CES 2017: ZF and NVIDIA think the car

From the gear factory to the think tank

If our mobility changes, so must the big players. While it used to be a fine art to ensure the constant culture of the automobile with precise mechanics, the requirements change in the same breath as "autonomous driving", "always on" connectivity and electromobility are pronounced. ZF is one of the big players in the supplier sector. A group that is currently preparing for the changes at full speed. Part of this change is a completely new partnership that has now been announced in Las Vegas.

NVIDIA and the “Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen” - global players for the future of mobility

As early as 2018, the supplier ZF will deliver a control unit in series, the capabilities of which are based on the considerable computing power of the NVIDIA processor structure of the “PX 2 AI”. An “ECU”, a control unit that can be thought of as the “head” of the computer armada in a modern car. A high-tech platform that processes the input signals from several cameras, lidar, radar and ultrasonic sensors in real time and links them with the other control units of the vehicle. An intelligent control unit, able to learn independently.

With ZF ProAI, ZF and NVIDIA bring artificial intelligence into the
Transport industry - and thus lay the foundation for one
rapid implementation of autonomous driving functions.

ZF presents “Pro Ai”

Artificial intelligence and “deep learning” for machines. The basic requirements for autonomous driving in the near future. The partnership with NVIDIA catapults ZF into a completely new age. You finally arrive in the digital world. It is the fruitful cooperation between two high-tech companies. One produces computing cores with the performance of supercomputers and the other brings the know-how and experience of a global automotive supplier with it. Computer systems for automobiles have to meet completely different requirements. Together you present with the now presented "on-board computer" ZF PRO AI the basis for the next leap in development in the automotive industry.

AI opens up enormous opportunities

The development of autonomous driving can be drastically accelerated through supercomputing and deep learning ability. For this purpose, the NVIDIA DIRVE PX 2 AI platform provides enormous computing power, which allows the complete 360-degree environment around the vehicle to be precisely understood and activities to be derived from it.

ZF supplies ZF ProAI as a system integrated in the vehicle that can be updated via the cloud and equipped with additional functions and capabilities throughout the entire automotive life cycle. The system is designed for V2X applications, so it can communicate with other vehicles and with the surrounding infrastructure. In addition, the learning ability and networking of ZF ProAI in the sense of swarm intelligence can make entire vehicle fleets safer and more efficient.

The future of ZF: connected and intelligent

"Electromobility and autonomous driving are changing the vehicle industry fundamentally and extremely quickly"

Dr. Stefan Sommer, CEO ZF


Anyone who cannot keep up with the increasing speed of changes in the automotive industry will soon no longer be assigned a role. Dr. Stefan Sommer, the CEO of ZF, knows about this danger and, together with his colleagues, has set the course at ZF. The catchy claim “see - think - act” combines everything that the future has in store for requirements. Autonomous driving, electrified driving, connected driving. The future brand competence of the traditional supplier falls under the new claim of the Friedrichshafen company. And even if the acquisition of HALDEX did not work out as you would have liked - with the takeover of TRW you have positioned yourself more broadly than ever before. SEE, THINK, ACT - seeing describes the sensor technology, thinking describes the future competence in the field of high-performance control devices and “acting” forms the bridge to the previous core competence of the “Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen”.

A system for saving human lives also celebrated its premiere in Las Vegas. 

With X2SAFE the networking of all “road users” comes one step closer. A technology that is easy to implement could turn the smartphone into a personal safety assistant as a source of danger in road traffic. The networking of all participants, cars, cyclists and pedestrians via the cloud shows the possibilities of digitization from a security perspective.

From warning to active intervention
The intelligence of the system is that the algorithm can individually analyze the behavior of all road users in the vicinity and via a reaction
decides. If a pedestrian does not keep to the red phases of traffic lights or crosses streets at unsuitable points, he can rate this behavior as particularly "unsafe" and assumes a greater individual risk potential. In this case, a warning of the driver would be possible in the approaching vehicle. At the same time, pedestrians would also be given an acoustic and visual alarm by their smartphone or smartwatch.

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