Eaton VORAD, Hitachi form research and marketing alliance

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Eaton VORAD subsidiary of Eaton Corp. has signed an agreement with Hitachi Ltd. of Tokyo to speed development of electronics technology for vehicle collision warning products and to market the systems overseas.

Eaton VORAD currently sells the only commercially available collision warning system to the North American heavy-truck market. Hitachi develops milliwave radar systems for intelligent transportation systems and the microchips that control them.

The two companies will jointly develop micro-electronics for a next-generation automotive adaptive cruise control system, said Eaton VORAD president Christopher L. Royan.

“This agreement has the potential to permit a significant leap forward in the development of collision warning systems for trucks and automobiles,” Royan said. “The combination of Eaton VORAD’s proven over the road system, combined with Hitachi’s ongoing development of radar-based micro-electronics, will speed the day when we see some form of collision warning system on the family car.”

Eaton VORAD introduced the first commercially available collision-warning product for the North American heavy-truck market in 1994. It uses on-board radar to alert drivers to hazards that cause accidents, such as vehicles that are stopped or slow-moving, following too closely, or positioned in a driver’s “blind spot.” The system can “see” through fog, dust, rain, or snow.

In June 1998, the company began production of a monopulse radar system with adaptive cruise control for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The new radar system can track up to 20 vehicles at one time, even those traveling in adjacent lanes. It is also capable of tracking vehicles around curves, and with enhanced side sensors can detect vehicles in the driver’s “blind spot.” The cruise control feature automatically slows down or speeds up the vehicle, based on traffic conditions.

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