The Smart Wheel builds upon the PowerWheel 200, which was developed in a collaboration between the partners SMF Ketels and Locomotec funded by the German Government in the run-up to the ROPOD project. Apart from some mechatronic improvements the main difference is the design of the motor controller and the control software, which turn the PowerWheel 200 into a component in the Internet (of Things) and which provide full introspection capabilities into the internal status of the component. This transition from a pure mechatronic component (PowerWheel 200) to a Smart Wheel is an attempt to account for the design principles developed within the IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (P7001 - Transparency of Autonomous Systems).
The picture below shows (an early prototype of) just one Smart Vehicle build upon the Smart Wheel and other highly modular components such as Sensor Cubes. Like in automotive industry different vehicles may have customized designs for their bodies but share all essential components.