Patents Assigned to TRW Inc.
  • Patent number: 6952979
    Abstract: A steering column (10) includes a support (24) through which a steering column member (12) extends connected with a mounting bracket (68). A locking mechanism (130) locks the support (24) in any one of a plurality of positions relative to the mounting bracket (68). The locking mechanism (130) has a locking shaft (200) extending through first and second cams (148, 132) and the mounting bracket (68). The first cam (148) is rotatable relative to the locking shaft (200) and the second cam (132) and has a first cam surface (150). The second cam (132) has a second cam surface (134) facing the first cam surface (150). A bearing (166) includes a flexible cage (168) and a plurality of bearing members (170) rotatable relative to the cage engaging the first and second cam surfaces (150, 134). The locking mechanism (130) clamps the support (24) to the mounting bracket (68) when the first cam (148) is in a first position relative to the second cam (132).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 17, 2002
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Mark A. Cartwright, Greg B. Livengood
  • Patent number: 6951336
    Abstract: The present invention resides in a boot seal for use in sealing a joint. The joint comprises first and second relatively movable parts. The boot seal is configured in the form of a sleeve to extend between and around the vehicle relatively movable parts. The sleeve has a laminate wall which comprises at least two layers of thermoplastic elastomeric material which are bonded together. At least one of the layers is a stretch-toughenable polyester thermoplastic elastomer which has been diametrically stretched in an amount effective to increase the toughness of said one layer. The laminate wall has a percent elongation to rupture of at least 100, and a flexural modulus which is less than 100,000 psi. The laminate wall preferably has a puncture resistance of at least 50 Newtons/mm wall thickness.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 14, 2002
    Date of Patent: October 4, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Jon W. Martin
  • Patent number: 6945350
    Abstract: A steering apparatus (10) for turning steerable wheels of a vehicle having first and second sets (14 and 16) of steerable wheels comprises a first steering gear (22) actuatable, in response to rotation of a handwheel (110), to effect turning of the first set (14) of steerable wheels. The steering apparatus (10) also comprises second and third steering gears (24 and 26), each of which is independently actuatable to effect turning of the second set (16) of steerable wheels and thereby providing redundancy for turning of the second set (16) of steerable wheels. A sensor (112) senses a steering position of the first set (14) of steerable wheels and provides a steering signal indicative of the sensed steering position. A controller (114) receives the steering signal and, in response to the steering signal, controls actuation of the second and third steering gears (24 and 26).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 27, 2002
    Date of Patent: September 20, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: William A. Szabela, Daniel E. Williams, Kenneth A. Sherwin
  • Patent number: 6947575
    Abstract: An apparatus (30) and associated method determine a vehicle occupant characteristic. An imager (32) collects a first image of an occupant location while the occupant location is subject to a first lighting condition. A light source (38) provides light onto the occupant location. The imager (32) collects a second image of the occupant location while the occupant location is subject to the first lighting condition and the provided light. A subtractor device (50) generates a third image of the occupant location indicative of the difference between the first and second images. An image processing device (52) processes the third image to determine the vehicle occupant characteristic.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 24, 2001
    Date of Patent: September 20, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Jon K. Wallace, Farid Khairallah, Nicholas M. Zayan, Stephen R. W. Cooper
  • Patent number: 6923288
    Abstract: A steering apparatus (10) for a vehicle having steerable wheels. The apparatus (10) comprises a rotatable vehicle steering wheel (12) and a first assembly (100) operatively coupled to the steering wheel. The first assembly (100) includes a sensor (30) for sensing applied torque and angular position of the steering wheel (12) and a first electronic control unit (50) for generating a first signal corresponding to the sensed torque and angular position of the steering wheel. A second assembly (100) is operatively coupled to the steerable wheels. The second assembly (100) includes a second electronic control unit (110) for receiving the first signal, a first electric motor (120) controlled by the second electronic control unit, and a steering gear (130) which is actuated by the first electric motor (120) to turn the steerable wheels of the vehicle. A signal transmitting conductor (250) transmits the first signal to the second electronic control unit (110).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 29, 2001
    Date of Patent: August 2, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: William A. Szabela
  • Patent number: 6921107
    Abstract: An apparatus (10) for sensing the position of a vehicle seat (12) movable between a forward position and a rearward position includes a Hall effect device (80) and a magnet (82) that produces a magnetic field that acts on the Hall effect device. A member (100) is constructed of a ferromagnetic material and has a portion (110) positioned adjacent the magnet (82). The portion (110) has a size that is unique for every different position of the vehicle seat (12) between the forward and rearward positions. The portion (110) of the member (100) alters the flux path of the magnetic field which varies the portion of the magnetic field acting on the Hall effect device (80) to a degree that depends on the size of the portion. The Hall effect device (80) provides a signal functionally related to the magnitude of the magnetic field acting on the Hall effect device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 11, 2002
