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6 February/March 2023 | Uncrewed Systems Technology Mission-critical info for uncrewed sytems professionals Platform one Vehicle systems supplier ZF has developed an autonomous shuttle for SAE Level 4 operation (writes Nick Flaherty). The shuttle was launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in the US in January, and is designed for autonomous driving in urban environments and mixed traffic, rather than segregated lanes. ZF plans to supply several thousand of the vehicles to provide an autonomous transport system that includes fleet management, maintenance, repair and training. The shuttles will be run by an operator in Florida called Beep. The 22-passenger vehicle uses Lidar, radar, camera and audio systems to provide precise environmental detection. It also uses the ZF ProConnect wireless system to connect to the cloud, working with the ZF ProAI supercomputer. It is a modular design that can be equipped with chips from different suppliers depending on the planned application and the computing power required. The connectors for the ProAI are compatible with all common plugs on the market and there are three cooling options, depending on the performance level – passive cooling, air cooling and liquid cooling – all of which fit in the same 240 x 138 x 49 mm housing. That is much smaller than its previous models and therefore gives more freedomwith the installation options in the vehicle. The ProAI runs ZF’s autonomous driving software, with the output going to the onboard actuators. The shuttle will have selectable battery capacities of between 50 and 100 kWh and a range of 80 miles at a speed of 25 mph, with further development to 50 mph as the accuracy and precision of the driving software improves. The shuttle also includes an automatic ramp and wheelchair restraints for disabled travellers, and a ‘kneeling’ function to provide level access. That enables the shuttle to dock precisely, using front and rear-wheel steering, which is included in the control system. Driverless vehicles Level 4 shuttle unveiled ZF’s autonomous shuttle is designed to travel in mixed traffic in urban areas