TRW introduces an electronic horn
DETROIT -- TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. said it has developed a new electronic horn system, which will be ready for production in late 2014 and probably be used first by an unnamed European automaker.
Conventional horn systems can be bulky and expensive since they require many components. TRW says its new technology, announced Wednesday, will solve those problems and also have an improved appearance.
Guido Hirzmann, group leader of new technology and mechatronics, said several vehicle manufacturers around the world are showing interest in the system.
“TRW is working together with many of the OEMs in the world; all want to improve their quality challenges,” Hirzmann said in an e-mail. “So nearly all are interested.”
Drivers will be able to sound the horn without using force because the airbag cover will be able to detect the position of a finger or hand and send an electronic signal.
The company says this will prevent accidental horn activation because it can detect whether a hand is approaching accidentally from the side or intentionally from the top.
TRW chose the technology because it is becoming more common in electronic devices and should appeal to younger drivers.
A similar concept could eventually be used to create a “greeting horn,” multifunction switches or other functions.
TRW Automotive Holdings, of suburban Detroit, ranks No. 12 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $14.67 billion in 2011.