    Date of Patent: July 26, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Aaron M. Mills, David L. Becker
  • Patent number: 6914526
    Abstract: A vehicle intrusion detection system (10) for detecting an intrusion condition of a vehicle (12) having an occupant compartment (14) partially defined by an outer structure (30) of the vehicle, comprises an actuatable illuminator (40) mounted in the vehicle and having a limited field of illumination (52) extending within the vehicle occupant compartment adjacent the vehicle outer structure. A linear imager (60) mounted in the vehicle (12) has a field of view (62) that substantially coincides with the field of illumination (52) of the illuminator (40). A controller (70) compares a first image taken by the imager (60) when the illuminator (40) is actuated and a second image taken by the imager when the illuminator is unactuated to help determine the existence of an intrusion condition of the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 22, 2002
    Date of Patent: July 5, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Jon K. Wallace, Stephen R. W. Cooper, Nicholas M. Zayan, Farid Khairallah
  • Patent number: 6914523
    Abstract: An apparatus for sensing pressure in vehicle tires includes an interrogator (102) for providing a tire pressure interrogation signal, and a tire pressure monitor (70) for sensing pressure within a first tire (24) of the vehicle (20) and providing an actual tire pressure signal. A first wheel speed sensor (42) associated with the first tire (24) provides a reference wheel speed signal upon movement of the vehicle (20). A second wheel speed sensor (40) associated with a second tire (22) of the vehicle (20) provides a wheel speed signal upon movement of the vehicle. A controller (60) activates the interrogator (102), monitors the actual tire pressure signal, and correlates the reference wheel speed signal with the wheel speed signal from the second wheel speed sensor (40) for determining a tire pressure value of the second tire (22).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 30, 2002
    Date of Patent: July 5, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Carl A. Munch, Timothy DeZorzi
  • Patent number: 6908106
    Abstract: An inflator (22) for providing inflation fluid ( ) to inflate an inflatable vehicle occupant protection device (14) includes a container (30) storing the inflation fluid under pressure. The container (30) has an outlet passage (80) through which the inflation fluid flows from the container. A rupturable closure member (92) fixed to the container (30) blocks flow of inflation fluid through the passage (80). A support (100) for the rupturable closure member (92) defines a chamber (110) adjacent the rupturable closure member (92). The rupturable closure member (92) has a first portion (122) deformed into the chamber (110) by the pressure of the inflation fluid and a second ring-shaped portion (124) encircling the first portion (122). An initiator (98) ruptures the closure member (92) when actuated by shearing the first portion (122) from the second portion (124).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 18, 2002
    Date of Patent: June 21, 2005
    Assignees: TRW Inc., TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc.
    Inventors: Douglas P. Campbell, Ahmad K. Al-Amin, Timothy A. Swann, Roy D. Van Wynsberghe, Jess A. Cuevas, Dean M. Esterberg, Bryan W. Shirk
  • Patent number: 6904347
    Abstract: A vehicle occupant airbag deployment system (50) that detects, identifies and tracks a person (16) in the passenger seat (18) of a vehicle (12), and provides a signal for no fire, soft fire or hard fire of the airbag (20) depending on the location of the person (16) in a crash event. The airbag deployment system (50) employs infrared emitters (30) that emit an infrared signal towards the passenger seat (18) of the vehicle (12) and an infrared detector (34) that receive reflected radiation from objects in the seat (18). Processing circuitry (52), including face recognition software, is employed to detect human face features to provide the necessary detection and tracking of the person (16).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2000
    Date of Patent: June 7, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: John J. Berenz, George W. McIver, Gregory A. Shreve, Joseph W. Niesen, Barry Dunbridge
  • Patent number: 6902637
    Abstract: A process for preparing free-flowing, phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate comprises the following steps. A solution of ammonium nitrate (12), a surfactant (13), a phase stabilizer (26), and an inert liquid (20) is prepared. The solution is atomized to form a stream of droplets. The droplets are freeze-dried to form agglomerates (54) of crystals of phase stabilized ammonium nitrate. The crystals of phase stabilized ammonium nitrate in the agglomerates are coated with a film comprising the surfactant. The agglomerates are disintegrated into separated free-flowing phase stabilized ammonium nitrate in the agglomerates crystals coated with a film comprising the surfactant.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 23, 2001
    Date of Patent: June 7, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Harold R. Blomquist
  • Patent number: 6902195
    Abstract: A seat belt pretensioner mechanism (40) includes a part (36) for attachment to the seat belt (20). A strap (50) is connected to the part (36). A piston (78) and piston rod (58) are movable in a first direction to move the strap (50) and the part (36) to tension the seat belt (20). A pivot connection (59, 62) between the piston rod (58) and the strap (50) causes the strap to move with the piston rod. A cam (70) pivots the strap (50) about the pivot connection (59, 62) and effects movement of the part (36) toward the piston rod (58) as the piston (78) and the piston rod move in the first direction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 10, 2002
    Date of Patent: June 7, 2005
    Assignees: TRW Vehicle Safety Systems Inc., TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Keith R. Ball, Clare R. Cunningham, Robert P. Ellis
  • Patent number: 6889792
