ZF, Beep Join on L4 Shuttle

Source: ZF announcement

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany/LAS VEGAS — ZF unveiled its next generation shuttle for autonomous driving in urban environments and mixed traffic at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The next generation complements the established model, which is primarily designed for use in segregated lanes. For the new shuttle generation ZF announces a strategic partnership with U.S. mobility services provider Beep, Inc.

The agreement aims to deliver several thousand shuttles to customers over the coming years, combining ZF’s ATS with Beep’s mobility services and service management platform into a single-source autonomous mobility solution.

“In order to reduce traffic-related emissions in metropolitan areas, a reduction in motorized individual transport and a simultaneous expansion of more sustainable, efficient, comfortable, and affordable mobility options are required,” says Torsten Gollewski, Executive Vice President, Autonomous Mobility Systems at ZF.

With its Autonomous Transport Systems, ZF is driving a mobility transformation, while offering a solution to the serious driver shortage in local public transport.

As further proof of its progress on the road to “Next Generation Mobility NOW,” ZF is presenting a new, autonomous Level 4 Shuttle. The new shuttle complements the already established autonomous shuttle model. In the near future, ZF can offer two shuttletypes – one primarily for use in segregated lanes and the new model, which will be used primarily in urban environments and in mixed traffic.

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The new shuttle is equipped with state-of-the-art sensor technology consisting of lidar, radar, camera, and audio systems that provide precise environmental detection.

This is complemented by other technology such as the ZF ProConnect connectivity platform, which enables communication with the infrastructure and the cloud, as well as the ZF ProAI supercomputer, where data converge.

The Virtual Driver – ZF’s AD software – processes these expansive volumes of information, derives safe driving strategies using artificial intelligence, and passes them on as input to the on-board actuators. The Virtual Driver replaces the human driver and thus makes the steering wheel and brake pedal superfluous.

The system is designed with redundancies so that the full functionality and operability of the vehicles are highly reliable. Thus, ProConnect and ProAI units in the shuttle work together to operate the ZF Virtual Driver. All ZF components and systems are Automotive Grade certified, meeting both the high safety and quality requirements of the automotive industry and applicable cyber security standards.

Focus on flexibility

With selectable battery capacities between 50 and 100 kWh, the next-generation shuttle can cover up to 80 miles in pure electric mode – at a maximum speed of initially 25 mph, in further development of 50 mph.

The Shuttle offers a total passenger capacity of 22 with up to 15 seated. The vehicle conforms to requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and includes an automatic ramp and wheelchair restraints.

The interior is customizable in layout and trim level. With front- and rear-wheel steer and kneeling functions, distance to the sidewalk is reduced to a minimum when approaching a stop. This enables the shuttle to dock precisely and provide barrier-free boarding and disembarking.

Autonomous, emission-free ZF Shuttles can operate on defined routes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Public transport operators can provide passengers with a mobility service even when demand is low and expand routes to meet increased demand despite an acute shortage of drivers.

To view the complete announcement, click HERE.

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