TRW showcased a vast array of safety initiatives in Hockenheim

TRW showcased a vast array of safety initiatives in Hockenheim

TRW is stressing the continued need for Driver Assist Systems (DAS) as a key tool in reducing road fatalities that are taking a heavy toll, especially in emerging economies.

The US supplier made its comments on the occasion of its 'Ride and Drive' event at the Hockenheimring - home to Germany's imminent Formula 1 race and against a backdrop of intensive component producer-led safety initiatives.

"DAS has and will continue to be, a focal point for the automotive industry as governments and industry bodes strive to reduce road fatalities worldwide," said TRW director, product planning, Andrew Whydell.

"For example, EuroNCAP and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), have this year introduced active safety criteria into their assessment programmes, which can be met with forward-looking radar and video camera sensors."

TRW was showcasing a raft of safety initiatives that included its emergency steering assist (ESA) system and enhanced braking as well as comfort features such as assisted seat buckles, on a plethora of demonstration vehicles at a wet and stormy Hockenheim in central Germany.

"Emergency Steering Assist (ESA) is our next step in collision avoidance," said TRW integrated active & passive safety systems engineering manager, Carsten Hass.

"If you swerve to avoid an obstacle, the system will calculate the optimal trajectory around it and additional steering torque will be applied...and stabilise the car.

"The driver remains in control of the vehicle and can override the system at all times."

ESA integrates data from TRW's video camera and radar sensors to provide a real time image of the road ahead, with an interface to the electrically-powered steering system.

TRW brought dozens of journalists from across Europe and Japan to its safety event, that was dominated by the omnipresent growl of Mercedes testing at the track, which is bedecked with the German automaker's logo.

Part of the briefing was devoted to the much-discussed potential of semi or complete autonomous driving and Whydell outlined how moves were being made to allow drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel for short periods of time.

"We'll start to see additional sensors being fitted to monitor 360 degrees around the vehicle and also the driver's attention level," said Whydell. "The systems will need to allow time for a distracted driver to be able to retake control of the vehicle.

"Radar sensors will therefore require a wider field of view at shorter range , combined with an overall longer range detection capability.

"Next generation video camera sensors will likely have lenses which can extend the range of detecting vehicles to 250m and beyond for highway driving, while also allowing you to see what is happening close to the vehicle when maneuvering at low speed."