    Abstract: An electrically assisted power steering system includes an anti-theft feature. Upon detection of an event that is indicative of a vehicle theft situation, the drive circuit for the electric assist motor is selectively actuated to excite the motor windings to either prevent or oppose movement of the steering system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 1, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 10, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Abbas A. Fardoun, Joseph D. Miller, James C. Loria, Hemant Sardar
  • Patent number: 6889128
    Abstract: A system (10) for controlling an active vehicle suspension component (12) and a vehicle occupant protection device (14) includes a controller (70). The controller (70) is operatively connected to the active suspension component (12) of a vehicle (50) and the vehicle occupant protection device (14) of the vehicle. The system (10) also includes at least one sensor (72, 74, 76) for sensing acceleration of the vehicle (50) along at least one axis of the vehicle. The at least one sensor (72, 74, 76) is operatively connected to the controller (70) to provide at least one signal indicative of vehicle acceleration along the at least one axis to the controller. The controller (70) is operative to control the active suspension component (12) in response to the at least one signal. The controller (70) is also operative to control the vehicle occupant protection device (14) in response to the at least one signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 2001
    Date of Patent: May 3, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Albert W. DeBoni
  • Patent number: 6884991
    Abstract: Apparatus (10) includes a first data ring (72) rotatable with a member (24) and includes bit indicators (76) for indicating an absolute angular position of the member. Sensors (100, 102) read the bit indicators (76) of the first data ring (72) and provide a first signal indicative of the absolute angular position of the member (24). A second data ring (74) is rotatable with the member (24) and includes bit indicators (76) for indicating incremental changes in the angular position of the member. Sensors (104, 106) read the bit indicators (76) of the second data ring (74) and provide a second signal, having about twice the resolution of the first signal, indicative of incremental changes in angular position of the member (24). A processor (200) receives the first and second signals and calculates an absolute angular position of the member (24) having a resolution equal to the second resolution.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 10, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Daniel J. Durocher
  • Patent number: 6879252
    Abstract: An apparatus for associating tires with tire locations of a vehicle includes two sensors, each sensor having an associated tire. Each sensor transmits an associated sensor identification in response to receipt of an interrogation signal. The interrogation signal is provided so that the two sensors transmit at different rates. A controller is responsive to receipt of transmitted identification signals for associating each sensor with a tire location and thereby associating the tires with tire locations of the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 16, 2002
    Date of Patent: April 12, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Timothy DeZorzi, David G. E. Myatt
  • Patent number: 6876296
    Abstract: A system for providing the identification and tracking of motor vehicles that includes a probe device that transmits a radio frequency modulated signal to a transponder unit that is located within a vehicle registration tag of a vehicle. The transponder unit responds to the probe unit's request by transmitting its own radio frequency modulated signal containing any information requested by the probe device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 1, 2001
    Date of Patent: April 5, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Samuel Talmadge, Gregory A. Shreve, Katherine E. MacQueen
  • Patent number: 6875295
    Abstract: A gas generating material (140) for use in a vehicle occupant protection apparatus (10) comprises about 5% to about 20% by weight of the gas generating material, of a binder, 0 to about 50%, by weight of the gas generating material, of an energetic fuel, and an amount of oxidizer effective to oxygen balance the gas generating material. More than 50% by weight of the oxidizer is basic copper nitrate. The binder comprises at least about 20% by volume of the gas generating material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 27, 2001
    Date of Patent: April 5, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Harold R. Blomquist, Abdelkader M. Helmy, William P. Sampson, Michael G. Mangum
  • Patent number: 6863305
    Abstract: A steering column (10) includes a support (24), through which a steering column member (12) extends, connected with a mounting bracket (66). The support (24) supports the steering column member (12) for rotation about a longitudinal axis (26) of the steering column member. The support (24) is movable in a first direction extending transverse to the longitudinal axis (26) of the steering column member (12) relative to the mounting bracket (66). The support (24) is movable in a second direction extending transverse to the first direction and to the longitudinal axis (26) relative to the mounting bracket (66). The support (24) is also movable along the longitudinal axis (26) relative to the mounting bracket (66).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 20, 2002
    Date of Patent: March 8, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: James M. Hobaugh, II
  • Patent number: 6860208
    Abstract: An apparatus comprises a vehicle occupant protection device (14) and a gas generating material (18). The gas generating material (18), when ignited, produces a combustion gas that actuates the vehicle occupant protection device (14). The gas generating material (18) comprises a single-base nitrocellulose composition that includes greater than 2%, by weight of the single-base composition, stabilizer. The stabilizer is a urea of an aromatic amine.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 4, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 1, 2005
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventor: Harold R. Blomquist