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Camera and Multi-Sensor Package Help Vehicles See the Road

Mon, 08/24/2009 - 9:57am
LIVONIA, Mich., /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- TRW Automotive Holdings Corporation is continuing its quest to make cars smarter, safer and more convenient through the development and packaging of advanced camera and sensor technologies.

"Giving a vehicle the capability of seeing the road, the environment and the lighting conditions under which a driver is operating can be incredibly powerful," said Martin Thoone, vice president, TRW Electronics Engineering. "A multitude of things are possible from a package about the size of a deck of playing cards that can include a camera, rain sensor and the processor. Beyond the many safety benefits are the comfort and convenience possibilities such as automatic headlights and windshield wiping without the driver needing to do anything."

The camera and multi-sensor package is very small and lightweight, yet includes the processing power needed to support the many functions. The camera/sensor unit is positioned in the region of the rear view mirror mount looking outward through the windshield.

Beyond automatic on-off headlamp control the camera technology can also determine in low light conditions if other traffic is in the vicinity and if not can automatically switch on the high beams for better vision at night or in tunnels.

In addition, the rain sensor focuses on the windshield glass surface and uses an optical sensor that measures reflected light. The light reflection changes as moisture in the form of rain or snow falls on the windshield and the system will automatically engage the windshield wipers and can vary the speed of the wiper motor depending on the amount of moisture detected.

"With so many distractions commanding the attention of today's driver, the automation of various functions can help to keep greater attention on the road ahead, and functions such as keeping the outer windshield free of moisture, the inner glass defogged and the headlights on at the optimal setting when low light conditions demand them all benefit giving the driver a clearer vision of the surroundings," Thoone said.

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