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TRW's Revolutionary Adaptive Cruise Control Launches with VW Group

Mar 4, 2002

TRW Automotive today announced the first launch for its revolutionary radar enabled Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system on a Volkswagen Group platform that will be unveiled to the public this month. TRW has been selected to deliver ACC on four luxury and mid-range platforms from the Volkswagen Group.

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TRW's ACC system is the first on the market to feature MMIC long-range radar sensing technology which tracks information up to 150 metres ahead in all weather and road conditions. The breakthrough radar is the result of an 80 million euro ($69.5 million USD) investment project from Autocruise, a joint venture between TRW and the French defence and aerospace company, Thales.

The information from the radar is analysed by electronics contained in the unit. The system identifies the vehicle nearest to the driver in their lane and tracks it. If that vehicle is travelling slower than the selected cruise speed, the ACC system sends a signal to the engine and braking system to decelerate until there is an appropriate following distance. The system maintains this following distance while the vehicle travels below the selected cruise speed. When the road ahead clears, or the driver overtakes, the ACC system sends a signal to the engine management system to accelerate the vehicle to the driver's selected speed.

The company's ACC system uses fully MMIC (Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit) based radar sensing technology to detect other vehicles on the road ahead. The core of the radar sensing is a high frequency (77Ghz) TRM (Transmit Receive Module) incorporating the MMIC chips, developed initially for defence and telecommunications use. The Autocruise radar offers excellent performance and lower cost for volume production and is at least two years ahead of its competition.

Phil Cunningham, product director, chassis controls, TRW Automotive, said: "This system is a technology leap in Adaptive Cruise Control. First, the use of MMIC radar technology will make ACC an affordable option on many more models. Radar technology, unlike infrared systems, operates in all weather conditions. Infrared sensors rely on a clear optical path, which means that in fog, and even wet road conditions where road dirt collects on the back of vehicles, an infrared adaptive cruise control will not function reliably. The TRW system is also compact and can be placed behind a bumper or grill, allowing minimal impact on airflow and styling. Moreover, this technology offers accurate measurement of distances, angular positions and relative speed of multiple vehicles, even on curves.

"Our own and industry research has demonstrated that ACC significantly reduces driving stress and fatigue. Not only is this an excellent comfort feature, but the research suggests that if just one in ten vehicles were fitted with such an ACC system, significant improvements in traffic flow would be achieved.

"We're extremely pleased with the ride characteristics in terms of the smoothness of the acceleration and deceleration that has been developed in close collaboration with our customer for VW's new model. Our adaptive cruise control is a feature that really does work and significantly enhances the driving experience."

Vehicle-specific characteristics, such as acceleration and deceleration rates, are determined by software and can, therefore, allow for feature differentiation across various vehicle platforms based on common hardware.

Christophe Tremoureux, chief executive officer, Autocruise, added: "We are proud to have reached this important milestone. After several years of hard work, this success proves the combined determination and expertise of TRW and Thales and dedication of the Autocruise team to bring military know-how into the automotive arena."

The radar-enabled ACC system is a step on TRW's technology roadmap for Driver Assistance Systems. These systems ultimately lead to integrated vehicle control systems, comprising active safety features such as vehicle stability control, electric steering systems and active roll control systems linked with vision, infrared and radar sensing systems. These "smart" sensing technologies will also allow advanced passive safety features such as active retracting seatbelts and intelligent airbag systems.

TRW Automotive is a leader in braking systems, steering systems, suspension systems, occupant safety systems, electronics, engine valves, fastening systems and aftermarket replacement parts for the global automotive industry. TRW Inc. (NYSE: TRW) provides advanced technology products and services to the automotive, aerospace and information technology markets. The company's 2001 sales were $16.4 billion (USD). TRW news is available on the Internet at .

Autocruise(R) is a joint venture company between TRW Automotive and Thales, established in 1998. Located at Brest, France, Autocruise(R) employs around 80 people and has an annual production capacity of more than 240,000 units.


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

Contact: Lynette Jackson of TRW (Europe), +44-121-506-5315, , or Juli Ballesteros of TRW (USA), +1-734-266-4879,


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