Zero-initiator approach lowers costs for tire pressure monitoring system

March 16, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
TRW Automotive has developed a zero initiator tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). The specific design principle makes the device very cost-effective.

According to the company, the zero initiator system reduces part count and complexity while delivering the performance of a direct tire pressure monitoring system. At the same time, it offers the capability to automatically identify which tire or tires are under inflated and pose a potential safety risk.

Like current direct TPMS systems, the technology includes four wheel mounted sensors to directly monitor the individual tire pressure levels, but eliminates the need for the electronic initiators previously required to locate the sensor positions. The receiver is typically mounted under the rear of the vehicle or in the rear bumper area, and can determine front and rear sensor locations by comparing the received signal strengths. Left and right side sensor locations are determined by sensing and processing the earth's gravitational and magnetic fields. Thus, by combining the front/rear and left/right information, the system can determine which tire is underinflated without the need for any initiators.

TRW's zero initiator TPMS system started mass production already in late 2010 and is being evaluated by a number of global manufacturers. Additional vehicles will launch in 2011 equipped with this state-of-the-art technology.

More information is available at