ZF takes the fast lane to mobilize commercial vehicle intelligence, further enabling clean, safe and efficient transportation

Proof-of-Concept for an innovative fully-automated coupling assist system that enables the truck to detect and hook a specific semi-trailer.

ZF is poised to be the leading technology partner to the commercial vehicle industry with the addition of WABCO’s capabilities. The company is playing a pivotal role in the industry’s drive towards a more sustainable, connected and safer future. With a clear focus on reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing safety standards, ZF is also at the forefront of delivering the next level of vehicle automation and digital connectivity. Recent applications and technology advancements were showcased today by the leading commercial vehicle technology systems supplier at a digital press event in the ZF Forum.

The industry’s first fully automated coupling assist system for heavy-duty tractor-semitrailer combinations. It controls the tractor in longitudinal, lateral and vertical direction for an optimized coupling maneuver. This system also leverages commercial vehicle industry-first image processing algorithms which enable 3D modelling with a mono digital camera.

Building on its recent acquisition of WABCO, ZF is accelerating the development of its product and systems portfolio to enable intelligent commercial vehicles. This includes an industry-first autonomous trailer coupling function and energy-saving truck-trailer combination.

Lightweight truck design, together with aerodynamically designed trailers helps improve efficiency for all drive types.

EU requirements for manufacturers to reduce new commercial vehicle CO2 fleet emissions by 15 percent before 2025, increasing to 30 percent by 2030, makes ZF an invaluable partner to the commercial vehicle industry as demand for electric drive trains in buses and trucks grows exponentially. In addition, the EU requires new driver assistance systems approvals from 2022 and, from 2024, for new registrations to include advanced blind spot warning systems.

The low air resistance of the semi-trailer truck can help reduce fuel consumption by up to seven percent.
The truck chassis saves up to 150 kg of weight, which allows for increased payload and improves truck handling. The new components also provide additional installation space – an important approach for electric vehicle platforms with battery or fuel cell.

With the integration of WABCO’s leading advanced driver assistance and fuel-efficiency systems into its existing technology range, ZF is demonstrating the advantages of a complete and unique product portfolio for trucks, buses and trailer OEMS as well as fleets.

Fredrik Staedtler, head of ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Control Systems Division

WABCO is a perfect strategic match for ZF and has enabled us to accelerate our global leadership as a future-oriented, full-range technology supplier and systems integrator serving the commercial vehicle industry,” said Fredrik Staedtler, head of ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Control Systems Division.

Innovative ADAS solution to support the driver when reversing truck-trailer combinations.
Offering smart solutions for various operational challenges, this system features a trailer mounted rear camera and a first-of-its-kind articulation sensor which cover the blind spot behind the trailer. The system’s smart HD image processing algorithms enable periphery monitoring without the need for additional sensors – another industry breakthrough. Utilizing information from a digital rear camera as well as a first-of-its- kind articulation angle sensor to offer the driver guided reversing paths. The system also features a unique sensor cleaning concept to ensure clear camera view.

With a clear aim of making mobility and transport cleaner, safer and efficient, we are mobilizing commercial vehicle intelligence to support customers world-wide. Just four months after acquiring WABCO, we have made substantial progress in implementing new development projects bringing together our significant combined system competencies.

Andreas Moser, Head of ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Technology Division

When it comes to transformative solutions for the next generation of commercial vehicles, we are at full speed,” added Andreas Moser, Head of ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Technology Division. “As a result, we can highlight new innovations such as the fuel-saving truck-trailer prototype, designed for energy-efficient driving. It combines a lightweight design and aerodynamics with optimized chassis space offering major benefits for future electrification strategies.

