplier of steering actuation controls also offers Wabco an important piece in autonomous technology.

“This acquisition represents another key milestone as Wabco advances toward enabling self-driving commercial vehicles,” said Jacques Esculier, Wabco chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “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.” 

Wabco was already developing active braking, stability and suspension controls.

RH Sheppard was also developing products for regions outside North America, through a joint venture in China. Wabco is positioned to extend the reach into other regions.


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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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