TRW Automotive Holdings this week outlined how its portfolio of intelligent safety systems can support vehicle manufacturers in meeting the challenge of reducing both the impact of traffic accidents and emissions.

At a ride and drive event for customers and media near Paris, the supplier said its 'cognitive safety systems' help protect drivers and their passengers and assist in avoiding and mitigating accidents. And a range of fuel efficient technologies support customers and consumers in their environmental efforts.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 1.2m people lose their lives in road traffic accidents each year. Research for the European Commission's '2010 Intelligent Car Initiative' found that 76% of all accidents are due to driver error.

Peter Lake, TRW's executive vice president, said: "We're not talking about just safety, but about intelligent or 'thinking' safety - this means technology that can support drivers and help mitigate the impact of traffic accidents."

"TRW's cognitive safety systems are at the centre of the broadest portfolio of safety technologies of any automotive supplier. By combining this breadth of active and passive technology with our electronics and sensing capabilities, we are able to offer systems that provide tangible safety benefits to drivers and their passengers."

"In addition, we have focused on delivering those fuel efficient technologies we believe have the biggest cost/benefit impact. TRW's range of electrically assisted steering and hybrid enabling braking technologies are proving their efficiency and value across a wide range of models. These systems are key enablers of both intelligent safety and fuel economy."

TRW Automotive has developed a suite of environmental sensors including long- and medium-range radar, short-range radar, video sensors, steering and roll angle sensors and yaw rate and velocity sensors. Together these sensors create a more complete picture of the driving environment and help enable the most appropriate engagement of the integrated safety subsystems.

Lake added: "The intelligence in our systems has evolved. In the past, systems were purely reactive to driver inputs; they moved to become responsive and to interpret a driver's intent - but still depended on input (for instance brake assist increases the brake force when the system 'learns' that the pedal force isn't sufficient for the situation).

"And now, with the appropriate level of information about the driving environment - through the use of multiple sensor sources - the systems can ultimately take autonomous action to lessen the severity of an unavoidable incident - regardless of whether a driver hits the brake pedal or moves the steering wheel.

"We can move toward this higher level of safety due to the knowledge of our engineers and their proven experience in the development of subcomponents, electronics, systems and their integration."