TRW Automotive Holdings says the occupant sensing vision system developed by its TRW Vehicle Safety Systems subsidiary now meets the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) FMVSS 208 static test requirements for out-of-position occupant sensing, and is the first system of its type to have been recognised by TRW customers for this achievement.

The occupant sensing vision system can also perform dynamic out-of-position detection by identifying and tracking the position of an occupant’s head in the vehicle; airbag deployment will be suppressed if the vision occupant sensor determines that the occupant is in the “keep out” zone with respect to the airbag.

The system uses a stereo camera to monitor the vehicle passenger compartment from its mounting location in the overhead console. The camera circumference is roughly the size of a US dime coin and is about two inches (50mm) long.

The TRW system is now a production-intent, embedded design utilising a cost- effective, automotive-grade digital signal processing (DSP) microprocessor. TRW Automotive has development contracts in North America and Asia for its occupant sensing vision system.

“While TRW and other suppliers are currently supplying weight-based systems that indirectly infer occupant presence and size, the vision-based system can sense occupants in real-time and can accurately sense out-of- position situations, such as a passenger head or other part of the body, in close proximity to an airbag. It can also accurately recognize the size of the passenger or the presence of an infant seat – all key parts of NHTSA’s regulations,” a TRW spokesman said.