TRW's video camera sensor is slightly taller than a 1 euro coin (Photo: TRW)

TRW Automotive, expecting strong demand for camera systems, has started production of a scalable video camera that can provide additional safety functions in the car.

The US based supplier also said it is investing in an electronics facility in Marshall, Illinois, to support its growing video camera business worldwide.

TRW said its new S-Cam, when integrated with a vehicle chassis system, can provide functions such as lane keeping and lane centering and automatic emergency braking. The camera uses technology from vision technology specialist Mobileye.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says 53 pc of road fatalities result from a roadway departure, while the country's  Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) believes lane departure warning and lane keeping assist systems could save more than 7,500 lives in the US each year.

TRW, therefore, expects a growing market for advanced driver assistance technologies. "In North America, in the coming five years, we expect to see a strong demand for camera systems, particularly in light of the high frequency of accidents caused by lane drift," said Peter Lake, executive vice president, sales and business development at TRW.

The company sees demand for camera systems coming from both premium and volume carmakers. It will be launching lower cost cameras for mid-sized sedans and SUVs in coming years.

At its Marshall plant, TRW is installing new assembly cells. It is doing the same at its other camera facility, in Peterlee in the UK. At TRW's global electronics headquarters in Farmington Hills, Illinois, the company is adding  approximately 60 new positions to support further development and application of camera technologies.

TRW's first-generation camera was launched in 2008 on the European Lancia Delta. The second-generation S-Cam came to market in 2011 and TRW said it will be available on vehicles from five major automakers in North America, Europe and Asia later this year. A third-generation product will be launched for several 2016 models.

Separately, TRW said this week that it has launched its first combined remote keyless entry and tire pressure monitoring system. The technology, which is being implemented on an unidentified Japanese car model, uses fewer parts to provide both functions.

"By eliminating the need for separate receivers for the two systems we can maintain performance characteristics, use less space, reduce system weight and wiring complexity, and ultimately lower material and assembly costs,” said Ken Kaiser, TRW vice president, Global Electronics Engineering.