So, cars are turning into what some have described as "smartphones on wheels?"
No, even if operating a vehicle is becoming more and more like using a smartphone, the difference lies primarily in the type and number of hardware systems that a software platform – such as the "ZF middleware" – intelligently interconnects in such a way that people or goods can be transported comfortably and safely at all times.
Is this software platform a new offer from ZF?
Yes, it is. The "ZF middleware" is ZF's new open software platform that acts as an intermediary between the operating system of a vehicle's computer and its software applications. As of 2024, it will be available in volume production vehicles and control the abstraction of the computer hardware from software applications and the communication between these applications.
How does this benefit your customers?
Decisive advantages are accelerated development processes and reduced complexity. Today, vehicles can have around 100 different control units, each with its own software. In the future, software functions will run on a single central platform with few domain control units – for example for automated driving functions. With the "ZF middleware," all functions can be developed and integrated independently of the hardware. In addition, updates, extensions or additional options can be offered throughout the vehicle's entire service life.
What role do these developments play in the transformation to "Next Generation Mobility?"
The foundation of the Global Software Center and the "ZF middleware" underscore our claim to be one of the world's leading systems suppliers for software-defined cars. The development is closely linked to that of application software for technology fields such as automated driving, integrated safety, vehicle motion control and electromobility. We have created the prerequisites for this in the past few years: Thanks to our own scalable "ZF ProAI" supercomputing platform for next-generation vehicles, we offer traditional and new automotive customers comprehensive systems consisting of software, computing and sensor hardware as well as connected actuators. For developing new digital businesses, we have set-up the "Data Venture Accelerator", an international hub, with start-up like full-stack team structures. With this, we can make an essential contribution to greater safety and efficiency.