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The Future of Autonomous Mobility Starts Now

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Tags: ZeroAccidents, ZeroEmissions, AutonomousDriving, ArtificialIntelligence
Autonomous driving - the eternal topic of the future? When it comes to ZF, this future is now: The Group offers solutions for all levels of automated driving.
Andreas Neemann, August 12, 2021
Andreas Neemann wrote his first ZF text in 2001 about 6HP transmissions. Since then, the automotive writer has filled many publications for internal and external readers, showcasing his passion for the Group's more complex subjects.
The global pandemic triggered a change of perspective for many people. We attribute more importance to topics like safety and sustainability. And we changed our mobility behavior and become more open to digitalization, connectivity, advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), and autonomous driving. In short: The mobility transition is in full swing and automated and autonomous driving is an essential part of it.

Semi-automated passenger cars, fully autonomous shuttles

Semi-automated passenger cars, fully autonomous shuttles
Autonomous driving plays a key role in safer, more efficient, and more comfortable traffic and mobility. It can help reduce accidents because human driving errors are still the main cause of crashes. And autonomous driving can also contribute to realizing individually tailored and conveniently available mobility concepts that reduce traffic jams and emissions. ZF focuses on all these market developments and develops solutions for passenger cars as well as commercial vehicles and autonomous transport systems.
Several stages define how much intervention the driver has in self-driving vehicles or transport systems - from level 1 partially assisted driving to fully automated driving without human monitoring for Levels 4 and 5.

Depending on the application, the market currently demands different solutions. In the passenger car sector, intelligent assistance functions, so-called Level2+ systems, have the greatest potential for the foreseeable future. "At ZF we believe that Level2+ systems that meet advanced safety test protocols and help relieve the stress on the driving task will be the primary driver for light vehicles in the near future," said Christophe Marnat, Executive Vice President of ZF's Electronics and Advanced Driver Assist Systems Division.
With Level2+ systems, functions such as adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, lane change and lane keeping assist, highway and traffic jam assist are intelligently linked together and allow the driver to briefly take his hands off the wheel and feet off the pedal in certain situations, although the driver always remains responsible. The increase in comfort and safety, especially in the case of long and monotonous journeys on the highway or in traffic jams, clearly exceeds that of a Level 2 system. From the cost-effective coASSIST to the coDRIVE to the coPILOT, ZF currently offers three different Level2+ systems.
"Our vision is that autonomous mobility will improve traffic conditions in cities and reduce congestion and emissions."
Torsten Gollewski, Executive Vice President Autonomous Mobility Systems at ZF

Autonomous shuttles: strong leverage effect for future mobility

Autonomous shuttles: strong leverage effect for future mobility
Autonomous driving is expected to first become more widely established in the commercial vehicle sector as well as in urban passenger transport. In the commercial vehicle sector, ZF can equip light and heavy vehicles with its AD system and thus transform them into automated machines. And ZF is also active in the developing People Mover market. ZF took over 100 percent of the Dutch company 2getthere, which has many years of experience with autonomous driving systems - as 14 million transported passengers and more than 100 million autonomously driven kilometers impressively attest. ZF is currently developing autonomous shuttles for the German cities of Friedrichshafen and Mannheim as part of the RABus project . And in the Rivium Business Park near Rotterdam, where the 2getthere autonomous shuttles have been in operation for years, they are being updated with the latest version.
"Our vision is that autonomous mobility will improve traffic conditions in cities and reduce congestion and emissions," said Torsten Gollewski, Executive Vice President, Autonomous Mobility Systems at ZF. A network of autonomous and electric shuttles can meaningfully supplement the existing public transport service in cities and efficiently link rural areas to cities.
Autonomous shuttles provide a major lever for future mobility: They can supplement public transport in cities and optimize the connection of rural to urban areas.

Scalable technology for all levels of automated driving

Scalable technology for all levels of automated driving

"ZF already has virtually all the necessary technologies for future vehicle and mobility concepts," said Gollewski. This includes high-performance computers, software, vehicle sensors and actuators, as well as the vehicle connectivity for mobility services. The core of new electric/electronics vehicle architectures is formed by high-performance computers which can be used either as central, domain or zone controllers like the latest generation of ZF’s ProAI supercomputer. "Our ProAI covers an enormous range of possible application fields for virtually every type of vehicle and is suitable for all stages of automated or autonomous driving," explains Gollewski. ZF ProAI offers tailor-made computing power for all types of vehicle platforms and automation levels from ADAS to AD, and is the most flexible, scalable, and powerful automotive supercomputer.
The ZF ProAI is the most flexible, scalable, and powerful supercomputer in the automotive industry. It is AI-capable and suitable for all levels of automated driving from level 2 to 5.

The future of autonomous driving starts now

The future of autonomous driving starts now

ZF was able to win the first major orders for the ZF ProAI in both the passenger car and commercial vehicle segments and will produce the central controller in large-scale production from 2024. The company has launched its coASSIST Level2+ semi-automated driving system on the 2020 Dongfeng Aeolus Yixuan. And the autonomous shuttles from 2getthere have been in operation for years. All of this shows that autonomous mobility is not a future vision anymore - the "Next Generation Mobility" is here now with ZF's technologies.
ZF has launched its first Level2+ coASSIST system with Dongfeng Motor in China bringing safety and comfort advantages at an affordable cost.

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