ZF Innovation Vehicles

A fully electric compact car that parks itself in extremely tight spaces? A 40-ton truck that, in an emergency, suddenly evades any obstacle automatically? A tractor that can be remotely controlled to connect itself to farming equipment or, despite fully loaded trailers, is able to climb extraordinarily steep inclines?

ZF regularly integrates its innovative products into vehicles in order to show how creatively ZF engineers are already implementing tomorrow’s mobility functionalities into the vehicles of today.

ZF Advanced Urban Vehicle

ZF Innovation Truck

ZF Innovation Tractor

Big in the City ZF Advanced Urban Vehicle

Extremely maneuverable, locally emission-free, and networked with driver and environment: With the Advanced Urban Vehicle, ZF is demonstrating the potential inherent in intelligently networking individual chassis/driveline and driver assistance systems, and is presenting an exemplary solution for urban individual transport in the compact and subcompact segments.

The Technology in Detail

Recognized, pushed, parked: The ZF Smart Parking Assist

The system assists the driver not only in recognizing suitable parking spaces, but can also park the vehicle fully automatically in parallel or perpendicular spaces.

The parking aid obtains its information from twelve ultrasound sensors and two infrared sensors on the vehicle's front-end, rear-end, and flanks; these sensors help find a suitable parking space. The control electronics process the information and control all the systems involved in the parking function – for instance, the electric drive and the required steering angle of the electric power steering.

The driver can interact with the vehicle during the process via the display in the cockpit or trigger the parking function once they exit the vehicle by using an application on a mobile device, e. g. a smartwatch. The Advanced Urban Vehicle then automatically searches the surroundings at walking pace for a suitable gap and automatically initiates the parking process.

Driver experience from the cloud: ZF PreVision Cloud Assist

The cloud-based driver assistance function ZF PreVision Cloud Assist provides maximum range and driving safety in the Advanced Urban Vehicle.

Unlike purely GPS-based systems, ZF's concept study not only takes into account geometry data and information on the permissible top speed, but also stores data in the cloud on the vehicle position, currently driven speed, and lateral and longitudinal acceleration for every journey.

If the driver follows the same route again, the system calculates the optimum speed for an approaching corner on the basis of these empirical data. The assistance function then throttles back the torque early on before entering the corner, to the point where the corner can be negotiated without any mechanical braking. All of which not only protects the vehicle's battery and braking system, but also provides greater safety particularly on blind corners.

Far-Sighted and Capable of Action The ZF Innovation Truck

It can automatically avoid obstacles in an emergency (Evasive Maneuver Assist), autonomously stay on track and maintain the distance from the vehicle in front (Highway Driving Assist). It takes control when maneuvering at the ramp (SafeRange).

The ZF Innovation Truck 2016 is full of innovative advanced driver assistance systems that currently do not exist in any other commercial vehicle.

The Technology in Detail

Takes the fear out of traffic jam ends - Evasive Maneuver Assist

The Evasive Maneuver Assist (EMA) was used in the ZF Innovation Truck 2016 for the first time in the world. Acting through several stages, the assistance system detects an obstacle, warns the driver, autonomously initiates emergency braking and steers the truck past the obstacle if there is a threat of collision.

In cooperation with WABCO, ZF has networked an emergency braking system (Advanced Emergency Braking System – AEBS), which is already statutory today, with sensors and the electrohydraulic ReAX steering system. Braking and chassis systems stabilize the vehicle during the evasive maneuver – an essential performance, particularly for fully loaded 40-ton trucks.

The gain in safety thanks to systems like EMA is immense: The system can effectively prevent collisions that still occur all too frequently – particularly when tired or inattentive truck drivers are too slow to see the tail end of a traffic jam.

Maintains track and distance - Highway Driving Assist

Another function of the ZF Innovation Truck prevents unintended wandering off the lane – whether caused by inattention, distraction or microsleep: The Highway Driving Assist (HDA) warns the driver when the truck veers off track. If the driver does not react, the system actively keeps the semitrailer within the longitudinal road markings. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), including Follow-to-Stop functionality, is also integrated and automatically maintains a safety distance from the vehicle in front across all speeds.

ZF already presented this function for cars in 2015, but in order to transfer it to trucks it was also necessary to link camera and radar sensors via an electronic system with the ReAx truck steering system and the ZF TraXon Hybrid transmission.

For automated ramp access - Maneuvering assistant SafeRange

A third function contributes to making logistic processes at depots and reloading hubs safer and more efficient: SafeRange allows the ZF Innovation Truck to approach ramps automatically and more easily, thus saving time and avoiding collisions.

For this purpose, two camera sensors and a computer are located on the ramp. Two markings on the rear ("targets") help the cameras detect the truck's position. The truck uses the Openmatics telematic system to access the camera information and computer, which has already calculated the optimal travel path for docking. The SafeRange ECU on the truck then converts this data into action. It coordinates and controls all systems required for automated driving, including the electrohydraulic steering system ReAX and the hybrid transmission system TraXon Hybrid. This all-electric mode enables local zero-pollution and quiet maneuvering.

Thanks to SafeRange, depots are becoming safer as well: If a person moves between the truck and ramp during the docking maneuver, the camera will detect this and stop the maneuver.

Pulls Ahead of Everyone The ZF Innovation Tractor

Fingertip maneuverability, easy connection of implements (SafeRange and Hitch Detection), and ability to overcome any gradient, even with a tractor-trailer combination, thanks to the additional electric drive unit (Traction Management).

For the first time, ZF has included an off-highway application in their innovation prototypes with the Innovation Tractor.

The Technology in Detail

Switching trailers made easy - Safe Range & Hitch Detection

The SafeRange function can be used to remotely control the Innovation Tractor and trailer within sight. All the relevant driving and steering commands can be intuitively given using a tablet. A total of six cameras on the rear and roof of the tractor provide the necessary visual information of the surroundings, which can also be displayed on the tablet.

The function can do even more, which is particularly useful when connecting implements: Thanks to "Hitch Detection", the Innovation Tractor uses a camera to detect the exact position and angle of the relevant agricultural implement or trailer, and automatically approaches to connect. The system interrupts the process as soon as a person appears between the tractor and implement.

Total Traction Force - Traction Management

An electric wheel head developed specifically for use in agricultural and construction machinery is located in the trailer of the ZF Innovation Tractor. The principle of the electric drive close to the wheels has already been implemented by ZF for some time now in their electric portal axle for city buses. The all-electric additional drive unit in the Innovation Tractor is supplied with power from the generator module of the ZF TERRA+ transmission, making a constant power of 60 kW possible.

The all-wheel-drive function of the tractor and the electric boost function from the single-wheel drive on the trailer interact and complement each other, delivering optimum traction management. The tractor-trailer combination can overcome routes where standard vehicles and trailers would fail: Routes that offer little grip due to wet or loose surfaces or even gradients of up to 30 percent.

What is behind the ZF Innovation Tractor?

Gerhard Gumpoltsberger, Head of Innovation Management at ZF, explains on-site the technologies in the ZF Innovation Tractor.

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