ZF has announced that it has launched the ZF coPILOT, a Level 2+ automated driving system. The company says that the ZZF copilot is an intelligent advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that can further enhance safety and comfort to the driving experience. The system uses AI and integrates a comprehensive set of sensors which makes it possible for a vehicle to perform many automated driving functions, especially on freeways.
Another notable feature of the ZF coPILOT is that it can be operated with voice commands and has the capability to recognize traffic conditions, sense vehicle handling and keep tabs on the driver, and can thus intervene pro-actively to pre-empt hazardous situations. The technology is powered by the ZF ProAI central computer and the Nvidia Drive platform. The company expects that the technology will be available for volume production from 2021.
Back in January this year, at the CES show, Nvidia and ZF had announced that the ZF ProAI will be the first system to use Nvidia’s Drive software. ZF will be showcasing the ZF coPILOT at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition. The two partners will team up to present a ‘Level 2+’ system that can ramp up the safety and comfort associated with driving a passenger car.
Comemnting on the new driving system, Torsten Gollewski, head of Autonomous Mobility Solutions at ZF, said that the ZF coPILOT comes with AI, a 360-degree sensor set, ZF ProAI central computer and Nvidia’s Drive platform, and hence offers driving and safety functions that far surpass the performance of a regular Level 2 system for semi-automated driving. Thus, it offers a higher level of semi-automated driving.
At Auto Shanghai, ZF will be featuring the technology in the ZF coPILOT demonstration vehicle, which will be presented there for the first time to highlight the functional scope and benefits of the system. The vehicle will be able to perform certain driving maneuvers autonomously, like entering and leaving highways under the appropriate conditions. The ZF coPILOT makes highway driving a lot easier by combining an advanced cruise control with active steering assistance and lane keeping assist. It can also proactively change lanes, pass, and merge. The system can continually analyze vehicle surroundings, recognizing pedestrians, oncoming traffic, and intersections. It also comes with sensors and functions that keeps track of the driver and can trigger warnings in case a potentially dangerous situation comes up. In addition to intelligent route guidance including ‘MyRoute’ – a map function that recognizes repeat routes – the ZF coPILOT can recognize voice commands which the driver can use to conveniently enable, operate and disable driver assistance functions.
The sensors in the demonstration vehicle comprise a front radar, four corner radars, and a total of eight cameras. Of the eight cameras, two cameras are directed forwards and one backwards, two are integrated into each side mirror and one monitors the driver. A massive amount of data is collected in real-time by the comprehensive sensor set, and hence high-performance processing power is required. This processing power will be derived from the ZF ProAI Gen2 central computer that powers ZF copilot. It uses Nvidia’s Drive Xavier processor at its core, which can integrate and completely control the pre-trained algorithms for all driver assistance functions. The system is flexible, scalable, and can be updated seamlessly. Automotive manufacturers can add additional features and functions of their own or those developed by ZF if needed.
The ZF ProAI covers the entire automotive range with a product family comprising four models ranging from Level 0 to Level 5. The top model, ZF ProAI RoboThink, features up to 600 trillion operations per second (600 teraOPS), making it the most powerful AI-enabled supercomputer currently available in the mobility industry.
In many countries, highly automated driving at SAE Level 3 is not allowed. The ZF coPILOT is based on semi-automated driving at SAE Level 2. This level calls for the driver to continuously monitor traffic conditions. But the enhanced Level 2+ technologies from ZF and Nvidia provide reliable and convenient assistance, performing like a ‘co-pilot’ to support the driver.
“We are convinced that an extended Level 2+ system like the ZF coPILOT is very attractive for manufacturers. Due to its wide range of functions, it offers consumers significant added value in terms of safety and driving comfort – and at a competitive price,” added Gollewski.
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