TRW develops new Pedestrian Protection System

In the event of a collision, system will determine if the vehicle has struck a human body or another

TRW Automotive Holdings has developed a new Pedestrian Protection System to help address an important global safety issue that is now in production with a European auto manufacturer.

The new Pedestrian Protection System uses up to three Remote Acceleration Sensors (RAS) located in the front bumper area, these sensors continuously transmit acceleration signals to an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) 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 and 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.

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

The new 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.

TRW global electronics engineering vice president Martin Thoone said their goal is a reliable system based on proven technology for the hardware, software and control algorithms.

"TRW has been a longstanding leader in supplying crash sensors and airbag ECUs and is a recognized leader for algorithms that control airbag functions," Thoone said.

"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."

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.