Production of the new electronic horn system from TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. will begin in late 2014. An unnamed European automaker would likely be the first to use the system. Since the conventional horn systems use numerous components, they could be bulky and costly. TRW expects that this new technology will resolve many issues and it will also be getting a better look. According to Guido Hirzmann, group leader of new technology and mechatronics, several automakers worldwide have expressed an interest in the system. In an e-mail, Hirzmann said that TRW is working with multiple OEMs around the world. All of them hope to improve their quality challenges.
Drivers can make the horn sound without having to use force since the airbag cover can sense the position of a finger or hand and an electronic signal could then be sent. TRW said that accidental horn activation could be avoided since it could sense if a hand is getting near accidentally from the side or intentionally from the top.
TRW selected this technology since it is being used more commonly in electronic devices and is likely to appeal to younger drivers. It’s believed that a similar concept will be used to develop a “greeting horn,” multifunction switches or other functions. TRW Automotive Holdings, which is based in suburban Detroit, sold $14.67 billion of its products to automakers in 2011, earning it the No. 12 rank on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers.