The ZF Vision Zero Vehicle, a show car demonstrating the parts maker's latest technologies and a path forward to autonomous cars, will make its in-the-flesh debut the 2017 Frankfurt motor show in September.
ZF Friedrichshafen is a German automotive parts manufacturer, best known for its automatic transmissions. Besides slushboxes, the component maker also makes drive units and safety equipment.
According to ZF, the Vision Zero is part of the company's ongoing commitment to creating a world with zero accidents and zero fatalities.
Based on the Volkswagen Touran, the ZF Vision Zero features the company's new mSTARS or Modular Semi-Trailing Arm Rear Suspension setup, which includes a 150kW electric motor.
Claimed to allow automakers to easily electrify existing cars, the mSTARS system can be used for both pure electric vehicles and hybrids.
Among its new safety features, the Vision Zero includes Driver Distraction Assist, which monitors the driver's head movements with a "laser-based time-of-flight interior camera with learning capability".
Unlike regular cameras, the Vision Zero's system monitors head position in three dimensions, and works equally well at night as during the day.
When the assistant detects a dangerous situation, it will try to alert the driver via messages on the dashboard, warning chimes and tightening the seatbelt. If the driver doesn't respond in time, the car will take over control and, if necessary, park the car in a safe spot.
The car is also equipped with Wrong Way Inhibit. Using regularly updated detailed map data, and road sign and street marking recognition, the system can detect when the car is being driven the wrong way on an entry or exit ramp.
In this situation, the system will warn the driver via dashboard messages, audio tones, seat belt tightening, and significantly increased steering resistance. If no action is taken, the car will engage high beams and hazard lights, steer itself onto a shoulder, and slow down to a stop.
Once there, the driver can only turn the car around outside the traffic lanes or reverse back onto the originating road.
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