Press Release


Next Level Digitalisation: ZF at the Hanover Fair 2017

  • Artificial intelligence for more safety and efficiency in the non-automotive sector
  • Forward-looking technologies and business models combine mechanical engineering, electronics and digital technologies in industrial applications
  • ZF is becoming increasingly digital

After taking over TRW Automotive ZF is presenting itself as a globally integrated and far-sighted system supplier for intelligent mobility. In this respect the limelight is shared by the digitalisation of mechanical components, pushing forward with electro-mobility and the reduction of road traffic accidents and emissions. With the development of forward-looking technologies and business models ZF is underlining its claim in playing an important role in the mega-trend of autonomous driving – in the car as in the commercial vehicle.

Show more
Next Level Digitalisation: ZF at the Hanover Fair 2017

"See – Think – Act" for intelligent mobility

Today, artificial intelligence is already being used in numerous applications – for example, in adaptive software as found in voice control in the smart phone. With Automated Operations ZF is displaying its expertise in this field at the Hanover Fair: "As the technology leader we not only want to take part in digitalisation, we want to actively form it and push it forward," explains the Manager of the Industrial Technology Division, Dr. Klaus Geißdörfer.

Under the motto "See – Think – Act" ZF is – as one of the few companies – realising autonomous driver assistance systems over all vehicle segments. "Our aspiration is to make vehicles see, think and act – and that all from one source," says Dr. Wilhelm Rehm, member of the ZF Board. Therefore, ZF capabilities link environment sensors such as cameras and radar ("See") with central electronic vehicle controllers ("Think") and this is then implemented on the road by intelligent mechatronics in the driveline, chassis and steering ("Act"). End users in construction, agriculture and other off-highway markets can consequently generate completely new concepts in automation.

ZF Innovation Tractor

With the Innovation Tractor ZF has for the first time made an off-highway application the object of its innovative vehicle technology: The ZF Innovation Tractor sees, thinks and acts with the aid of numerous cameras and sensors which monitor its surroundings. Based on this optical data it can be manoeuvred very easily, it simplifies the attachment of implements (SafeRange and Hitch Detection) and, due to the electrical supplementary drive, it also masters any gradient when towing (Traction Management). With this concept ZF demonstrates how intelligent mechanical systems can also be applied in off-highway applications.

ZF ProAI: Artificially intelligent controller

The ZF ProAI processor, specially developed for automotive applications, is the first result of the co-operation between ZF and the IT specialist, Nvidia. At the same time it represents an important step on the way to automated driving: ZF ProAI enables vehicles to "understand" their environment in that it processes and interprets sensor and camera data with the aid of deep learning technology. In addition, both companies are working on solutions for highly automated and fully automated driving – this includes automated and autonomous driving functions for passenger and commercial vehicles as well as applications in industrial engineering.

ZF "Intelligent Gearbox" concept for wind power systems

With the "Intelligent Wind Gearbox" ZF is increasing its focus on the model of Intelligent Performance Management which can increase the efficiency and reliability of wind-power systems. The model comprises the latest sensors and data analysis to prevent system failures and to increase the reliability of wind-power systems. The intelligent wind gearbox can also contribute to the performance optimisation and maintenance of wind-power systems through the use of streams of data. During operation, the system continuously acquires and assesses the real load and the gearbox condition. This reduces maintenance times and also costs.

Intelligent gearbox concept in track-borne transport

Also in track-borne transport ZF is convincing with its intelligent gearbox concept: Due to the latest sensors or data analysis tools, the efficiency and reliability of track-borne vehicles and the infrastructure associated with it are increased. With the appropriate data analysis tool the data records produced by the integrated sensors facilitate remote monitoring or analysis of the gearbox functions and gearbox condition as well as early detection of potential fault sources. For example, the system monitors and analyses the condition of the bearings, gear teeth and housing. Some of the advantages are that downtimes and service costs can be reduced and a longer system life time achieved.

ZF industrial gearbox for ropeways

The next generation of industrial gearboxes will be "smart", i.e. reliability and robustness is further increased by sensors and software such that the operational life of the gearbox can be forecast at any time and extended with preventive maintenance measures. Ropeways are an efficient, environmentally conscious and versatile means of transport for urban development and must therefore offer a reliable and especially safe service. Operators expect a high carrying capacity and availability during the whole life cycle. The quality of the driveline is therefore a crucial building block in the whole system. The low-maintenance, service-friendly and efficient ZF gearboxes fulfil these requirements, because the oil level and temperature are acquired, ensuring early detection of damage.

Car eWallet: Secure blockchain technology

The technical basis of the Car eWallet is blockchain technology which enables business transactions to be carried out in almost real time without involving a central entity or a trustworthy third party. Blockchain technology is based on storing all transactions in a virtual, cryptographically secured chain of data blocks thereby creating a list with the account balances of all users. Since this list is stored on numerous computers and can be checked by all users, the system is regarded as being very secure.

OPENMATICS: Innovative asset-tracking solution

How can industry, transport, logistics and commerce profit from the opportunities offered by digitalisation? OPENMATICS responds with its intelligent connectivity platform. This intuitive solution delivers transport concepts of the future here and now, making logistics and commerce more efficient and it supports companies in guiding their customer service and comfort into the digital era. In this way OPENMATICS intelligently links the potential of digitalisation to the reality of your business – at every location and in every city in the world.


Gernot Hein

Head of Communication & Public Affairs, Industrial Technology

+49 851 494-2480