"Every year the cost of electronics gets less and less" - TRW

"Every year the cost of electronics gets less and less" - TRW

TRW says increasing safety developments will occur in tandem with lightweighting and ever-greater fuel efficiency, while component provision will also decrease in cost.

The component producer was speaking at its Ride and Drive event at Germany's Formula 1 Hockenheimring, with safety, emissions and driver assistance key themes.

"Safety will increase - you will see more lightweight solutions - more aluminium for example in the F150 - that is a real sea change in the industry" TRW electronics director product planning Andrew Whydell told just-auto on the sidelines of the Hockenheim event.

"You will have increasing requirements adding in more functionality. A lot of these technologies are driven by regulation or in some cases, consumer demand whether indirectly or directly.

"When it comes to additional safety equipment, you can take the approach 34,000 lives lost in Europe is still an awful lot. I would say what we are seeing is a change from cast iron pieces of metal and an increase of electronics."

The TRW electronics director added the supplier had specific staff tasked with keeping abreast of regulatory requirements, while he himself was the company representative on the US Automotive Safety Council.

The manufacturer also liaises with other suppliers to provide unified responses to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). "It is not direct lobbying, but we are able to give an expert opinion," said Whydell.

"Certainly in the safety area, there are changes coming which will enable the government to continue the trend in fatality reductions in the last ten years. In Europe they have almost halved."

Whydell noted despite the rapid increase in the availability of electronics in vehicles, the cost of installing such equipment was falling.

"Every year the electronics get less and less expensive, so that over time the cost comes down sufficiently so you can add equipment without affecting the overall cost of the car," he said.

"If you compare our first radar we launched in 2002, with the the one we launched in the last year or so, the price of that has fallen by a factor of ten.

"It means OEMS can afford to offer technology they could not do before."

The electronics director added what is considered cutting edge technology today, often appears as standard equipment on "mainstream family cars" ten years in the future.

"The cost of a car is a series of compromises," said Whydell. "Vehicle manufacturers do a very good job of balancing those costs.

"Fitment of some equipment for safety purposes will give opportunities."

Expert analysis

Global light vehicle safety systems market - forecasts to 2034

Global light vehicle safety systems market - forecasts to 2034

This QUBE report from just-auto provides a comprehensive overview of the global automotive safety systems sector, major suppliers, top 14 markets, technology trends and market size forecasts. Use this...read more

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