Parking brakes are often overlooked, less-than-glamorous parts of most cars. After all, most of us live in areas that hardly justify their use, especially on automatic transmission cars. But pressure in the industry to drive prices ever-downward means no part can be overlooked when it comes to simplification and cost-reduction. This new electric parking brake from TRW achieves both goals, and improves performance too.

The new system requires fewer parts and therefore less assembly, which means quicker installation. It integrates neatly into the hat portion of a standard disc brake assembly, and is called a 'drum-in-hat' parking brake. Because it is electric, TRW calls it the eDIH system. Aside from its simple production and installation and lower cost, the new brake is also supposed to be easier to use, reports AutomobilWoche.

Very large parking brakes require a great deal of force to activate if they are manually operated. Electric parking brakes on the other hand can operate any size of brake with the same input from the user - a simple push of a button. Also, the system can be integrated into security systems and can be triggered if anyone attempts unauthorized use of the vehicle.

The brake is designed to be used on vehicles up to 8.6 metric tonnes (18,900lbs) curb weight, and will begin production in 2011.