As we approach IAA Transportation 2022, the eagerly awaited event in Hanover, ZF is paving the way of innovation that the German giant intends to take in the coming years. At the Global Technology Days held on July 19 and 20 at the Jeversen test track, not far from Hanover, we were able to experience firsthand what ZF means by mobility of the future. Indeed, ZF aims to lead energy transition in the commercial vehicle sector through a real skin change: from powertrain component manufacturer to a full-fledged player, engaged in the forefront of projects involving digitalization, autonomous driving, next-generation ADAS, and advanced fleet management through artificial intelligence.
ZF: a preview of what we’ll see at IAA 2022
Facilitators in the scenario of a truly new mobility, in short, with a special focus on trucks, only six months after the launch of the Commercial Vehicle Solution division. And trucks were the focus of the event organized in Germany, which we could attend, discovering all the ‘innovation stations’ prepared by ZF along the test track: from fleet management systems to e-mobility; from automated driving to e-trailer efficiency, up to advanced ADAS systems and the driveline products developed by ZF. Indeed, the latest acquisitions – Wabco and BestMile above all – but also the building of an ecosystem composed of high-level partners have even increased ZF’s footprint in the commercial vehicle sector.
Starting from the physical products – the hardware, let’s say – ZF introduced the newest version of the CeTrax. CeTrax 2 is ZF’s integrated, modular electric driveline for heavy-duty commercial vehicles. The new system combines a favorable power-to-weight ratio and a highly integrated, compact design. This enables a high, sustained output of 360 kW and improved efficiency through powershift gear changes. It also features high-end technologies including a hairpin design for the stator, an innovative cooling system and a silicon carbide-based inverter, adapted from ZF’s passenger car expertise. Series production with a global vehicle manufacturer will start next year.
ZF is also working on increasing safety and efficiency of trucks and semitrailers. Or, to be more precise, the combination of both elements. We’re referring to systems capable to monitor the cargo in real time, thanks to the use of sensors and cameras, as well as software developed to manage the coupling of tractors and trailers. Also, loading and unloading operations can be managed with a little help from technology, as well, thus relieving unexperienced drivers from the risk of making mistakes.
From automated driving to fleet management software
By the end of this decade, more or less, automated driving may be widespread. Of course, ZF is testing several solutions, and we could experience some of them in Jeversen, including tests carried out in wet conditions, with the operator called upon more to supervise. At its Global Technology Days, ZF unveiled its next generation ADOPT 2.0 (Autonomous Driving Open Platform Technology) automated chassis control solution combined with its expertise to provide full end-to-end yard automation solutions. ADOPT 2.0 focuses on low-speed yard automation applications up to 20 km/h. In addition, ZF will also showcase ADOPT 3.0, which enables hub-to-hub highway applications at speeds up to 80 km/h.
Talking about previews, the aforementioned acquisition of BestMile brought to the development of SCALAR, a new digital solutions platform for commercial vehicle fleets that enables efficient Transport- as-a-Service (TaaS). It is a fully automated, AI-based planning, routing and dispatching solution. ZF SCALAR combines and connects technologies on board commercial vehicles and third-party systems with artificial intelligence. The platform will help fleet operators increase operational efficiency, sustainability, planning reliability, and cargo and passenger safety.
“ZF’s latest annual global technology showcase once again demonstrates how well positioned ZF is to meet challenges and maximize opportunities for the future. By increasing diversification, entering new markets, achieving greater technology penetration and pursuing our proven sustainability strategy, significant progress has been achieved by ZF at the very forefront of e-mobility, automation and connected, software-defined vehicles”, commented ZF CEO, Wolf-Henning Scheider.