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Future Vehicles to Combine Active and Passive Safety Systems Using Sensors

September 12, 2007

FRANKFURT, Germany --- TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., a leading provider of vehicle safety systems, said it is working closely with vehicle manufacturers to bring the benefits of integrated safety technologies to a range of vehicle applications. John C. Plant, president and chief executive officer, TRW Automotive said: "TRW's integrated safety concept recognizes that the company can help to provide enhanced safety benefits for drivers and passengers through combining active and passive systems using environmental sensors. Over the previous two years, we've collaborated with vehicle manufacturers to help develop integrated safety functions with an eye toward bringing the advantages to wider vehicle markets such as mid-size to smaller cars." TRW said it is providing the platform for a variety of integrated safety functions on a major European mid-class vehicle model due to start production in 2008. The vehicle, which the company declined to name, features TRW's electronic stability control (ESC) braking system and electrically powered steering (EPS), in addition to video sensing to enable integrated vehicle control systems such as lane departure warning/lane guidance and steering torque control. This vehicle is expected to include the first launch of TRW's video camera technology integrated with electric power steering to enable haptic lane feedback and assist with lane keeping. In this system, the video camera detects when the vehicle is drifting toward the lane markings and the electric steering then applies the proper torque to assist the driver in keeping the vehicle in its lane. "We believe this vehicle will be one of the most technologically advanced in the world," said Alois Seewald, global director of research and development for TRW. "The combination of electronically controlled braking and steering with environmental sensors help give a clear picture of the driving environment and road conditions as well as the driver's intended path." With this information, the system functions can work together to support the driver through warnings if a potentially dangerous situation is sensed, 'coach' the driver to steer in the proper direction to restore vehicle control, or brake wheels individually and cut engine torque if necessary. The systems will also enable park assist for automated parallel parking. TRW also said it will be providing its active control retractor (ACR) seatbelt technology to a major Korean vehicle manufacturer in 2008. This technology will work in combination with a radar-based adaptive cruise control system. TRW first launched the ACR technology with Mercedes on S Class models in 2002. Seewald continued: "This exciting vehicle launch is an example of active and passive systems working in tandem. The ACR can use sensor information from driver assist systems radar or vision systems to sense when a vehicle is approaching a target too quickly. If this occurs the ACR system removes the seatbelt slack to help better position the occupant in relation to the vehicle's airbag restraint system in case of a crash and resets itself if it is avoided." "The combination of active braking, steering, suspension and driver assist systems helps to open a world of possibilities for vehicle safety that is fast becoming a reality in today's vehicle market," said John C. Plant, president and CEO of TRW Automotive.
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