Beep, which describes itself as an autonomous mobility-as-a-service company, will implement ZF’s next generation, the Level 4 Autonomous Shuttle, which the company also launched at CES today. Level 4 AutonomyIt means that the car is able to drive itself in most situations and not require a human operator, provided it is within its operational design. ZF stated that the new ZF shuttle will be built in partnership to software company AV OXbotica. It is designed for mixed traffic and urban environments.
ZF’s prior shuttle model only walked in designated lanes. ZF’s subsidiary 2getthere in Rotterdam, Source City, is currently operating these buses. ZF claims that it has logged over 62 million km independently in real traffic with over 14 million passengers.
ZF will also be implementing a new technology in the new shuttle. in Las Vegas, including the ZF ProConnect connectivity platform that enables connection to the cloud and surrounding infrastructure, and the ZF ProAI supercomputer that can support Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, infotainment, and chassis functions. These two platforms are used together to enable ZF’s Virtual Driver software, which is the company’s proprietary suite for autonomous driving software.
The introduction of electric cars has resulted in an increase in vehicle communication. Everything, from opening and closing windows to automated driving functions to infotainment and passenger comfort, can be controlled by computers. Instead of stacking electronic control units (ECUs)—which historically handled one job at a time—on top of each other, suppliers assemble them into so-called supercomputers. ZF’s Pro AI supercomputer unites multiple systems-on a chip (SoCs), from different vendors, into one unit that is more efficient, takes less space (the new ProAI device measures 12 by 6 by 6 inches), and allows for supply restrictions to be eased.
Nvidia, which has a strong reputation for handling all things software defined computing in cars, now sees the need to develop a new piece. The tech giant revealed at CES that it would work with it Foxconn to build ECUsNvidia’s Drive platform and the Orin SoC create a supercomputer capable of replacing a variety of ECUs in a vehicle that is otherwise dedicated to different tasks, such digital instrument cluster, autonomous driving, and in-car park. .
ZF’s latest ProAI version can handle complex tasks and can reach 1,500 TOPS. This is a 50% increase on the previous version. ZF stated that it has ordered more than 13,000,000 units and expects to grow, with production volumes expected to start in 2024.
Transform public transportation into an independent entity
According to ZF the ZF shuttle can hold 22 passengers and have 15 seats. The ZF shuttle conforms to the Americans with Disabilities Act. It also includes a power ramp, and restrictions for wheelchairs. ZF estimates that the shuttle will initially reach speeds of 25 mph. It will eventually reach speeds of 50 mph. Customers can choose from a range of battery capacities, ranging from 50 to 100 kWh. This will allow the shuttle to travel up to 80 miles in pure electrical mode.
Beep and ZF have agreed to deliver several thousand shuttle busses over the next few year. ZF’s next-generation shuttle will be available for market entry in 2025 and production will ramp up in mid-2026 according to Torsten Gulewski (executive vice president of Autonomous Mobility Systems, ZF).
ZF and Pape did not say where they would deploy ZF’s spacecraft, but Pape said that they are evaluating a range of possible locations.
“The whistle has already been run with concrete roads. We are currently working to create the operational scenario. We will comment on this in more detail in due course,” Gollewski told TechCrunch. “In general, we consider both scenarios for each potential customer depending on the route, as one of the advantages of our transportation solutions is the ability to operate in mixed traffic as well as in dedicated lanes – depending on the type of solution required and the most efficient way to achieve this we can offer the best An option for the community and also connecting the rural community to the surrounding big cities.”
Most Beep’s current deployments occur along specific routes within a campus. Beep, for example, provides shuttle service in Lake Nona (Florida) within a 17-square mile development that connects residential and commercial, retail, recreational, medical, and other services. Peachtree corners, Ga., a 500-acre tech park, has recently partnered up with Beep to test the shuttle buses on a designated track running along a major road that connects the hub.
“ZF’s complete suite of shuttle services, its network of US partners, and its car-class vehicle complement its turnkey mobility networks and self-service technology platform,” Beep CEO Joe Moy said in a statement. “This shuttle will allow us to continue pursuing our vision of expanding mobility equity and reducing carbon emissions, expanding our use cases while meeting industry requirements for vehicle service life, performance, and safety.”
ZF is an automotive supplier and the company stated that it offers Beep and future partners service and maintenance through its global network 20,000 workshop partners. ZF North America has 3000 workshop partners.
“As a technology leader, ZF sees itself not only as a supplier of shuttles, but also as a partner in the full life cycle of its shuttle vehicles,” said Gollewski. “We not only provide transportation service, but also provide services with autonomous transportation system, including fleet management, maintenance, repair and training.. Therefore, the partnership also includes a comprehensive service concept to ensure smooth operation and thus maximum uptime for the shuttles.”
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