ZF has announced that the company will be setting up a technology center for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cybersecurity in Saarbrucken, Germany. The company is already working om the development of AI applications for systems and components as well as for making production and services safer, more intelligent and efficient.
With the establishment of the new ‘ZF AI & Cybersecurity Centre,’ ZF plans to expand its activities in the area of AI research. The new center will serve as a hub for coordinating and controlling the company’s future AI activities. Wolf-Henning Scheider, CEO, ZF Friedrichshafen, announced that as a new shareholder of the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and strategic partner of the Helmholtz Centre for Information Security (CISPA), ZF will work closely with these premier research institutions in the future. It is expected that the collaboration deal will be finalized in the second quarter of 2019 and will be subject to the approval of all current shareholders.
Commenting on the new center, Scheider said that ZF will be stepping up its group-wide expertise in AI and cybersecurity to a new level with the new Technology Center for Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity. The center will be close to leading research facilities in these areas and ZF will strengthen its cooperation with these institutions. ZF has plans to recruit about 100 new, highly qualified people in Saarbrucken and will be working with them to on the development of new, digitally connected and automated mobility solutions.
ZF said that about two thirds of the 100 specialists who would be based in Saarbrucken will be dealing with AI, while the remaining employees will focus on cybersecurity. The new specialists who are recruited will further supplement the 300 professionals that ZF already has across the globe, at the company’s headquarters for R&D in Friedrichshafen and at other locations in Germany and overseas.
According to ZF, all activities related to these two fields will be helmed by the joint ‘ZF AI & Cybersecurity Center’ and supplemented by the latest developments in research and development to support all of ZF divisions worldwide. The goal is to develop a common global AI platform for the optimization of existing or development of new applications, products, services and processes.
ZF is now expanding its international R&D network, which comprises both internal and external AI experts. The company is also involved in partnerships with leading companies like NVIDIA, Microsoft, Intel Mobileye and its development service provider ASAP through which also it has access to AI expertise and specialized development resources.
Prof Dr. h.c. Michael Backes, founding director of CISPA said: “In autonomous systems, the issue of security is more important than ever before, requiring world-class cybersecurity research. That’s because we need to do in-depth research on the security demands that this technology places on us in order to achieve truly trustworthy security guarantees. In the end, this is the only way we can protect the systems from attacks and tampering – and thus strengthen the business location and win people’s confidence in this technology.”
AI and cybersecurity belong together
ZF deliberately chose these two leading research institutes based on the fact that its development of AI solution, especially in relation to automated driving, will not only call for ensuring the safety of road users but will also require ensuring data privacy and IT security to the maximum possible extent. ZF’s cybersecurity experts collaborate closely with CISPA to protect new AI developments and algorithms against cyber-attacks as they become ready for volume production. This also supports, digitally, ZF’s ‘Vision Zero’ –a world with zero emissions and zero road traffic accidents.
According to the Tier 1 artificial intelligence is an essential component for automated driving functions and is indispensable on the path to autonomous driving. And in the future, the team at the new ZF location in Saarbrucken will be more than just the development force for automated driving functions. The company says they would be involved in predictive maintenance for wind power and cable car transmissions, intelligent transmission controls in passenger cars and commercial vehicles or machine learning in product development and production – ZF already uses AI-based functions in a variety of applications.
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