ZF sets future course with new steer-by-wire systems


ZF is making ready for more and more electrical and autonomous industrial automobiles – and its path is now firmly established with assist from new “steer-by-wire” techniques that may change conventional mechanical connections between steering wheels and axles.

The techniques are scheduled to be utilized to passenger automobiles within the coming yr, however industrial purposes will observe.

“ZF’s sensible by-wire techniques finish the period of mechanical connections and allow a brand new period of auto management,” stated ZF CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider, unveiling the information throughout the firm’s world know-how occasion in Germany.

ZF Safety Innovation Truck
ZF is combining a collection of improvements to help an more and more electrical and autonomous future. (Photograph: ZF)

Steer-by-wire techniques can help extremely autonomous automobiles throughout evasive maneuvers or when parking in confined areas, he stated. “It marks a breakthrough on the way in which to totally self-driving vehicles and vehicles by including new design and engineering freedom.” An instance of that would embrace a steering wheel that retracts when automobiles function autonomously.

Whereas the steering can be tuned to imitate mechanical techniques in typical conditions, it may possibly “extra expertly” steer round obstacles than human drivers, ZF provides.

“We’re exhibiting that these applied sciences are secure,” Scheider stated, referring to work with legislators in numerous jurisdictions together with the U.S. “In North America I’m very optimistic that there gained’t be any obstacles produced by laws.”

Increasing ‘by-wire’ know-how

The brand new method to steering provides to the producer’s choices that already embrace brake-by-wire techniques and electronically managed suspensions.

When mixed, such techniques provide higher automobile controls to allow shorter stopping distances, larger freedom to maneuver, higher stability at excessive speeds, and extra vary and effectivity, ZF says. Brake-by-wire, for instance, can set off the regenerative braking to recharge batteries and lengthen the vary of electrical automobiles.

ZF CeTrax 2
ZF CeTrax 2 (Photograph: ZF)

Including to ZF’s personal electrical automobile portfolio is the brand new CeTrax 2 driveline that delivers a 360 kW output, the corporate says. Its built-in options embrace a stator with a hairpin design, a brand new cooling system, and silicon carbide-based inverter.

The latter providing attracts from ZF passenger vehicles, and it gained’t be the final time industrial merchandise draw from classes within the lighter automobile segments.

“We’ve this motto: Develop as soon as, deploy anyplace,” stated Wilhelm Rehm, head of the industrial automobile options division.

Integrating Wabco

ZF has additionally been actively deploying applied sciences acquired when it bought Wabco for US$7 billion, integrating that enterprise right into a broader industrial automobile options division.

“The profitable integration of Wabco is already paying off,” Rehm stated.

Near 18% of ZF gross sales at the moment are linked to industrial automobiles.

“We’ve established a strong companion for the trade,” Scheider stated, noting the Wabco integration additionally makes ZF much less depending on the corporate’s bigger passenger automotive enterprise.

When experience surrounding supercomputers combines with brakes and steering techniques that embrace sensible actuators, ZF can management each type of driving dynamic, he added.

A next-generation Autonomous Driving Open Platform Expertise (ADOPT 2.0) will improve potential automation in low-speed yard settings as much as 20 km/h. (Photograph: ZF)

Certainly, the corporate is specializing in greater than {hardware} alone. ZF additionally unveiled an AI-powered transport-as-a-service platform often known as Scalar that helps planning, routing and dispatching.

A subsequent technology Autonomous Driving Open Platform Expertise (ADOPT 2.0), in the meantime, will improve potential automation in low-speed yard settings as much as 20 km/h. ADOPT 3.0 will help hub-to-hub purposes at speeds as much as 80 km/h.

“The know-how is out there as we speak already,” Rehm harassed.

ZF Scalar platform
ZF’s Scalar platform will help routing and dispatching. (Photograph: ZF)

There are nonetheless limitations to beat, after all. A type of consists of the continuing scarcity of semiconductors plaguing all OEMs.

“It has tremendously improved in comparison with the scenario a half a yr in the past,” Scheider stated, noting how the scarcity has led ZF to adapt totally different sourcing methods. “We expect we’ve a superb technique to cope.”

It has additionally embraced a broad technique that features electronics, mechatronics and software program.

“ZF,” Scheider stated, “has set its course for the long run.”


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