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ZF partners with Embotech to develop freight yard automation systems

ZF, one of the world’s largest automotive systems suppliers, has acquired a 25 per cent stake in Embotech, a developer of autonomous vehicle software.

The companies have agreed a strategic partnership agreement to jointly develop fully autonomous systems for commercial vehicle yard operations.

The partnership aims to enhance the operational safety and productivity of distribution hubs and yards.

ZF says the two companies aim to provide “a scalable and reliable solution for transportation-as-a-service” on restricted areas, the partnership will develop customer-tailored automated solutions to support multiple applications.

This includes logistics yards, ports, airports, mining, and agricultural operations as well as bus depots. Another project is the development of an intelligent predictive cruise control that takes traffic flow, traffic signals and topographical conditions into account.

Philipp Helmich, vice president of vehicle dynamics and controls and autonomous driving with ZF’s commercial vehicle control systems division, says: “Our collaboration with Embotech is a continuation of ZF’s ‘Next Generation Mobility’ strategy.

“The partnership agreement with Embotech is built on a shared vision to develop complementary products and technologies to build a reliable and global Transportation-as-a-Service solution for commercial vehicles operating on restricted areas.”

The new partnership will accelerate the development of automated yard solutions initially across Europe and, ultimately, world-wide.

Providing a complete eco-system software platform, it will improve customer operations using autonomous, connected, and electrified vehicles, smart infrastructure features and intelligent software solutions.

A critical step in the commercial automation supply chain, yard automation is aimed at solving key challenges and issues impacting the sector, aimed to reduce the total cost of ownership as well as enhancing operational efficiency, safety, and sustainability.

Andreas Kyrtatos, CEO of Embotech, says: “We are delighted to further build on our collaboration with ZF through this important strategic partnership to develop advanced solutions for automated yard logistics world-wide.

“Applications on restricted areas can already offer value to end customers, be it a vehicle manufacturer, a logistics company transferring containers from a factory to an inland port, or a mining company covering large distances with autonomous hauling trucks.”

Providing ZF with a market-proven solution, the partnership will support autonomous driving using Embotech’s decision-making software.

This will be combined with ZF’s systems expertise in sensor, electronic control and actuation for Level 4 self-driving commercial vehicles, including its ADOPT – Autonomous Driving Open Platform Technology.

Another project from the new cooperation is the development of an intelligent predictive cruise control. This takes traffic flow, traffic signals and topographical conditions into account.

As part of the collaboration, global automotive technology company ZF has invested in Embotech and will take a seat on the company’s board of management.

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