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ZF Friedrichshafen: Innovation Fork Lift, Werk 1 am 13.04.2018

ZF launches essentially driverless forklift truck

Automotive technology developer ZF Friedrichshafen has launched a forklift truck which is basically driverless.

The company calls the vehicle a “highly automated forklift” which can “see, think and act”.

ZF says it transferred expertise from different departments from across the company to the industrial technology division in order to develop the new forklift. 

Officially called the “ZF Innovation Forklift”, the vehicle features “networking and highly automated driving functions”.

In other words, ZF added solutions such as automation, electrification and digital networking. It also integrated its new ZF Cloud, which the company says increases the efficiency of industrial applications.

zf 2018-04-23 Innovation_Forklift maneuvers small

ZF says the Innovation Forklift is an example of how the company “links intelligent mechanical systems with digital solutions”.

This, brags the company, is the essence of the operations technology and information technology (OTIT) convergence “megatrend” many industrial companies are currently engaged in.

ZF says its OT-IT success has given it as “unique selling point” in that it enables ZF to offer “attractive industrial technology products”.

ZF showed off its new development at Hannover Messe by introducing its ZF Innovation Forklift.

ZF says this is the first time the company has transferred the technology that supports its motto “see, think, act” to a materials handling application.

ZF says its new forklift enables “greater efficiency and safety while simultaneously lowering operating costs”.

ZF’s Industrial Technology Division has benefited from the Group’s broad expertise in the passenger car and commercial vehicle sectors.

With the ZF Innovation Forklift the Group presents the first ever materials handling vehicle that can see, think and act.

It is a fully networked electric forklift truck with highly automated driving functions equipped with camera and radar systems that enable it to see its surrounding environment.

The data that these systems generate are analyzed by the ZF ProAI central computer, which is based on an artificial intelligence software that has already been proven in other innovative prototype vehicles modeled on passenger cars and tractors.

Intelligent actuating elements – such as the ZF electric rear axle steering for forklift trucks – and the electric ZF single-wheel drive carry out the control unit’s given commands.

ZF CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider, says: “We are already playing a leading role when it comes to highly automated and autonomous driving – and that also includes industrial technology.

“It is no longer just about launching outstanding solutions that offer customers major benefits on the market. It’s about speed. The ZF innovation teams have proven this here in Hanover with their new products.

“The highly automated ZF Innovation Forklift is the result of bundled know-how to create a unique and comprehensive solution that essentially embraces the main requirements of the industry: reducing costs and making materials handling processes far more efficient.”

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