Pay attention to ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
They just announced that they’ve acquired a 60 percent share in 2getthere B.V., a driverless electric mobility service that’s been experiencing tremendous growth and has locations around the globe including in the U.S.
“2getthere has more than three decades of experience in the market of autonomous passenger transport vehicles as well as unique engineering and software competences. This acquisition supports our strategy to become a leading autonomous transportation systems supplier in the booming new mobility market,” said Wolf-Henning Scheider, board chairman at ZF.
Doubtless, ZF will be in a position to apply this technology to various vehicles which I’m betting will include commercial trucks and vans.
After all, 2gethere B.V. is not some bean bag startup on Sugar Mountain (all apologies to Neil Young). The company, based in the Netherlands, was founded 35 years ago and has amassed more than 62 million miles of autonomous mileage with driverless passenger and cargo transport systems in several major cities worldwide, including Rotterdam, Abu Dhabiand Singapore, as well as numerous ports and airports.
Yes, the autonomous, all-electric transport model is continuing to grow and when ZF gets on board to this degree it warrants consideration. Over the past three years, revenue for 2gethere B.V. has grown over 60 percent, according to ZF. Success for the emobility company is rooted in its vehicle controls and software which after safely transporting more than 14 million people has a reliability rating of 99.7 percent.
People are the higher risk and their litigious nature never ceases to surprise. Autonomous cargo transport in smaller electric vans is the safer bet. Smaller driverless vehicles pose fewer risks and, as you might recall, cost parity has already been reached for an all-electric van per the partnership between UPS and Workhorse. How about cost parity for an electric Class 8 truck? No, not for a while.
Anyway, the safe bet here is that ZF will stay on 2gethere’s path (hard to argue with 60 percent growth) and continue to support automated, electric transportation for both people and cargo.
“We have developed into a complete systems supplier for automated functions and we are therefore in an ideal position to support 2getthere. We can deliver electric drivelines, solutions for sensor technology, high performance computing, and actuators for all levels of automated applications,” explained Scheider.
This is not ZF’s first foray into commercial, autonomous vehicles. They also have stakes in e.GO Moove, a joint venture with e.GO Mobile AG, which targets the production of the e.GO Mover autonomous minibus, as well as Transdev, a leading operator and global provider of integrated mobility solutions.
While personally I’d be hesitant to step into an autonomous bus (and really, I’m just not thrilled with busses in general), I’d have far fewer concerns over an autonomous van delivering goods to a home or business.