TRW Develops Next Generation Airbag Control Unit with Integrated Pre Crash Functions and Inertial Sensors


LIVONIA, Mich., November 24, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ – TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (NYSE:TRW) today announced its next-generation Airbag Control Unit designed for maximum flexibility to allow 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.

Martin Thoone, vice president engineering, Electronics said: “TRW remains a global leader in airbag control units and is currently the number one supplier for North American built vehicles. We have shipped in excess of 150 million units to our global customer base.

“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 strengths and capabilities in this area.”

Traditionally Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems have been introduced with stand-alone inertial sensor clusters (IMU). To enhance value, TRW’s Airbag Control Unit presents a viable way to reduce the number of modules in the vehicle while retaining the performance of the ESC. In addition, the performance of the side-impact and rollover sensing functions is enhanced through the use of the inertial sensor data.

Thoone added: “Sensor integration is a core part of TRW’s strategy and we are continually working to develop smarter products which will help to reduce complexity, installation effort, weight, packaging, and ultimately the costs for our customers. With the broadest portfolio of active and passive safety products in the industry, TRW is well placed to maximize integration opportunities.”

Integrating inertial sensors into the airbag control unit offers several advantages. Firstly, it places the sensors close to the vehicle’s center of gravity – a prime location for both vehicle impact sensors and inertial sensors. Secondly, 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; and allows the potential to integrate individual sensors into multiple sensor integrated circuits. And finally, many components required for a stand-alone inertial sensor module can be eliminated without affecting the design or performance of the ESC controller – offering significant savings for vehicle manufacturers.

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 – offering flexibility and integration of key safety functions. Additional features like pedestrian protection sensing and actuation, rollover detection, and actuation of a suspension stabilizer bar and passenger occupation detection are supported with the Airbag Control Unit.

Thoone concluded: “With legislation to make ESC compulsory and the rapid growth of electronics in the automotive industry, there is a huge opportunity for continued electrical integration. With a respected technology portfolio, we are confident that TRW can offer customers the experience and intelligence needed to produce the electronic systems of today and tomorrow.”

About TRW

With 2008 sales of $15.0 billion, TRW Automotive ranks among the world’s leading automotive suppliers. Headquartered in Livonia, Michigan, USA, the Company, through its subsidiaries, operates in 26 countries and employs approximately 64,000 people worldwide. TRW Automotive products include integrated vehicle control and driver assist systems, braking systems, steering systems, suspension systems, occupant safety systems (seat belts and airbags), electronics, engine components, fastening systems and aftermarket replacement parts and services. All references to “TRW Automotive”, “TRW” or the “Company” in this press release refer to TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. and its subsidiaries, unless otherwise indicated. TRW Automotive news is available on the internet at

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains statements that are not statements of historical fact, but instead are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on these statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. All forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties which can cause our actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements, including those set forth in our Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008 (our “Form 10-K”), and our Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended April 3, July 3 and October 2, 2009, such as: any prolonged contraction in automotive sales and production adversely affecting our results, liquidity or the viability of our supply base; the financial condition of OEMs, particularly the Detroit Three, adversely affecting us or the viability of our supply base; disruptions in the financial markets adversely impacting the availability and cost of credit negatively affecting our business; our substantial debt and resulting vulnerability to economic or industry downturns and to rising interest rates; escalating pricing pressures from our customers; commodity inflationary pressures adversely affecting our profitability or supply base; our dependence on our largest customers; costs of product liability, warranty and recall claims and efforts by customers to adversely alter terms and conditions concerning warranty and recall participation; strengthening of the U.S. dollar and other foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impacting our results; any increase in the expense and funding requirements of our pension and other postretirement benefits; risks associated with non-U.S. operations, including economic uncertainty in some regions; work stoppages or other labor issues at our facilities or at the facilities of our customers or suppliers; assertions by or against us relating to intellectual property rights; the possibility that our largest stockholder’s interests will conflict with our; or our other stockholders’ interests; and other risks and uncertainties set forth in our Form 10-K and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not undertake any obligation to release publicly any update or revision to any of these forward-looking statements.

Source: TRW Automotive Holdings Corp.

CONTACT: John Wilkerson, +1-734-855-3864,,
or Lynette Jackson, +44 121 506 5315,,
or Louise Colledge, +44 121 627 3909,, all of TRW


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