ZF enhances 2nd-gen truck steering system


“We have the ability to deploy the system in anything from a general pickup truck to a heavy-duty pickup truck, all the way to a heavy-duty electric pickup truck,” Stevanovich told Automotive News. “ZF has tailored the product to support all of those different integration points.

“We can reduce, for a full-size pickup truck, the turning circle by over 9 feet, which effectively makes a full-size crew cab pickup truck the equivalent of a small SUV or a passenger car,” Stevanovich added. “It makes the vehicle that much more comfortable, much more nimble and it’s much easier to park.”

The enhanced nimbleness will support the advent of automated parking features, he said. That will be important in the era of autonomous driving, when passengers might be in nontraditional seating positions, no longer necessarily forward-facing as a vehicle maneuvers and parks.

“Our AKC system provides a tremendous physiological benefit to all of the different occupants in the vehicle.”

Active kinematics control “was birthed out of making improvements to the overall chassis performance,” Stevanovich said. But for the second iteration, ZF enhanced the performance, networking and cybersecurity capabilities for electric and autonomous applications.

To eliminate the steering wheel “kick” often felt with electronically controlled power steering systems, ZF introduced a “spindle” design.

“Spindle technology really provides the safest approach for these rear-steering actuators,” Stevanovich said. “We’ve done a number of tests across all different segments and we’re very confident in that by-wire technology, so you won’t get that steering wheel kick.”

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