ZF introduces AI-capable supercomputer and partners with Transdev and e.GO to develop shared autonomous mobility
ZF has unveiled the latest model of its automotive supercomputer, ZF ProA. The four models in the ZF ProAI product family can be optimally configured for any application—from a basic ADAS function right up to fully autonomous cars, commercial vehicles, and industrial applications. Customers can also specify their favorite software architecture. Additionally, ZF premiered its own software stack for new mobility concepts
ZF’s new product’s volume production starts within the next 12 months.
“We’re thrilled with the results of our collaboration with ZF. Their agility and system expertise has resulted in the incredibly rapid development of the ProAI platform enabling L2+ through L4/L5 robotaxi vehicles, leveraging NVIDIA’s DRIVE Xavier processors and DRIVE software,” said Rob Csongor, Vice President of Autonomous Machines at NVIDIA. “ZF is now able to deliver to carmakers advanced L2+ self-driving solutions for production starting in 2020 and the ability to quickly scale to higher levels of autonomy.”
The ZF ProAI RoboThink comes with its own graphics processor, offers a total computing performance of more than 150 teraOPS (the equivalent of 150 trillion calculation operations per second) and can be modularly combined with up to four units, corresponding to a total performance of 600 teraOPS.
"The unique selling proposition of the AI-capable ZF ProAI RoboThink is its modular hardware concept and open software architecture. Our aim is to provide the widest possible range of functions in the field of autonomous driving," explained Torsten Gollewski, Head of ZF Advanced Engineering and General Manager of Zukunft Ventures GmbH.
With four models, ZF says it can cover virtually the entire range of possible application scenarios and use cases. The ZF ProAI Gen1 is a cost- effective entry-level model that complies with virtually all NCAP 2022 standards. The ZF ProAI Gen2 has sufficient computing potential to enable partially and highly automated Level 2 and Level 3 driving. The next stage up, the ZF ProAI Gen3, offers broad modularity and can combine various chips on up to three performance boards. This should provide enough computing power for real-time processing of the data required for automated driving up to Level 4. The latest model, the ZF ProAI RoboThink—with its scalable computing power and its own graphics processor—is suited for autonomous driving applications from Level 4 and above.
The ZF ProAI product family offers an open platform for the customized integration of software algorithms—covering conventional functions as well as AI algorithms. They support various operating systems common in the automotive field, such as AutoSAR, Adaptive AutoSAR, or QNX, and will add further platforms as they are developed. The successful partnership with NVIDIA continues with the ZF ProAI RoboThink—however, ZF says it also offers customers the option of equipping the ZF ProAI with processors from other manufacturers. A current example is ZF’s new partnership with Xilinx. ZF is integrating Xilinx’s multi-processor system-on-chip (MPSoC) platform for data aggregation, pre-processing, and distribution to enable the scalability and flexibility required for various sensor and automated driving feature sets, while also providing low latency and high efficiency artificial intelligence computer acceleration.
The people and cargo mover that ZF will launch in volume production this year in a joint venture with e.GO Mobile AG will also use ZF ProAI for its automated driving functions and networking.
The new shared mobility solution will integrate the autonomous driven, fully electric and connected e.GO Mover shuttle with an operating system by Transdev. ZF says it is equipping this people mover with electric drive systems, steering systems, and brakes as well as ZF’s ProAI central computer (using artificial intelligence) and sensors which enable automated driving functions. Transdev, through its global Autonomous Transport System (ATS by Transdev) will provide its supervision system, connected infrastructure, and client application.
The partners will start working together immediately to provide a fully functional solution by 2020, with priority markets in France and Germany.