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Mobility needs computing power

ZF presents supercomputer at the IAA

30. Juli 2021, 09:09 Uhr   |  Irina Hübner

ZF presents supercomputer at the IAA
© ZF Friedrichshafen

With the new ZF ProAI, ZF presents what it claims is the most flexible, scalable and powerful supercomputer in the automotive industry. It is AI-capable and suitable for all levels of automated driving from level 2 to 5.

European premiere: At the IAA 2021 in Munich, ZF will present the ZF ProAI supercomputer. It is scalable for any vehicle type and suitable for all stages of automated or autonomous driving.

Under the motto »Next Generation Mobility. Now.«, ZF is focusing at the IAA on currently available technology for the next generation of vehicles. The latest generation of the ZF ProAI supercomputer plays one of the main roles here: It offers customized computing power for every vehicle platform and every level of automation.

»Our strategic goal is to provide technology for 'Next Generation Mobility',« explains Torsten Gollewski, Executive Vice President Autonomous Mobility Systems at ZF. »We already have all the necessary technologies for future vehicle and mobility concepts.« This includes high-performance computers, software, vehicle sensors and actuators, and vehicle connectivity for mobility services.

ZF ProAI - flexible and scalable

The core of new E/E vehicle architectures is formed by high-performance computers, which can optionally be used as central computers or domain or zone ECUs. This is where ZF comes in with its supercomputer ZF ProAI, which the Group will present for the first time in Europe at the upcoming IAA.

With a 66 percent increase in computing power, the new ZF ProAI consumes up to 70 percent less electricity, according to the company. The AI capabilities of the ZF ProAI are optimized for Deep Learning and are an important basis for further improved safety functions. The computer offers GPU-driven 360° fusion of all available sensor data - including ambient measurement data from cameras, radars, LiDARs and audio patterns.

In addition, the new generation of computers is even more compact and thus requires less installation space: even taking into account the available cooling options - passive cooling, air cooling and liquid cooling depending on the desired performance - most ZF ProAI models come in the same standard size of 24 cm x14 cm x 5 cm. In line with the requirements of the automotive industry, the high-tech interior is designed for maximum resilience and reliability even under extreme conditions and is equipped with the latest security mechanisms against cyber threats.

Can be equipped with SoCs from different manufacturers

Thanks to its modular design, the supercomputer can be equipped with different system-on-chip (SoC) variants, i.e. with processors from different manufacturers, depending on customer requirements. It can also be operated with software from ZF or third-party suppliers. Standardized connectors and the possibility to connect several ZF ProAI units with each other make it flexible for use and installation in any type of vehicle.

ZF's high-performance computer achieves flexible computing power from 20 to 1000 Tera-OPS. That's up to 1000 trillion - or quadrillion - computing operations per second. Together with the variety of cooling options available, automakers can find a custom-fit solution for all their vehicle platforms, software applications, and E/E architectures - via a single ECU type. This increases efficiency and reduces overall costs.

ZF has already been able to win the first major orders for the ZF ProAI in both the passenger car and commercial vehicle segments and plans to produce the central computer in large-scale production from 2024.

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