The trade journal Vehicle Dynamics International centers around everything that makes passenger cars more dynamic. Since 2008, the magazine has honored companies for their technologies, innovations, and engineering achievements in the area of vehicle dynamics with an award. In April 2015, this year's jury comprising 29 leading trade journalists from 19 countries selected ZF for two awards: Active Kinematics Control was recognized as Innovation of the Year and ZF Friedrichshafen AG received the Supplier of the Year Award.
The 2015 Supplier of the Year accolade that was awarded for the eighth time in April 2015 went to ZF because "in the last twelve months, the company launched a series of innovations in new volume production vehicles," the jury justified their decision.
The jury recognized one of these technological innovations as Innovation of the Year: the active rear axle kinematics AKC. ZF's system that reached the maturity phase in 2013 demonstrates its advantages in driving dynamics as a standard component in Porsche's 911 Turbo and 911 GT3 models.
The technology is based on a length-adjustable toe link. The mechatronic system replacing the rigid toe link is able to adjust the toe angle while the vehicle is moving, causing a steering motion of approximately three degrees at the rear axle. The active system with integrated control software aligns the steering angle to the steering motion at the front wheels and the respective driving situation. The technology delivers benefits in virtually every situation: When driving slowly through narrow streets, it steers contrary to the front wheels' steering angle and generates a higher yaw rate of the vehicle. At higher speeds, in other words from around 60 km/h, the system steers the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels, thus improving directional stability and driving dynamics.
"We are delighted to receive the Vehicle Dynamics International Award," says Dr. Peter Holdmann, Head of Development at ZF's Chassis Technology division and in charge of the Chassis Systems Business Unit. "With the active rear axle kinematics, we successfully developed a system that combines improved driving dynamics with other benefits: additional safety and – as the system and its mechatronic actuators are regulated according to the power-on-demand principle – highly energy-efficient operation."