Through a state-of-the-art digital solutions centre, ZF builds on its vision of mobility.

Story by: Deepti Thore

Underlining its commitment to mobilise fleet intelligence and build upon its vision of mobility with next-generation solutions, ZF India has commissioned a state-of-the-art digital solutions centre at Bengaluru, in Karnataka. Contributing to the group’s global network of digital technological capabilities, the new ZF centre in India has been set up with a strategy to utilise it as a global hub. The global hub will facilitate the development of advanced fleet management and connectivity solutions. Spread over an expanse of over 15,000 sq.ft., the centre will give direct employment to nearly 150 human resources in the Silicon Valley of the country. Designed to develop, test and deploy an increasingly broad portfolio of integrated functions, the centre will especially help build an ecosystem for the commercial fleet operators. Its major contributions will be towards enhancing safety, adding to efficiencies and ensuring advanced connectivity.

P Kaniappan, Managing Director, WABCO India Ltd.

Commercial fleet operators can look forward to turning leaner, greener and safer through the suite of innovative applications expected to help in the advancement of vehicle autonomy. “This new centre which joins an extensive network of ZF WABCO development and manufacturing facilities throughout India powerfully underlines ZF’s enduring commitment to India as an important hub for pioneering solutions that mobilise commercial vehicle intelligence,” exclaimed P Kaniappan, Managing Director, WABCO India Ltd.

ZF acquiring WABCO, in effect translates to the latter’s industry-leading solutions in the Autonomous, Connected and Electric (ACE) domain of commercial vehicles being complemented. In India, the five WABCO manufacturing facilities, an advanced technology development centre, a vehicle testing facility and a nation-wide aftermarket distribution and services network has been handed over to ZF as a result of the acquisition. Explained Dr Christian Brenneke, Senior Vice President, Product Engineering for ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Control Systems division, “Connecting this latest hub in India to the group’s global network of advanced digitalised R&D facilities optimally positions us to stay at the forefront of innovation and technology leadership in this domain.”

Supporting the development of programs for the domestic market and growing the fleet management business globally, the centre has been built with a vision to leverage the increasing digital capability of the group and the inherently connected capabilities across multiple vehicle platforms. Claimed to be fully integrated into ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Control Systems division and ZF’s global R&D network, the hub, is expected to help scale-up and accelerate ZF’s transformation strategy and the next leg of leadership aspiration in digitalisation, AI, big data analytics and cloud-based solutions.

Advanced Tech

The new centre boasts of an advanced driver behaviour management and fleet operations support, including applications for fuel consumption and tyre pressure monitoring, fleet track and trace, data science and cargo safety and security systems. The centre will also provide access to a strong talent pool, aid in tapping local market opportunities besides helping to attract an increasing number of technology partners. The latter will constitute of those seeking to advance cloud solutions, big data and analytics on the back of the group’s Fleet Management Solutions (FMS).

Marketed through a number of brands already, including WABCO and serving Oceania, Asia, North America and South America, under Transics, the centre is known to serve customers throughout Europe, and in India under the AssetTrackr umbrella. Mentioned P Kaniappan, Managing Director, WABCO India Ltd., “With a wealth of talent in data science, cloud solutions and analytics, the centre is another gateway to tap and serve domestic and global needs on a significant scale.”

Addressing cybersecurity

Dr Christian Brenneke, Senior Vice President, Product Engineering for ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Control Systems division

As the vehicle fleets increasingly turn to ACE given the opportunities with associated demand for technology innovation, it also brings with it risks not faced previously. With more and more vehicles connected to the cloud via telematics systems, the vehicles are also connected to each other through Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) mesh networks. The complexity of such a network creates new nodes and potential entry points for cybersecurity breaches. Leveraging its acquisition of WABCO, ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Control Systems division is addressing this problem area through initiatives like Autonomous Driving Open Platform Technology (ADOPT).

Known to translate driving instructions from the virtual driver applications (autonomous driving and artificial intelligence) to real vehicle motion commands, ADOPT enables access to the controls of all the relevant vehicle actuation systems. The resulting vehicle motion control is executed under safety and efficiency principles, benefitting from ZF’s industry-leading experience in vehicle dynamics and powertrain control. Of the opinion, the implementation of dedicated cybersecurity standards needs to be prioritised by the commercial vehicle industry, Christian Brenneke concluded, “We have tested the early versions of our products to understand their resistance to cyberattacks, and we also monitor hacker forums to stay on top of how our products are misused.” ACI

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