3/22/2012 | 2 MINUTE READ

On Electronics

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In-vehicle wireless charging system; scalable ACUs; lithium-ion battery tech.


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Leave Your Power Cords at Home

Visteon (visteon.com) has developed an in-vehicle wireless charging system that will eliminate the need for multiple power cords to charge electronic devices. The technology provides a convenient way to ensure portable electronics equipped with compatible inductive charging receivers are ready for use when they are needed. To charge, the user places the electronic device directly on the charging mat and power is transferred at a rate comparable to a plug-in power cord. While direct contact isn’t required for charging (the device can be a couple of millimeters away from the mat and still charge), it is recommended that the device is in direct contact for optimal results.

One drawback to the system is that many current electronic devices aren’t compatible with the mat, however a receiver (in sleeve format) can be added to a device so it can be used with the charger. The company says it is working with an OEM to get the technology in vehicles in 2013.


Visteon’s charging mat delivers power to electronic devices without the use of power cords.


Scalable ACUs for Global Markets

TRW Automotive (trw.com) is developing a scalable airbag control unit (ACU) for low-cost vehicle and emerging global markets. The second-generation ACU offers two options: standard and enhanced. Standard is configured for cost-effective frontal crash protection with one to four squib outputs and no satellite interfaces. It can be upgraded for use in an enhanced safety system. Enhanced is capable of supporting up to 12 squibs and four satellite interfaces to provide front- and side-impact detection and protection. It is designed to meet European and North American safety requirements.

Ed Carpenter, vice president, TRW Electronics, says that the technology will help ensure that more vehicles can be equipped with advanced safety equipment: “Our second-generation scalable ACU offers emerging market OEMs the opportunity to fit their vehicles with advanced safety equipment, and the new units will include the option to integrate the inertial measurement unit (IMU) into the ACU to sense vehicle yaw, a key technology for the growing electronic stability control (ESC) market.”

The scalable ACUs use a standardized mechanical design, including the connector—reducing tooling and engineering costs, and design complexity. The technology is expected to be ready for production by 2014.


The TRW scalable airbag control unit (ACU) provides a cost-effective option for safety equipment in global markets.


3M Invests in Lithium-ion Battery Tech

According to 3M (3M.com), silicon-based lithium-ion battery anode compositions, for which it recently received a patent, can increase cell capacity by over 40% when matched with high-energy battery cathodes. 3M, you may be surprised to learn, has been working on li-ion batteries since the 1990s. It is focused on the development of cathodes, anodes, and battery electrolyte additives. Beyond research in the silicon anode space, it has completed phase one of its silicon anode manufacturing capacity expansions at a plant in Cottage Grove, MN, including the installation of large-scale manufacturing equipment.


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