LIVONIA, MI — TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. announced that its Kelsey-Hayes Co. subsidiary plans to build a vehicle development test track slated to begin operation as early as fall 2006 in Locke Township, MI. The proposed facility won approval by the Locke Township Planning Commission at its meeting on July 25.
Located on 262 acres of land near the Michigan state capital of Lansing, the new center’s primary purpose will be the development of active safety systems for the company’s braking, steering and suspension products. The facility will be situated less than 10 miles from TRW’s manufacturing facility in Fowlerville, MI.
“Advancing the state of active safety technologies such as electronic stability control, anti-lock braking and traction control is a high priority for TRW as the global leader in automotive safety systems,” said John Plant, president and CEO of TRW Automotive. “In pursuit of that goal, we are pleased to announce the first phase of building a world-class test track that will support the development and validation of a wide range of active safety products.”
Initial work at the new test facility will concentrate on the construction of a skid pad, which will rank among the world’s largest low-friction tiled surface areas for all-weather testing of advanced brake control systems. This phase of construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2006 or early in 2007. Later phases will add a vehicle dynamics area, traction control grades and a high-banked oval.
The TRW Automotive Vehicle Development Center will be a commuter track with no permanent employees in its earliest phases but is expected eventually to employ more than a dozen full-time engineers and track technicians. The track will support staged testing of up to 24 vehicles in dynamic maneuvers with additional capacity for staging and testing of an estimated 200-vehicle fleet.
“TRW looks forward to being a significant contributor to the local economy in Locke Township and in the surrounding area,” said Josef Pickenhahn, vice president of braking engineering for TRW. “The test track has been carefully planned to have minimal impact on the environment and will not require added infrastructure such as new or expanded roadways. The facility will also include high berms and fencing to minimize noise and ensure safety and security.”
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