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ZF and e.Go to start series production of autonomous and electric ‘people mover’ vehicle

Automotive components manufacturer ZF and a startup called e.Go Mobile have agreed to start series production of an autonomous and electric “people mover” vehicle.

ZF says it is demonstrating its “multiple systems expertise” as a partner in the newly founded e.GO Moove joint venture.

In addition to other innovations which ZF will show at IAA commercial vehicles event in Hanover this September, the e.GO Mover is part of an entire digital logistics offering including hardware, software and services, highlighting the company’s strategic orientation. 

ZF’s CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider and Dr Günther Schuh, founder and CEO of e.GO Mobile, based in Aachen, have announced that series production will begin in Aachen in 2019.

The e.Go Moove joint-venture partners manufacture people- and cargo-movers primarily for the urban mobility needs of the future.

Five-digit volumes are initially scheduled for annual production and ZF is expecting that the demand for these vehicles will reach approximately one million in the next five to seven years.

The company is equipping the e.Go 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.

ZF CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider says: “System providers like ZF can significantly benefit from the worldwide trend toward automated driving and electromobility.

“The e.GO Mover is the first production-ready vehicle featuring ZF systems which provides an autonomous mobility concept for cities.”

ZF is presenting further examples for digitally connected technologies using an autonomous, electrically-powered delivery vehicle for package delivery services.

With this, the courier neither has to drive nor park – the vehicle can follow them independently from one delivery point to the next with zero emissions.

At the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in September this year, ZF will show further use cases for its ZF ProAI supercomputer and broad set of related sensor systems which can help to increase efficiency and save costs throughout the entire logistics chain.

Scheider says he clearly sees the benefits for commercial vehicles when it comes to introducing autonomous systems. “Initially, we expect to see automated driving activities more commonplace on company premises and logistics depots, in harbors or in agricultural environments as operations there tend to be more recurrent and the surroundings are not too complex.”

The technology is also expected to prevail in freight logistics and passenger transport because it can reduce operating costs and at the same time help to increase safety for all road users.

As a supplier for passenger cars, trucks, buses, light commercial vehicles, agricultural applications and construction machinery, ZF is in the optimal position to create synergies between these areas.

Scheider says the right strategy and the right speed are paramount. “In an increasingly complex technology environment, companies that can quickly offer harmonized subsystems or complete systems solutions have a distinct advantage. This is how we have aligned our company’s strategy.

“ZF’s strategic focus is to be a systems provider that shapes ‘Next Generation Mobility’. We want to provide systems solutions which can address all potential requirements when it comes to the mobility of the future.”

ZF has a broad portfolio of products and competencies, and is already active in the relevant technology fields.

By developing its expertise in the integration of sensors, control units and vehicle motion control, ZF says it has gained a strong market position.

The company is focusing on four fields:

  1. automated driving;
  2. electric drives;
  3. integrated safety systems; and
  4. vehicle motion control.

ZF says these areas will “help to make the driving experience as comfortable and pleasant as possible for occupants”.

In addition, ZF has set up its internet of things cloud-based system in order to enable extensive networking between systems.

ZF will be active globally and across all applications in these fields, namely for passenger cars, commercial vehicles, off-highway vehicles and industrial technology.