German auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen is set to invest €12bn in the development of technology for electric and autonomous vehicles.

The company plans to make the investment over the next five years.

Aimed at dealing with increasing delivery volumes while reducing traffic in city centres, the company will develop self-driving delivery trucks that will make package deliveries along the ‘last mile’ more efficient.

ZF believes that autonomous driving will more quickly capture the commercial vehicle sector as it will help to cut vehicle operating costs, as well as improve safety and efficiency.

“Equipped with level-four autonomous driving functions, the all-electric delivery truck has been designed to independently manoeuvre through city centres and stay in the correct lane.”

ZF Friedrichshafen CEO Wolf-Henning Scheider said: “We are revolutionising the ‘last mile’ so that packages can be delivered more cleanly, safely and on time. For this reason, we are working together with partners and customers to further develop our concept ready for series production within the next two years.

“In order to quickly offer the market our systems expertise in the form of innovative and practical solutions, we will be investing more than €12bn in e-mobility and autonomous driving alone over the next five years.”

The company has developed the Innovation Van based on its high-speed supercomputer ZF ProAI, as well as its sensor set consisting of camera, radar and lidar. Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Equipped with level-four autonomous driving functions, the all-electric delivery truck has been designed to independently manoeuvre through city centres and stay in the correct lane even without road markings.

In addition to detecting and driving around obstacles such as double-parked vehicles, the van is capable of identifying traffic lights and road signs, as well as reacting to sudden hazardous situations.

If parking is not available at a particular area, the driver can send the vehicle ahead to the next address, where it will look for a parking space on its own to avoid congestion.

ZF revealed that the company has secured orders for more than 1,000 of its AxTrax AVE electric portal axles. These will soon contribute to 60 million zero-emission passenger kilometres per annum in cities such as Los Angeles in the US, London in the UK or Stuttgart in Germany.