Press Release

  Joining NDS enables ZF to contribute to the global standard for digital map data needed for a wide range of digital mobility applications

  • NDS provides clearly defined interfaces and specifications for storing and streaming map data
  • Basis for the development of driving functions and map-based services
  • Standard makes important contribution to automated and connected mobility and corresponding overall systems

Friedrichshafen. ZF has joined the Navigation Data Standard (NDS) Association. In this association, automotive manufacturers, suppliers, map providers, and developers of map-based applications and services are establishing a global standard for digital maps in Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) resolution formats. ZF contributes expertise in the development of system solutions and intelligent sensor technology and benefits from the open exchange of information on digital map solutions with customers and other players in the automotive industry.

ZF will use the standard both for its own development work in the field of advanced assistance and autonomous driving functions and for expanding its product portfolio on the way to the software-defined vehicle – for example, when it comes to location-based services or vehicle-to-everything (V2X) offerings that network the vehicle with its surroundings.

The range of digital map material is large and complex. The exchange of geodata-based information across systems and providers is correspondingly difficult. The NDS Association provides a specification for the standardized preparation and use of map information, thus enabling synergy and networking effects for its members. “As a member, we can access the standard and actively participate in its further development”, explains Dr. Dirk Walliser, Head of Research and Development at ZF. “Access to NDS tools also makes it easier for us to develop global geodata-based solutions for the software-defined vehicle of the future and to offer them in line with market requirements – across the Group.”

Numerous companies in the automotive industry, including many ZF customers and partners, are also members of the association. Especially in the development of advanced assistance functions or autonomous driving functions, map data play an important role for the industry. They are used to match and validate sensor information while driving, providing additional necessary information, and allowing the vehicle to create a realistic image of its surroundings.

Map data a prerequisite for safe and automated mobility

“With the spread of the software-defined vehicle and the resulting increase in the importance of modern assistance functions, it is increasingly important for us to use standardized map data for the cloud-based playout of our functions as well”, Walliser continues. Two examples show how ZF can use standardized map data to expand its solutions and make them more attractive. Road Condition Monitoring is based on a ZF sensor integrated in the chassis. It can detect irregularities in the road surface, such as potholes and other road surface irregularities. Only with a standardized comparison of potholes and road elevations on digital maps can others benefit from this analysis – for example, other vehicles whose chassis electronics and active suspension systems can better adjust to the conditions thanks to such a data-based service.

Among the driver assistance functions that ZF has already developed is Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which ZF can align with map data for enhanced driving efficiency. With regard to distance and speed, this not only orients itself to the vehicle in front, but also takes into account uphill and downhill gradients for the optimally efficient use of drive energy and can thus “let off the gas” in good time before particularly steep curves. “We are pleased to welcome ZF, another major player in the automotive industry, as a member”, said Martin Schleicher, Chairman at the Navigation Data Standard Association. “With its expertise in advanced assistance and autonomous driving functions ZF is a highly welcome partner for the further development of NDS. We look forward to working with ZF in the continued development of our standards.”


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