Connectivity platform connects vehicles with cloud and infrastructure

Connectivity platform connects vehicles with cloud and infrastructure

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Highly automated software-defined vehicles and digital services of the future require intensive networking and the exchange of large amounts of data. The connectivity platform ZF ProConnect connects vehicles with the cloud and with the traffic infrastructure.

In doing so, the meets the highest security requirements. The first major order from an international vehicle manufacturer has already been received – the product will go into series production in 2025. Already at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas / Nevada from January 5 to 8, 2023, visitors can experience the technology in a demo vehicle from Hexagon, a specialist in GNSS-based positioning.

For the deployment of advanced driver assistance systems – and later autonomous vehicles – vehicles need to be able to link with the outside world in a wide variety of ways. Enormous amounts of data have to be exchanged – quickly and reliably via many different interfaces. The ZF ProConnect connectivity platform gives future vehicle generations this high-end networking. The communication solution will celebrate its official world premiere at CES 2023.

Because the connectivity platform masters standards such as DSRC (Dedicated Short Range Communication), C-V2X, and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication, it enables communication with roadside infrastructure such as traffic lights. But it also enables the vehicle to be informed in good time, for example, of a sudden end to a traffic jam behind a bend or an approaching ambulance on duty. A computer in the vehicle – according to ZF’s ideas, this is ideally the s high-performance computer ProAI from its own company – processes the data supplied by ProConnect, combines it with existing sensor and other vehicle data, derives safe driving strategies by means of artificial intelligence, and passes these on as action commands to the actuator system. In interaction with ProAI, ProConnect is thus a key component for the software-defined vehicle – a basic prerequisite for the mobility of the future and its data-based business models.

ProConnect enables a wide range of digital services: In addition to over-the-air updates that can continuously update the software in the vehicle or temporarily extend it on-demand, these include high-resolution map data for ADAS comfort functions for automated overtaking, which requires a precise position. The transmission of sensor and diagnostic data also requires connectivity – for example, to report road conditions (e.g., potholes, wetness, snow, ice, etc) to the cloud. With regard to autonomous vehicles, services such as orchestrated fleet management, interactions with smartphone apps (service information, schedules, etc.), remote control, or even communication and interaction with control centers of autonomous shuttles play an important role. These can only be realized by reliably linking the vehicles, thus ensuring increased comfort and safety.

ProConnect is one of the first systems on the market to meet international automotive grade requirements such as the ISO 26262 standard for electrical/electronic systems, the functional safety criteria according to ASIL-B(D) or the cybersecurity standard ISO/SAE 21434, thus providing a vehicle with the best possible protection against external access without authorization. At the same time, it offers vehicle manufacturers flexibility and scalability, the electronics supplier advertises.

Precise navigation for automated driving

When it comes to automated and autonomous driving, the connectivity platform can bring its networking capabilities to bear: The system supports the LTE and 5G mobile communications standards, is Bluetooth- and WiFi-enabled, and is also capable of connecting vehicles to the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), which enables a vehicle’s position to be determined to the nearest centimeter via satellite. ProConnect also obtains the necessary map material via the cloud. This high-precision localization, supported by the TerraStar-X correction service and Hexagon’s positioning solution, complements the vehicle’s environmental sensors and ensures redundancy and safety. In addition to the comprehensive connectivity solution, a much smaller ProConnect module is also available, which primarily provides satellite positioning.

At CES, ZF will demonstrate how well and accurately the system contributes to the satellite navigation of the future in a demo vehicle from partner Hexagon, a software and data management provider in the field of autonomous mobility. ZF and Hexagon are demonstrating the platform at CES in Las Vegas.

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Cohda announces advanced V2X connectivity solution

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V2X infrastructure improve safety on US roads


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