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TRW takes auto/pedestrian collision avoidance to the next level

TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. is today demonstrating its latest cutting-edge pedestrian detection and accident mitigation system that utilizes advanced signal processing algorithms to instantly process data from a video camera and radar sensors while working with electronic stability control to automatically brake a vehicle reducing the severity of an impact on a pedestrian.
Posted: October 11, 2011 - 5:39PM
Author: Don Bain

The company is demonstrating leadership in cognitive, or intelligent, safety systems at a ride and drive event near to Wueschheim, Germany.

"When vehicles collide with pedestrians, the risk of serious injury or death is very high,” said Martin Thoone, vice president, electronics engineering at TRW. According to statistics, a pedestrian has an 85 percent chance of death when involved in a motor vehicle collision at 40mph, a 45 percent chance of death at 30mph and a 5 percent chance of death at 20mph. Active pedestrian detection systems – which can automatically slow the vehicle to reduce the impact speed or even avoid the collision – can therefore help to significantly improve the pedestrian's chance of survival."

TRW's pedestrian detection system functions by analyzing sensor information from a scalable video camera with 24 GHz radar data. When a pedestrian is detected in the vehicle’s path and confirmed by the radar, sophisticated risk assessment algorithms calculate the likelihood of collision. An alert is issued and braking can be automatically initiated to slow the vehicle thus reducing impact. This is similar to a TRW radar based, emergency-braking system already in production.

"In addition to vehicle detection, lane detection and traffic sign recognition, the scalable camera provides the capability to detect and track pedestrians at distances of over 40 meters, even in challenging urban scenarios – such as multiple pedestrians in crowded cross walks or pedestrians using umbrellas in the rain, Thoone continued. “By adding a radar device via sensor fusion, the enhanced performance allows full braking at higher speeds."

This new technology can be combined with TRW's current pedestrian protection safety system which uses front-mounted sensors to detect an actual pedestrian impact. It can deploy active safety devices including pyrotechnic hood lifters to improve pedestrian protection in the event of a collision.

TRW's pedestrian collision mitigation system is scheduled for production in 2014 with full braking functionality.