TRW sees increasing market penetration for Electric Park Brake systems
TRW launched the first integrated caliper EPB system in 2001 and is bringing the wide range of functional and ancillary benefits of EPB to market with the launch of EPB expected in the 2013 model year. The new systems will feature TRW's next-generation technology including its Gen 5 Electronic Control Unit (ECU).
TRW's EPB technology goes beyond the simple functionality of holding a vehicle in a stopped position, because it is based on electronics it can be integrated with other vehicle systems, the company said. For example, the EPB can work with a vehicle's Electronic Stability Control system in emergency stop situations to enable full four-wheel anti-lock functionality enhancing safety in an emergency braking situation.
The current fifth generation of TRW's EPB ECU utilizes a dual microcontroller safety architecture with an application-specific integrated circuit. The memory size is scalable up to 1MB with the option of incorporating (external) customer software modules. For greater packaging and performance flexibility there is an option to integrate longitudinal, lateral and yaw rate sensors within the ECU. TRW also offers an integrated EPBi system where control of the unit is integrated into the Slip Control system, and we can also work with slip control systems from other companies to offer this integration function to vehicle manufacturers.
EPB systems allow for greater freedom of design for vehicle interiors since they utilize electrical cables and a control switch instead of a typical foot pedal or hand lever associated to conventional park brakes. In addition, it helps to reduce weight and thus to improve fuel economy. In an example quotes by TRW, a pickup truck popular in the North American market, more than seven kilograms could be saved when an EPB system replaced a drum-in-hat rear park brake system. Furthermore, for OEMs the assembly of the EPB system into the vehicle is simpler and the robustness of the system can result in fewer warranty complaints.
Other benefits include an auto-apply option - if the driver were to exit the vehicle and mistakenly leave the vehicle in gear - the EPB system can be activated automatically when the driver opens the door or releases their seatbelt. This is particularly beneficial for preventing unintentional roll-away either in a driveway or at a boat launch ramp. There is also a drive away assist function which holds the vehicle in a stopped position without the need to constantly depress the brake pedal - a feature particularly useful in traffic jams feature.
TRW added it expects the EPB penetration rate for vehicles sold in North America to approach 10 percent by 2015. For the European market, the company did not provide a forecast.
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