Electronics evolution from TRW standpoint

With continued pressure from legislators and consumer bodies to increase the fitment of active safety systems, TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. expects several notable trends to develop in the electronics field including:

  • Crash avoidance technologies to become mainstream
  • Focus on affordable radar and camera systems
  • Increased demand for open architecture systems


Peter Lake, executive vice president, sales & business development for TRW, stated that electronics is the fastest growing automotive commodity as industry estimators now place the percentage of a vehicle’s cost attributed to this area to be as high as 40 to 50 percent, up from 20 percent a decade ago.

Today, the industry is stepping up to the mark as organisations such as the World Health Organisation and the European Commission have set ambitious targets to drastically reduce the number of road fatalities globally by 2020. To support this, New Car Assessment Programs (NCAPs), including Euro NCAP, are revising their rating programs to reward and promote safety improvements in new vehicles over the coming years. One of the most important goals of the new scheme will be to include emergency crash avoidance technologies, which will significantly boost the fitment of electronics content on new vehicles.– Peter Lake, executive vice president, sales & business development for TRW

With Driver Assist Systems (DAS) set to become mainstream technology, TRW expects that optimizing costs will become an important topic for the vehicle manufacturer and supplier industry. In order to support the growing demand for video and radar, TRW is working with its customers to bring new, advanced safety technologies to market at an affordable price from the outset.

Finally, TRW is seeing a clearer trend toward domain architectures and a greater demand for open system architectures in order to address the growing complexity of vehicle electronics. TRW  will start production of its ‘Safety Domain ECU’ (SDE) this year with a major European vehicle manufacturer – a technology which meets this requirement.

A significant aspect of our SDE is that is can integrate software from vehicle manufacturers or third parties. Without knowing the code, we can integrate the software in an “open architecture” system housed within the controller. These are in high demand as vehicle manufacturers are increasingly writing their own software and asking suppliers to manage the integration – not just for active safety systems, but also for airbags, steering and braking. This has grown enormously and we expect to see exponential growth in this area.– concluded Dr. Hans-Gerd Krekels, Engineering director.

An example of application can be seen below with Collision Warning with Emergency Brake system developed by Volvo Trucks:

Source: TRW

Romain’s opinion:

It is true that electronics will greatly help to improve vehicle safety, but at which added cost level? Will this kind of safety systems be applied to low end segment vehicles? Every final customer is not able to afford expensive solution and will prefer to go for a cheaper vehicle even if it is less safe. Do you think there is a way to decrease the added cost coming from Driver Assist Systems?

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