What are the key trends for the commercial vehicle industry as it heads into the future? What products and competencies does a leading technology company need along the way? And is it possible to create innovations that enhance safety and efficiency? ZF Friedrichshafen AG will be presenting its answers to these questions in the run-up to this year’s IAA Commercial Vehicles. The ZF Innovation Truck 2016 in particular incorporates solutions to these questions, as well as the vision of accident-free traffic (Vision Zero). It offers autonomous steering control during evasive maneuvers, keeping the truck in lane while maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead during long- distance transport, and completes an important part of the last mile on its own at the loading dock.
The megatrends of automation, networking, safety and electrification are changing the world of mobility – creating a global phenomenon, fast and enduring, with an impact on nearly every industry segment. The integration of TRW into ZF means the company is now better placed than ever to help decisively shape this transition. The triad of "See – Think – Act" constitutes a guiding principle for the company itself and also a unique selling proposition for its technology innovations. Instead of developing stand-alone solutions, ZF uses its expertise to develop intelligent systems that reflect the megatrends and always aim to deliver genuine added value in practical applications. Furthermore, ZF boasts the main products and technologies that enable it to viably implement concepts and tailor them to specific applications – from mechanics/mechatronics to hardware and software.
Commercial vehicle assist systems
The basic three elements of "See – Think – Act" are ultimately reflected in ZF's technologies. The ZF Innovation Truck illustrates this impressively. It recognizes its surroundings reliably in three dimensions using sensor fusion, processes this data and directly executes the resulting commands using advanced mechatronics – including electrified drive and steering systems.
ZF has worked to enhance its current assist systems based on practical experience and demonstrate the vision of accident-free traffic (Vision Zero) in the ZF Innovation Truck. One result is the Evasive Maneuver Assist (EMA) developed in cooperation with WABCO. This system automatically steers tractor-trailers around hazardous areas safely and helps to prevent rear-end collisions. The Highway Driving Assist (HDA) is another assist system which actively keeps the vehicle in lane and at an appropriate, safe distance from the vehicle in front. The ZF Innovation Truck also takes safety to a new level in the loading zone by automatically maneuvering into the specified loading dock, preventing accidents and downtime caused by maneuvering.
This is the first commercial vehicle to feature ZF assist systems which have been implemented successfully for cars. The assist functions have also been adapted to boost safety in the agricultural sector. By transferring driver assist systems to other applications, ZF allows virtually all vehicle categories to reflect on the megatrends. ZF precisely masters and promotes the networking of systems within disparate modes of transport and the way in which these systems interact with their surroundings.
Systems that see, think and act have to be efficient as well as intelligent and ZF is also presenting new or enhanced technologies for this megatrend. The premiere of the electric central drive for the city bus, the latest evolutionary stage of the electric axle drive module, is making light commercial vehicles more efficient. The technology company is also helping to increase the efficiency of internal combustion engine drivelines, for example with the debut of the new PowerLine automatic transmission, which transfers all the advantages of the 8-speed automatic transmission to multiple CV segments. Or with the start/stop function, familiar in passenger cars, which is now combined with the EcoLife transmission and installed in city buses.