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ZF sees sensing and intelligent systems as crucial in future mobility (Photo: ZF)

LAS VEGAS -- ZF Friedrichshafen and Nvidia are jointly developing artificial intelligence (AI) systems for cars, trucks and other industrial applications.

The German automotive supplier unveiled its ZF ProAI platform at a press conference here on the eve of the CES consumer electronics show. It said the ZF ProAI for highway automated driving is the first system developed using Nvidia's AI technology.

The system will enable vehicles to understand their environment by using deep learning to process sensor and camera data. It will use the chipmaker's scalable Drive PX 2 AI computing platform to process inputs from multiple cameras, plus lidar, radar and ultrasonic sensors.

“With NVIDIA, we are bringing the supercomputing power required for artificial intelligence into cars and commercial vehicles,” ZF CEO Dr. Stefan Sommer said. “Nvidia's AI platform lets us take a giant leap forward when it comes to enabling vehicles ”“ whether cars, trucks or forklifts -- to think.”

ZF also unveiled a software-based early warning system designed to help drivers and autonomous vehicles avoid accidents.

The algorithm, which is called X2Safe, uses cloud-based networking technology to connected vehicles and other road users. ZF said it is the first of its kind to use the cloud in this way.

Sommer said ZF wants to be a trend setter in key areas such as safety and efficiency. Digital technologies will play a major role in this drive.

"Digitization is already helping us to research, develop and produce faster and more efficiently," Sommer said at a press briefing here. And he added that "software is becoming an increasingly important source of added value and a key distinguishing factor.”

ZF and other automotive companies have a growing presence at the Las Vegas CES, the world's biggest consumer electronics show. Their attendance underscores how consumer electronics, software and IT are quickly becoming core competencies for the car industry.

CES runs through January 8. The annual gathering started with two press days January 3 and 4.