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TRW Automotive Offers Integrated Approach to Rollover Mitigation

Active and Passive Safety Systems Move Toward Avoidance Technologies

Aug 6, 2003

With fatalities from rollover crashes increasing five percent in the last year according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), TRW Automotive is integrating active and passive safety technologies in a holistic approach that can help prevent and mitigate rollover accidents.

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As the global leader in automotive safety systems, TRW Automotive has developed a suite of technologies that can help keep the vehicle on the road, can notify the driver that they may be approaching the vehicle's limits, enhance vehicle stability and provide occupant protection in the event a rollover can't be prevented.

"The issue of rollover is a complex one for NHTSA, automakers and consumers alike -- and at TRW, we believe we can help," said John C. Plant, president and CEO of TRW Automotive. "By taking a holistic approach and integrating technologies that can help prevent rollovers along with systems that are designed to protect occupants should a rollover actually occur, we hope to help automakers increase total vehicle safety for drivers and passengers."

More than 80 percent of rollovers occur when the vehicle leaves the road, so TRW Automotive's approach to rollover avoidance and mitigation includes technologies which help keep the vehicle on the road, including:

* Driver Assist Systems - Over the last 15 years, TRW has been active in the development of algorithms to sense the road ahead. These algorithms can measure the lane width, the position of the vehicle within the lane and the curvature of the road ahead. When combined with other sensors on the vehicle, a variety of different applications can be utilized including Lane Departure Warning, Lane Guidance, Drowsy Driver Monitoring and Adaptive Headlights.

* Active Roll Control (ARC) - Through a combination of hydraulic and electronic technologies, TRW Automotive's ARC system reduces a vehicle's "roll" or (tipping sensation) and provides a softer ride. By actively engaging a vehicle's stabilizer bars only to the extent needed to reduce body roll in cornering, ARC not only improves vehicle handling but also helps to reduce the risk of vehicle rollovers during cornering maneuvers.

* Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) - TRW Automotive's VSC system is one of the most effective technologies currently available to reduce rollovers. This is because it is designed to modulate braking and powertrain forces to avoid excessive yaw rates -- one of the principal precursors to a leading cause of rollover accidents, the vehicle leaving the road. If integrated with electronically controlled steering, VSC has the added potential to provide "coaching" for the driver during oversteer and understeer situations, as well as during potentially dangerous maneuvers such as panic braking on split mu surfaces, thus helping the driver keep the vehicle going in the intended direction and maintaining control.

TRW Automotive also has safety technologies that help to protect the occupants in the event of a rollover, such as:

* Active Control Retractor (ACR) - Now available on the Mercedes S-Class, TRW Automotive's ACR is the first active seat belt system on the market. It uses braking and stability control sensor information to pre-tension the seatbelt should the system sense a potential accident. The system's electronic drive unit integrated into the seat belt system provides the pre-tensioning as part of the Mercedes Pre-Safe system and resets itself if the critical event is avoided.

* Cold Gas Inflator and Safety Canopy - This new automotive safety technology, which permits the air bag to stay inflated for up to six seconds, provides increased protection in prolonged events such as rollovers. Typical side impact curtain bags remain deployed for up to one second as the gas produced from conventional inflators begins to cool. The TRW Automotive system includes an industry-leading gas distribution technique that achieves faster filling of the safety canopy and more even distribution along the inside of the vehicle from the A to the C or the D pillar. The cold gas inflator is designed to deploy the curtain downward in less than 20 milliseconds to close the gap between the occupant and side window.

About TRW

With sales of $10.6 billion in 2002, TRW Automotive Inc. ranks among the top 10 suppliers in the world. Headquartered in Livonia, Michigan, USA, the company employs approximately 63,000 people in 22 countries. Its products include integrated vehicle control and driver assist systems, braking systems, steering systems, suspension systems, occupant safety systems (seat belts and airbags), electronics, engine valves, fastening systems and aftermarket replacement parts and services. TRW Automotive news is available on the Internet at .

Photo: NewsCom: AP Archive: PRN Photo Desk, +1-888-776-6555 or +1-212-782-2840 SOURCE: TRW Automotive

CONTACT: Manley Ford, +1-734-266-2616, or John Wilkerson, +1-734-266-3864, both of TRW; or Amy Popp or Jim Bianchi of Bianchi PR, +1-248-269-1122, for TRW Automotive

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