ZF Smart Urban Vehicle: The Car That Turns Its Front Wheels Almost 90 Degrees
|   Monday, August 03, 2015
German automotive manufacturer ZF, known mostly for its transmissions, has created its own vehicle called Smart Urban Vehicle(SmUrVe) to demonstrate advanced technologies. Even if those at ZF claim that this vehicle has been developed from head to toe by itself, the perspicacious among us will notice that, in fact, it is based on the Opel Agila with a restyled front and small changes to the rear.

But this does not matter since what's important are the technologies implemented in it.
Being an advanced urban vehicle, ZF specialists focused on the eternal problem with parallel parking, developing a special front axle that can turn the wheels at a huge angle of 75 degrees!

This innovative idea of the front wheels with a steering angle of 75 degrees is today a solution that does not exist on any car because of the technical challenges that involves. Basically, the wheels turn up close to a position perpendicular to the axis of the car, so radically changing the way in which the car can park. The turning circle diameter is reduced to 6.5 meters while the normal city car has a turning radius of about 10 meters.

With such an angle, parallel parking is "a piece of cake", while the turning diameter of only 6.5 meters makes it possible to turn from the first try on a two-lane ordinary road.

The great advantage of this solution is especially noticeable when the driver activates the automatic parking system, which uses 12 ultrasonic sensors, and two infrared sensors to guide the car. The car can park either with the driver in position or with him out of the car. In this case, the entire parking process is controlled from the phone or SmartWatch.

Rear torsion bar called ETB is equipped with two electric motors of 54 hp (40 kw) each, placed in close proximity to the rear wheels. These two electric motors can work independently, giving an increased maneuverability to the vehicle due to the rotation of the rear wheels in one direction, and another wheel in the opposite direction - very clever!

According to those from ZF, the maximum power is around 109 hp, allowing the German concept to reach a top speed of 150 km/h.
Inside, this Smart Urban Vehicle is equipped with a multifunction steering wheel with Volkswagen origins, which "feels" the hands on the wheel and has an OLED informational display installed at the top. Note the Smart Urban Vehicle can run parallel or perpendicular parking in fully autonomous mode too, with or without a driver on board.

But the most interesting solution proposed by ZF is called Cloud PreVision Assist which uses onboard GPS and a range of additional data collected from the trail to optimize braking and accelerating car. For example, if the driver uses the same route to get to the office, the system recognizes this and considers implicitly the lateral forces to calculate the optimum speed to approach a turn. The car reduces in advance the torque to the point where the driver does not need to hold back to address the corners. In this mode, the car range is not radically affected by driving style and the driver is notified whenever the system operates through a display located on the steering wheel rim.
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