A compact city car stops in the middle of the street, a few yards from a very tight parking space. Both driver and passenger get out, much to the surprise of passersby. Are they really going to leave the car parked like that? No, they aren’t. The driver taps his smartwatch, and the empty car starts moving by itself, automatically reversing back into the tight parking space. In a single, smooth motion – making for quite a show. In particular, what it demonstrates is the very tight turning angle of the front wheels which, for a few moments, looked as if they were turned at a 90-degree angle to their wheel housings. By now it is quite clear that there is something different about this car.
And the answer to this puzzle is called the “Advanced Urban Vehicle,” a concept vehicle from ZF that is an extremely agile, locally emission-free, all-electric car. It is also equipped with many smart assistance functions designed to relieve the driver of irritating drive operations – like cranking the steering wheel when parallel parking, to name but one. “With this concept, we are exploring solutions for the compact and subcompact vehicle segment, which will be required for meeting the future demands of individual urban mobility,” explains Dr. Harald Naunheimer, Head of Corporate Research & Development at ZF.