First, ZF has accelerated its commercial vehicle electrification program. ZF’s AxTrax AVE electric axle has been in daily operation for a number of years and, this year, the group will start volume production of the CeTrax electric central drive. By 2023, a complete modular electric drive kit, with axle and central drives, will be established for buses and trucks of up to 44 tons. As with other ZF electric systems, it will be ‘open to technology’, meaning it can be combined with a battery or fuel cell, for example.
ZF can now also extend its electrification expertise to trailers with the eTrailer. This semitrailer, with integrated electric motor, can convert the conventional truck it is coupled with into a hybrid vehicle that consumes up to 16% less fuel. In addition, with the e-trailer, traction and acceleration improve while noise level and brake wear decrease.
ZF also announced what it calls the industry’s first fully automated coupling assistant, which enables trucks to find their allocated trailer autonomously and engage automatically.
Another innovation, Advanced Reversing Assist, is an enhanced reversing assistance function for trucks. Both solutions help to reduce the risk of accidents, offer depots increased operating safety and efficiency while reducing the risk of time delays and repair costs that are typically associated with manoeuvring damage, the company says.
For automated vehicle operations, advanced vehicle motion control based on WABCO’s ADOPT (Autonomous Driving Open Technology) software platform increases safety, efficiency and operational productivity. The ADOPT framework applies ZF’s expertise in Autonomous Driving and Artificial Intelligence to the commercial vehicle world, helping to simplify and accelerate the development of Automated Driving applications for Virtual Drivers (Autonomous Driving Artificial Intelligence). It is specifically designed to support automated driving modes by providing instant, precise manoeuvring and stable vehicle control in response to real world automated driving.
ZF is also reinforcing its capabilities in digitalization and vehicle connectivity to better serve the commercial vehicle fleets sector. The extended and integrated offering of truck, bus and trailer technologies provides ZF with broad access to a rich reservoir of vehicle systems data, which in turn power its growing portfolio of cloud-based applications and services to further optimize fleet efficiency and safety, the company says.