ZF preparing truck platooning technology

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German company ZF is working with commercial vehicle manufacturers to deliver the ability of multibrand truck platooning to European roads by 2021.

As part of the EU co-funded ENSEMBLE project, which involves multiple manufacturers, ZF is developing technology including sensor sets, its ProAI Supercomputer, ReAx electrohydraulic steering and TraXon transmission system, which are all in preproduction phase.

When combined, they help a commercial vehicle to see, think and act – essential for the act of platooning, where vehicles drive at a reduced distance between each other and steer and brake in synchronization with a lead vehicle.

“Driving functions like platooning are enabled by innovative ZF technology,” said Fredrik Staedtler, head of the Commercial Vehicle Technology Division at ZF.

“We are already providing truck manufacturers with networking support that is making transport more efficient and positively impacting the total cost of ownership.”

When platooning in a convoy, aerodynamic drag is reduced for every truck behind the lead vehicle, and can reduce fuel consumption by up to 20%.

However, as multiple brand trucks are involved in the ENSEMBLE project, it is critical for a networking standard to be agreed in order to get the technology on the road by the target date.

By James Billington

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