The Rudolf Diesel Medal for the "Most Sustainable Innovative Achievement" was awarded to PARAVAN GmbH with founder and CEO Roland Arnold, which is committed to equal opportunities for severely disabled people with its revolutionary solutions. The prestigious award for economically successful, entrepreneurial innovation achievements was presented this year for the 48th time and for the first time digitally.
A visibly touched and surprised Roland Arnold accepted the award on the sidelines of the DTM test at the Lausitzring race track: "I would like to dedicate the award above all to my customers, my employees and my family, who all support me. I'm delighted to receive this award." For Arnold, this accolade is further proof of the recognition of his work and the uniqueness of Space Drive technology. The multi-redundant and street-legal Space Drive throttle, brake and steering system - developed to enable people with significant physical disabilities to participate independently on the road - is now a key technology for Level 5 autonomous driving, and is customizable to a variety of safety-related automotive applications, from drive-by-wire solutions in vehicles for the disabled to control of test and commercial vehicles.
The company, based in Pfronstetten-Aichelau in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg, is known worldwide for its vehicles for the disabled, digital steering and braking systems and wheelchairs, the statement said. In addition to PARAVAN, other nominees included the inventor of the custom cable harness and automotive supplier in the premium segment, the DRÄXLMAIER Group, as well as the internationally active provider of thermal and sound insulation solutions, Schöck Bauteile GmbH, which has made a lasting mark on the construction industry with the load-bearing thermal insulation element Schöck Isokorb®.
Werner Reuß, Head of Knowledge and Education at Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Broadcasting), praised Roland Arnold and PARAVAN GmbH as a prime example of the inventiveness of Swabian medium-sized companies. The decisive factor, he said, is not how you invent, but what you invent. "The solutions the company offers are intelligent, useful and they are empathetic, individual and highly functional. Behind the company's success is not only the highest art of engineering, but also an incredibly intelligent software solution, the world's first road-legal drive-by-wire system, Space Drive. Roland Arnold has the courage to tackle his own ideas, he has the ability to implement the ideas and he has the unconditional will to help his own idea to success with perseverance." As a trained car mechanic, he runs a one-man tire workshop on his parents' farm. As is often the case with entrepreneurs, Roland Arnold had an awakening experience that made him realize his vision - to make people with disabilities mobile again. "Roland Arnold is not a madman, he is hardworking, obsessed and inspired by his idea and equipped with an almost limitless imagination. Roland Arnold's idea has caught on. He is a prototype of the social entrepreneur, he can put himself in the shoes of people with disabilities, but he also knows that to be able to do this, he must also be successful as an entrepreneur and he knows how to implement his ideas."
In the category "Most Successful Innovation Performance", the winner was the Bielefeld-based family business GOLDBECK GmbH with Ortwin Goldbeck. The fact that knowledge can be conveyed not only in linear media, such as television or radio, was demonstrated by the winner in the "Best Media Communication" category: the YouTube format Terra X Lesch & Co by ZDF and Harald Lesch. For the category "Best Innovation Promotion," the Steinbeis Foundation for Economic Development was honored with Prof. Johann Löhn.
About the Diesel Medal
The Diesel Medal, Germany's oldest innovation prize for economically successful, entrepreneurial innovation achievements, has been awarded in memory of the innovator Rudolf Diesel since 1953. The Diesel Medal honors natural persons and institutions for special achievements in the field of invention and innovation culture. The Diesel Medal is awarded by the non-profit German Institute for Invention (D.I.E e.V.). The winners are chosen by the Diesel Board of Trustees, which represents the industrial management elite with technical expertise in Germany. They are around sixty technology executives from world market-leading, medium-sized technology companies, which together employ half a million people and achieve sales of over 100 billion euros.