At next month’s CES 2018, ZF is presenting solutions for a connected, digital mobility future. Among other things, ZF will showcase a development vehicle that, thanks to the AI-capable control box ZF ProAI, will gain important experience in autonomous driving – even when it is not on the road.
With this ‘Dream Car’, engineers of ZF Advanced Engineering have implemented numerous functions that enable highly and fully automated driving up to levels 3 and 4. The benefit of the ZF ProAI is that both the hardware and the software are modular and can be scaled according to the application and the desired level of automation.
“With our Vision Zero, we are committed to autonomous driving because in the long term this will help to significantly reduce the number of accidents,” says ZF CEO Dr. Konstantin Sauer. “At CES 2018, we will be presenting solutions nearly ready for volume production. They underline our position as a reliable, innovative supplier to the automotive industry as well as an attractive partner for new providers in the changing mobility market.”
Virtual test drive – 9,200 kilometres away
The focus lies on the AI-capable ZF ProAI which ZF and its partner Nvidia have developed to be production-ready just one year after the partnership’s announcement at CES 2017. It is the central hub of the ‘Dream Car’ presentation at the exhibition stand. ZF provides the static vehicle in Las Vegas with sensor data gathered during a live test drive between the ZF Forum and the company’s research and development center in Friedrichshafen.
The vehicle – in particular the ZF ProAI – interprets the data in real time as if it were following this route precisely. Its actions, such as steering, braking and acceleration, are exactly 9,200 kilometers away – as if the car was imagining itself to be driving on another continent. Through the import of such sensor data, the AI algorithms can be trained. The vehicle “learns” how to interpret a traffic situation without actually having to be on the road. The experience can later be transferred from vehicle to vehicle.
At CES, ZF is emphasising its expertise in autonomous driving with further highlights. An innovative steering wheel concept interprets driver gestures at the steering wheel rim and provides them with feedback through a graphic display and adaptive lighting.
Furthermore, with its partners, ZF has further developed the micropayment service Car eWallet. With this, vehicles can automatically pay for certain services such as parking fees. The service can now also be integrated into the ZF ProAI control box and has been met with great interest among mobility and financial service providers – even just one year after the first presentation.
ZF uses a network of partnerships and collaborations, the ‘Vision Zero Ecosystem’, to develop such innovative solutions. These strong, open partnerships allow ZF to further increase its speed of development and also synchronize innovative solutions from other specialist companies with its own inventions.
For this reason, ZF is regarded as an attractive development partner for new mobility concepts. A visible example at CES is the Rinspeed ‘Snap’. ZF significantly contributes to the flexible concept, which consists of a ready-to-drive vehicle platform (‘skateboard’) and various bodies (‘pods’) for transporting passengers and goods. It consists of innovative driveline and chassis technology, including brakes and electric drive, as well as environmental sensors and hardware and software for on-board vehicle control. This ZF concept – the ‘Intelligent Dynamic Driving Chassis’ (IDDC) – is ZF’s building block for the emission-free, networked and flexible urban mobility of tomorrow.