ZF has equipped an electric delivery van with Level 4 autonomous technology to facilitate last-mile deliveries. When the distance between two delivery addresses is very short, the courier can simply walk, while the van follows “as if on a virtual leash”.
The ‘Innovation Truck’ is equipped with a sensor set consisting of cameras, lidar and radar, which send data back to ZF’s AV ECU and software package, ProAI.
The vehicle is designed to independently manoeuvre through city centres, stay in its lane even if without road markings, recognize both traffic lights and road signs, and react to hazardous situations and obstacles such as double-parked vehicles.
The ‘FollowMe’ function allows the van to follow the driver when it makes more sense to walk. If there is nowhere to leave the vehicle while the driver makes the delivery, the van can look for an alternative parking space on its own.
ZF CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider, said, “We are revolutionizing the last mile so that packages can be delivered more cleanly, safely and on time. For this reason, we are working together with partners and customers to further develop our concept ready for series production within the next two years.
By Illya Verpraet