TRW Launches New Airbag Control Unit

Automotive supplier TRW released details on its newly-developed Airbag Control Unit which allows the integration of a range of pre-crash occupant safety functions as well as inertial sensors for stability control. The company has confirmed that the technology will start production with two major vehicle manufacturers in 2012.

"We are proud to announce these two significant wins with a major European and Asian vehicle manufacturer - one of which will apply the technology in more than 10 different car lines anticipated to cover a volume of approximately seven million vehicles over the full span of the agreement. These major contracts further highlight our strength and capabilities in this area," Martin Thoone, vice president engineering at TRW said in a release.

To enhance value of the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems that have been introduced so far with standalone inertial sensor clusters (IMU), TRW's Airbag Control Unit integrates inertial sensors and therefore offers several advantages:
  • It places the sensors close to the vehicle's center of gravity
  • Combining inertial sensors and crash sensors into one module allows alternate methods for diagnostics coverage
  • Allows inertial sensors to be used to enhance both side impact and rollover detection
  • Allows the potential to integrate individual sensors into multiple sensor integrated circuits
  • Many components required for a stand alone inertial sensor module can be eliminated without affecting the design or performance of the ESC controller

The Airbag Control Unit can also incorporate the control functions of TRW's Active Control Retractor within the unit and thus control a number of pre-crash occupant safety functions in one modular unit.

The new Airbag Control Unit from TRW can also support additional features like pedestrian protection sensing and actuation, rollover detection and actuation of a suspension stabilizer bar and passenger occupation detection.
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