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FRANCE: TRW Autocruise launches updated radar-based adaptive cruise control

By just-auto.com editorial team | 9 November 2004

TRW Autocruise, TRW Automotive's adaptive cruise control (ACC) subsidiary, has launched its new generation AC20 radar system which will launch on a D segment platform of a major German vehicle manufacturer in spring 2005.

Just-auto believes this model will most likely be BMW's redesigned  3-series line - the company already offers adaptive cruise control for its larger 5-, 6- and 7-series ranges.

The new radar is half the size and weight of TRW's current AC10 model at "significantly" reduced cost, the company said in a statement.

The AC20 radar system offers several enhanced driver assistance function options such as "follow to stop," "collision mitigation" and will support future assisted "stop and go" systems.

The ACC is a conventional radar based adaptive system which acts as normal cruise control holding the vehicle at a set speed - until a slower vehicle appears in front, when it automatically accelerates and brakes the vehicle to keep a driver-selected gap (constant time interval) behind the slower vehicle. The information from the 77 GHz radar is analysed by electronics contained in the ACC unit.

However, the new radar and enhanced transmit-receive module captures data for an additional 50 metres compared with the previous system - extending its range to 200 metres.

"With the cost reduction we are now able to propose, we've seen significant interest from a number of vehicle manufacturers, especially within the D-segment," a TRW Autocruise spokesman said.

The new radar's control unit also offers enhanced driver assistance features including follow to stop, where the system brings the vehicle to a complete standstill.

Assisted stop and go, an optional feature planned for the future, will automatically stop and accelerate the vehicle in heavy 'stop-and-go' traffic. An additional planned future option - emergency brake assist - will automatically apply the vehicle's brakes to prevent any reaction delay by a driver suddenly confronted with an obstruction.

TRW Automotive's ACC business is based in Brest, France and developed the new radar in house in co-operation with TRW braking engineers in the UK, Germany and the US.

Its system uses MMIC (Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit) based radar sensing technology to detect other vehicles on the road ahead. The radar technology is claimed to operate in all weather conditions, unlike the laser based systems used by some competitors which rely on a clear optical path.

The spokesman added: "Company and industry research has demonstrated that ACC significantly aids driver comfort by reducing driving stress and fatigue. The research shows that traffic would be really regulated once ACC systems are [common] on vehicles."

TRW Automotive supplies its ACC systems to Volkswagen for its Phaeton range, a number of truck manufacturers and is working on future platforms with other vehicle makers.