Instant stability control of automated vehicles in “real world” operating conditions, leverages the ADOPT (Autonomous Driving Open Technology) software platform. ADOPT provides the automated vehicle’s virtual driver (Autonomous Driving Artificial Intelligence) with an “Intelligent Control Interface” to the vehicle’s motion control systems (driveline, braking, stability and steering systems). It not only delivers enhanced safety but also improves operational efficiency through the optimized calibration of the vehicle’s performance conditions, such as poor road adhesion, where ADOPT is able to keep the vehicle stable on its path when cornering or changing lanes. The ADOPT approach applies ZF’s expertise in autonomous driving and artificial intelligence to the commercial vehicle world to simplify and accelerate the development of automated driving applications for virtual drivers.

ZF has also accelerated its successful commercial vehicle electrification program. ZF’s AxTrax AVE electric axle has been in daily operation for a number of years and, this year, the Group will start volume production of the CeTrax electric central drive. By 2023, a complete modular electric drive kit, with axle and central drives, will be established for buses and trucks of up to 44 tons. As with other ZF electric systems, it will be ‘open to technology’, meaning it can be combined with a battery or fuel cell, for example.

ZF is developing its worldwide e-mobility portfolio for commercial vehicles on a larger scale.
ZF’s electric drive portfolio simplifies the path to locally emission-free commercial vehicles. And this portfolio is growing: By 2023, the Group will offer a modular electric drive kit with axle and central drives for buses and trucks of up to 44 tons. This expands current e-Mobility product families such as the CeTrax central drive.

ZF can now also extend its electrification expertise to trailers with the eTrailer. This semitrailer, with integrated electric motor, can convert the conventional truck it is coupled with into a hybrid vehicle that consumes up to 16 percent less fuel. In addition, with the e-trailer, traction and acceleration improve while noise level and brake wear decrease.

CeTrax can be installed in vehicle platforms according to the plug-and-drive principle making it easier to change from combustion engine to electric motors. Volume production will start in 2020.

ZF also demonstrated at today’s event how taking a future-forward approach to enhance commercial vehicle safety. Featured technology included the industry’s first fully automated coupling assistant which enables trucks to find their allocated trailer autonomously and engage automatically. Another innovation, Advanced Reversing Assist, a further enhanced reversing assist function for trucks was also revealed. – Both solutions help to reduce the risk of accidents, offer depots increased operating safety and efficiency while reducing the risk of time delays and repair costs that are typically associated with maneuvering damage.

ZF’s electric drives target specific urban applications, from small delivery trucks to large city buses. For this purpose, the most powerful version delivers 300 kilowatts of power and 4,500 newton meters of torque.

For automated vehicle operations, advanced vehicle motion control based on WABCO’s ADOPTTM (Autonomous Driving Open Technology) software platform increases safety, efficiency and operational productivity. The ADOPT framework applies ZF’s expertise in Autonomous Driving and Artificial Intelligence to the commercial vehicle world, helping to simplify and accelerate the development of Automated Driving applications for Virtual Drivers (Autonomous Driving Artificial Intelligence). It is specifically designed to support automated driving modes by providing instant, precise maneuvering and stable vehicle control in response to “real world” automated driving.

For years now, the ZF AxTrax AVE electric portal axle has been promoting clean public transport in cities around the globe for low-floor buses and is ideally equipped for “Zero Emission Zones”. Another advantage of AxTrax AVE includes the particularly quiet operation.

ZF is also reinforcing its capabilities in digitalization and vehicle connectivity to better serve the commercial vehicle fleets sector. The extended and integrated offering of truck, bus and trailer technologies provides ZF with broad access to a rich reservoir of vehicle systems data, which in turn power its growing  portfolio of cloud-based applications and services to further optimize fleet efficiency and safety.

Electrification at ZF, however, goes beyond the actual vehicle drive. An example of this is the eTrailer. This semitrailer with integrated electric motor can make every conventional truck a hybrid, that can consume up to 16 percent less fuel. In addition, traction and acceleration improve while noise levels and brake wear decrease. Moreover, ZF electrifies other commercial vehicle actuation systems like the steering.


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