ZF Friedrichshafen is moving on after its failed attempt to take over brake manufacturer Haldex. ZF's plans now include greater involvement in electronic-braking technologies and developing new customer groups using ZF's e-platform concept, CEO Stefan Sommer told Automobilwoche, a sibling publication of Automotive News Europe.
What are your goals after the failed attempt to buy Haldex?
Our goal is still to fully establish ourselves in braking technology. We still have a gap in the commercial vehicles area. But now we will likely move into the new brake-by-wire technologies and focus on segments such as electrified distribution transport and urban buses. There we will have a stronger technology transfer from the passenger car world.
Can your portfolio from the passenger car field be transferred to other areas?
In the development of passenger car applications, we are now moving to an emphasis on sub-functions and autonomous driving. We are applying radar sensors, cameras and telematics systems such as our telematics platform Openmatics, to establish autonomous driving functions in farming and construction equipment as well. We are proceeding similarly in commercial vehicles. For example, we want to develop one of our factories into a pilot plant for automated commercial vehicle transport within the factory. We are seeing strong interest from customers in these applications. They are commercially attractive.
You are working with Nvidia to produce a self-learning, central computing center for vehicles. Doesn’t it put chips from your partnership with Mobileye out of the game if object recognition takes place in the control system ZF Pro AI?
Certainly not. Mobileye will remain a key ZF partner. ZF Pro AI processes data from different sensors, for example, radar, lidar or camera data. Object recognition and image processing occur as they have in the past, in the camera's EyeQ chip and then is then consolidated and analyzed in the ZF Pro AI with all the other data from the environment recognition system.