While ZF is mostly known for its expertise in transmissions, that doesn’t mean the supplier isn’t aligned with the current trends – and is even aiming to improve them.
You can’t have a revolution without a vision – and alongside Tesla (looking at a green future at home, at work and on the road) or Volvo (looking at a safe, autonomous future with no injuries or fatalities) now sits ZF Friedrichshafen. Their vision is nicknamed exactly like that – with the Vision Zero Vehicle aiming to bundle all of mobility’s forefront technologies into a single package. More precisely they are gunning for both zero emissions and zero accidents. Just like any other year, ZF has built either a concept for the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show, or this being an odd year, a passenger car concept for the Frankfurt Motor Show. It’s actually a converted Volkswagen Touran, with an electric powertrain and all the autonomous and safety technology available today.
The latter include technologies such as automated highway driving under certain conditions, as well as interesting features such as the wrong-way inhibit and driver distraction assist. The latter makes use of a smart laser-based interior camera to monitor the driver, and when there’s a need it will warn with audio and text messages, but also tighten the smart seatbelt. If there’s no response, it will take over and safely stop the vehicle. The system can also identify if a driver enters a road in the wrong way – using the same warnings and then stopping the vehicle. ZF also used on the vehicle its mSTARS setup – a semi-trailing arm rear suspension – that also includes a 150-kW (201-hp) electric motor.