Demographic drivers as well as increasing demand for lifestyle choices are pushing partially-automated fitment rates says ZF TRW.

The mega-supplier – which acquired US component producer TRW in May last year to create a EUR30bn company if sales forecasts prove accurate – made the comments at its winter test track in Arvidsjaur in Northern Sweden where it is showcasing a range of safety technologies.

“Automated driving, lots of people talk about it its its final form, of course that is some years away but partially automated is a reality today,” said ZF TRW board member and EVP sales and business development, Peter Lake in Arvidsjaur, on the edge of the Arctic Circle.

“We all know why that is the case. There are demographic drivers causing increased fitment, lifestyle and all of the safety characteristics associated with automated driving as well.

“One million crashes in 2013 in the US were associated with hand held or hands free calling on a cell phone and 341,000 crashes were associated with sending texts.

“Distraction leads to accidents and we have the opportunity to do something about that.”

The ZF board member added the supplier estimated by 2021 there would be 30m vehicles fitted some level of automated feature, with frenetic activity already meaning such a prediction was already being acted on in OEM purchasing departments.

“If it is going to be on vehicles in five years time, it is pretty close to being on a purchase order now,” said Lake, who also emphasised active safety was not just for emergencies, but also for scenarios such as highway and urban driving.

Equally, more than half of fatalities linked to car accidents in Europe are as a result of people acting outside vehicles, whether pedestrians or cyclists for example.

Innovation is not just confined to active safety however, with its passive stablemate also coming under forensic scrutiny and exhibiting considerable increase in development.

“We have coined the phrase ‘predictive safety’ where we can change the deployment strategy of those traditional passive safety products,” said Lake.

“To be able to go in and say [to an OEM] we think this is a good solution for you [is] something we believe distinguishes ourselves, to put together ‘See, Think, Act’ [company philosophy].