ZF in autonomous steering system collaboration

By Mike Brezonick26 August 2021

ZF and Locomation, a global provider of autonomous truck technology solutions, have announced a comprehensive agreement for joint development of steering units to enhance autonomous truck safety. Under the terms of the agreement, ZF and Locomation will collaborate to develop and test the Level 4 (L4) capable ReAX steering systems in real-world conditions.

Locomation autonomous truck

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Locomation was founded in 2018 by a team of the experts on autonomous vehicles, robotics, and artificial intelligence from Carnegie Mellon’s National Robotics Engineering Center.

“We’re excited to work with ZF, which brings its expertise from the automotive sector to commercial vehicles, and it’s a great opportunity to drive the safest deployment of Locomation’s autonomous trucking product portfolio,” said Dr. Çetin Meriçli, Locomation’s co-founder and CEO. “Safety is the bedrock of every phase in our deployment of autonomous truck technology services.”

Locomation said it aims to develop a with a portfolio of autonomous truck technology, each equipped with the L4 ReAX steering unit. ZF’s ReAX adaptive steering technology incorporates advanced electric steering technology that aims to optimize steering performance in commercial vehicles. The system, which is available in column-mounted and gear-mounted configurations, is designed to adapt to signals from the vehicle and analyze driver input to provide smoother, more precise steering, helping to improve performance and reduce driver fatigue.

The L4 ReAX system is designed to offer full redundancy to achieve rigorous safety standards, which ensure that a system functions correctly and demonstrates the ability to maintain safe operations at all times by detecting and managing faults.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Locomation on its phased approach to developing autonomous trucking technology,” said Julien Plenchette, vice president, Americas, Commercial Vehicle Division, ZF Group. “Locomation’s unique and practical approach with initial human-guidance offers an opportunity to get to market earlier, which provides ZF with real-world data in order to enhance our technology.” Locomation is aiming to deploy its first product line, Autonomous Relay Convoy, in late 2022, starting with Wilson Logistics and following with PGT Trucking to fulfill the contracts for a total of 2120 trucks between the two customers.

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