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ZF advances automated electric technologies for commercial vehicles

Six months after the launch of its new Commercial Vehicle Solutions Division (CVS)development at ZF Friedrichshafen AG is clear: automation, electrification and connectivity are driving the company’s product development roadmap.

ZF unveiled a selection of technological advances for commercial vehicles at its test center in Jeversen, Germany, ahead of the IAA Transportation conference in September. The new developments, which are not yet available on the market, follow Acquisition and integration of Wabco by ZF. The acquisition has helped make ZF the largest supplier to the commercial vehicle industry, said ZF Group CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider.

See also: ZF showcases security solutions at TMC

“Our range of commercial vehicles now represents 18% of total group sales, with a stronger international presence in the United States, India and China,” Scheider said at a press conference on July 19 for the World Day. of the company’s annual technology.

“Our commercial vehicle business also benefits from the economy of scale,” he added. “For us, it is absolutely clear at ZF that the future of mobility will be electric for cars and trucks.”

To further strengthen its “Next Generation Mobility” strategy, ZF highlighted the company’s ability to transfer technologies between vehicle segments in automation and electric drives for passenger and freight transportation.

The next generation eMobility for commercial vehicles

Alluding to ZF’s cross-divisional approach, Wilhelm Rehm, member of the ZF board of directors and head of the new CVS division, said that the integration of Wabco is already paying off, as CVS combines the advantages of a regionalized organizational structure with those of the global group.

“The trend towards automated, connected and electrified vehicles represents a huge commitment in terms of development costs for OEMs,” said Rehm. “With our wide range of integrated solutions, ZF offers its customers the possibility of being at the forefront of technology while reducing their development efforts.”

At the press conference, ZF previewed its CeTrax 2 modular electric integrated driveline for heavy-duty vehicles. The new system combines what ZF calls a “favorable” power-to-weight ratio and a “highly integrated compact design”.

The driveline features a sustained output of 360 kW and improved efficiency thanks to shift assist, ZF said. It also includes technologies including a hairpin design for the stator, a cooling system and a silicon carbide-based inverter, all adapted from ZF passenger car technology. Series production with a global automaker will begin next year, the company said.

Demonstrating the success of its software development, ZF also launched Scalar, a new digital solutions platform that enables transport-as-a-service capabilities for commercial vehicle fleets. A fully automated planning, routing and dispatching solution, ZF Scalar combines and connects on-board technologies on commercial vehicles and third-party systems with artificial intelligence.

Highlighting its advance from component manufacturing to integrated automation solutions, ZF also unveiled how it leverages its scalar orchestration platform and next-generation automated chassis control solution Autonomous Driving Open Platform Technology (ADOPT) 2.0 for end-to-end fleet automation. ADOPT 2.0 focuses on low speed yard automation applications up to 12.4 mph. In addition, ZF will also showcase ADOPT 3.0, which enables hub-to-hub highway applications at speeds of up to nearly 80 km/h.

“Our order books already show that despite a difficult environment, the need is there for modern technology as a solution to the industry’s immense challenges,” said Rehm. “To meet these challenges, there is no need for more everything, but for smart solutions intended to contribute to the reduction of emissions and safety.”

Additionally, Scheider noted that ZF is working with lawmakers in Europe, the United States, China, Brazil and other countries to prove these technologies are safe.

“We succeed when we can prove that these products help keep people safe,” he said. “We have already succeeded in convincing lawmakers to change legislation based on these new modern technologies so that they can be introduced to the market. For this technology in North America, I am very optimistic that there will be no legal barriers to introducing the technology.

Electric steering automation by wire

At its global technology event, ZF previewed its advanced cable-steer technology for the front axle. This technology transmits driver commands to the steering system entirely through electrical signals, removing the mechanical link between the steering wheel and the front axle. In the future, by-wire technology is expected to play a central role in all aspects of vehicle motion control, according to ZF.

Current technology is intended for use in passenger vehicles; However, ZF’s new steer-by-wire technology will also be applied to commercial vehicle automation, Scheider added. The company also announced that this technology will be launched on an industrial scale by a “major global automaker within the next year”.

Electric systems provide better vehicle control, creating shorter stopping distances, more degrees of freedom in maneuvering, better stability at high speeds and greater range and efficiency, ZF pointed out. With by-wire technologies, the amount of steering assist or braking torque can be adjusted to mimic the typical feel drivers expect. It can also be instantly adjusted to improve braking force to shorten stopping distances or steer around an obstacle, the company noted.

Additionally, ZF’s brake-by-wire IBC braking system provides regenerative braking and energy recovery that helps recharge electric vehicle batteries.

When it comes to bringing all of these technologies to market, Scheider acknowledged that semiconductor shortages are always a challenge.

“It’s going to keep us all busy longer,” he said of the component shortages. “The whole industry is suffering from this. There is an over-proportion of growth and demand for semiconductors, that is clear in the market. Everyone gets it all over the world, so over the next five years the demand is expected to increase. »

“Camera systems, cable systems and anything that controls electronics require these components and will be on the agenda for a long time,” Scheider added. Our wallet is very versatile. We can’t provide the full range of the wallet yet, but it has improved considerably. At least we think we have a good strategy to approach it.

This article originally appeared on FleetOwner.com.

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