TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. announced that its latest lane-keeping assist technology, incorporating closed loop control, has gone into production for the first time on two vehicle platforms for the European market.
Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) integrates data from a video camera sensor with electrically powered steering (EPS) to apply a short counter-steer torque via the steering system. This helps the driver prevent the vehicle from unintentionally leaving the lane.
"Lane Keeping Assist technology has great potential in helping to improve road safety,” said Andy Whydell of TRW Electronics’ product planning. “According to 2011 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, 53 percent of road fatalities result from a roadway departure, and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) data estimates that lane departure warning and lane keeping assist systems could save more than 7,500 lives in the U.S.A. each year."
In conventional LKA systems, the technology is only active when the vehicle is close to the lane borders. At that point, the counter-steer torque activates to help correct the driving position. However, with this closed loop version, the steering angle is controlled more closely as the driver is “coached” to steer the vehicle away from the border back to the center of the lane. As with all LKA systems, the induced torque generated by the EPS system can be easily over-ridden by the driver at any time.
"This technology is the first step towards a full lane centering system where the EPS system will help keep the driver in the center of the lane at all times,” Whydell said. “Such technologies are starting to form the basis for semi-automated driving functionality."
With 2012 sales of $16.4 billion, TRW Automotive ranks among the world's leading automotive suppliers. Headquartered in Livonia, Mich., the company and its subsidiaries operate in 25 countries and employ approximately 65,000 people worldwide.
TRW Automotive products include integrated vehicle control and driver assist systems, braking systems, steering systems, suspension systems, occupant safety systems (seat belts and airbags), electronics, engine components, fastening systems and aftermarket replacement parts and services.