Friedrichshafen/Detroit. ZF will demonstrate its expertise as a systems supplier for intelligent mobility at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. As a prime example, ZF will unveil its Intelligent Rolling Chassis (IRC), a ready-to-launch platform concept for innovative electric urban vehicles. With intelligently networked mechanical systems, the IRC is ideally suited for the autonomous city driving of the future. The IRC highlights ZF’s system expertise for manufacturers who want to design and produce innovative vehicles for urban passenger and goods transport. The IRC’s completely flat floor between front and rear axle accommodates almost any vehicle body design and new interior concept. In conjunction with its partners, ZF is also working hard on advancing key networking and artificial intelligence technologies, either as part of strategic alliances or through investments.
“The mobility of the future will continue to be based on mechanical systems, but comprehensively networked and equipped with artificial intelligence,” says Dr. Stefan Sommer, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen AG. “Our Intelligent Rolling Chassis is made up of more intelligently networked mechanical systems and acts as a flexible platform for urban vehicle concepts from well-established and new mobility suppliers.” The company is currently focusing on digitizing mechanical components, promoting electromobility technologies and helping to reduce traffic accidents and emissions.
“See – Think – Act” for intelligent mobility
ZF’s motto “See – Think – Act” reflects the automotive supplier's active role along the entire automated driving spectrum, which ranges from sensor technology (“see”), software and powerful electronic control units (“think”) to actuators (“act”). In partnership with Ibeo Automotive Systems, ZF is working on ground-breaking innovations in the fields of sensors and electronics with the goal of developing the next generation of LIDAR sensors. Car-to-x networking can considerably broaden the field of vision in the vehicle’s environment sensors and is capable of providing additional safety-related information. In order to process this large volume of data quickly and intelligently, ZF and NVIDIA are teaming up to equip vehicles with the computing power of a super computer. This will make deep learning and artificial intelligence possible in automotive applications.
Integrated safety for vehicle interiors of the future
ZF is researching and working intensively on networking active and passive safety systems for occupant safety in new vehicle designs. Concepts such as the interactive, button/knob-free single-spoke steering wheel and active belt systems that function as human-machine interfaces (HMI) help to ensure reliable interaction between occupants and the vehicle as well as greater comfort during automated driving operation. Environment sensors can enable advanced driver assistance systems and will become important components in the integral safety functions in the future.
ZF in North America
ZF has been doing business in North America for almost 40 years. It currently has 50 locations in the region, with 34 in the U.S., 12 in Mexico and four in Canada. It manufactures products for the automotive industry and other sectors. ZF employees in North America numbered roughly 31,000 at the end of 2016 and approximately 13,000 of them work for ZF in the U.S. In 2015, ZF generated € 29.2 billion in total sales, with 28 percent of that amount, or € 8.1 billion, coming from North America. These numbers include sales generated by ZF TRW since its takeover on May 15, 2015.