Call it an airbag for the OUTSIDE of the car.

Livonia-based TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (NYSE: TRW) Monday unveiled an advanded “Pedestrian Protection System” that it said it is now in production for an unnamed European auto manufacturer.

TRW’s system uses up to three remote acceleration sensors in the front bumper area. These sensors continuously transmit acceleration signals to an electronic control unit  which analyzes the sensor data. In the event of a collision, the system will determine if the vehicle has struck a human body — of various sizes — or another object. If a pedestrian collision is detected, the system triggers hood lifter mechanisms — located on either underside of the hood — to activate and create more space between the hood and the hard engine components to help reduce potential injury.

“Our goal is a reliable system based on proven technology for the hardware, software and control algorithms,” said Martin Thoone, vice president, TRW global electronics engineering. “TRW has been a longstanding leader in supplying crash sensors and airbag ECUs and is a recognized leader for algorithms that control airbag functions. In the Pedestrian Protection System, the RAS can be mated to a stand-alone ECU, but the more cost effective solution is to have the software integrated into an existing TRW airbag control unit.” 

The preferred integrated option also offers better interactions between the frontal impact sensing and pedestrian impact sensing algorithms; resulting in enhanced overall sensing performance.

System advantages also include sensor packaging flexibility across a wide range of vehicle applications; an electronic communication interface that works within established industry protocols, helping ensure high compatibility and reliability; and the use of TRW’s proprietary X-RISA_8 pedestrian impact sensing algorithm.

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