Patents Represented by Attorney Laura C. Hargitt
  • Patent number: 7290822
    Abstract: An occupant seat is disclosed for a vehicle having a seat riser bracket and a floor with a footwell. The seat includes a seat bracket operatively connected to the vehicle floor and/or the seat riser bracket. A seat back is pivotally connected to the seat bracket, the seat back selectively rotatable between a seating configuration and a cargo configuration, the cargo configuration having the seat back substantially coplanar with the vehicle floor. A seat is cooperatively connected to the seat bracket and to the seat back, whereby when the seat back is rotated from the seating configuration to the cargo configuration, the seat is substantially simultaneously translated and rotated into a stowed configuration whereby the seat is at least partially within the footwell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 2005
    Date of Patent: November 6, 2007
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations, Inc.
    Inventor: Jean-Paul Villeminey
  • Patent number: 7242329
    Abstract: Methods, systems and data structures select prioritized robust data values from a plurality of available data values formed by a plurality of data bits, each capable of exhibiting a bit value. Available data values are arranged into a gray code format, and alternate values of gray code format are selected to form a value map. An optional complementary value map may also be formed from the remaining data values. The value map is then prioritized according to bit adjacencies, wherein bit adjacencies are defined by contiguous bits within one of the data values that exhibit a common bit value. Priority may be given to data values having shortest and/or fewest bit adjacencies.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 2005
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2007
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations, Inc.
    Inventor: Kerfegar K. Katrak
  • Patent number: 7239958
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus are provided for determining the intent of a driver of a motor vehicle in moving a trailer towed by the motor vehicle along a desired path. The method comprises the step of positioning a first reference point at a first location spaced apart from the motor vehicle and sequentially positioning a second reference point at a plurality of way points along the desired point. A signal relative to the motor vehicle, the first reference point, and the plurality of way points is transmitted as the second reference point is positioned at each of the way points. The transmitted signals corresponding to each of the way points are received and are used to determine the position of the plurality of way points relative to the motor vehicle by a process of triangulation. The position of the plurality of way points indicate positions along the desired path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 2003
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2007
    Assignee: General Motors Corporation
    Inventors: Paul A. Grougan, Thomas C. Zebehazy
  • Patent number: 7239946
    Abstract: A method for diagnosis of a vehicle includes monitoring a first plurality of distributed sensor signals input to a first control unit, monitoring a second plurality of distributed sensor signals input to a second control unit, determining a first diagnostic trouble code (first DTC) at a first instant of time, determining a second DTC at a second instant of time, storing a first dataset in a first storage media and storing the second DTC in the first dataset. The second instant of time is within a predetermined time of the first instant of time. The first dataset corresponds to the first instant in time, and the stored first dataset is transferred to a remote fault-diagnostic module at a later instant of time. The first dataset includes the first DTC, a predetermined first group of sensor signals associated with either the first or second control unit, and the second DTC.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 2004
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2007
    Assignee: General Motors Corporation
    Inventor: Michael A. Sowa
  • Patent number: 7234888
    Abstract: An item such as a passenger assist handle is anchored to an automotive framing component by a mounting stud passing through a hole in the framing component. The mounting stud includes a shaft with a helix at a first end and a threaded portion at a second end. The helix and threaded portion are of opposite hands and the threaded portion receives a stop nut thereon. The automotive framing component has a teardrop shaped opening therethrough having a first diameter substantially equal to the diameter of the shaft and a second diameter substantially equal to the radius of the helix. Upon threading the nut onto the shaft, while the stud is held initially stationary by frictional engagement between its surface and surfaces of the framing component adjacent to the teardrop shaped opening, the stop nut bottoms against a shoulder on the shaft and then begins rotating the shaft to drive the helix through the teardrop shaped opening.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 2004
    Date of Patent: June 26, 2007
    Assignee: General Motors Corporation
    Inventors: James R. Spaulding, Todd E. Durocher, Bernard W. Stone, Michael J. Kelley
  • Patent number: 7234451
    Abstract: A dual fuel pump fuel extraction system for saddle fuel tanks. A primary modular reservoir assembly (MRA) includes an electric primary fuel pump located in the primary sump of a saddle fuel tank and a secondary MRA including an electric secondary fuel pump located in the secondary sump of the saddle fuel tank, wherein both the primary and secondary fuel pumps extract fuel from the primary sump and simultaneously transfer fuel between the primary and secondary sumps so as to thereby ensure both the primary and secondary fuel pumps have fuel, without starving one before the other, until fuel becomes depleted from the saddle fuel tank.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 27, 2005
    Date of Patent: June 26, 2007
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations, Inc.
    Inventors: Gerard G. Betz, II, Robert Halsall, Richard H. Krentz, Vincent J. Marsala, Philip A. Yaccarino
  • Patent number: 7233855
    Abstract: A fuel savings informational system is provided for implementation on an alternative fuel vehicle the operation of which may be characterized by a first plurality of fixed parameters and a second plurality of variable parameters. The system compares the fuel consumption of the alternative fuel vehicle to that of a virtual comparison vehicle characterized by a third plurality of fixed parameters, and comprises a plurality of sensors for monitoring the second plurality and a processor coupled thereto. The processor is configured to recall the first and third pluralities, capture data corresponding to the second plurality, and determine the fuel consumption of the alternative fuel vehicle from the second plurality. The processor is further configured to estimate the fuel consumption of the comparison vehicle from the first, second, and third pluralities, and compare the fuel consumption of the alternative fuel vehicle to the estimated fuel consumption of the comparison vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 8, 2005
    Date of Patent: June 19, 2007
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations, Inc.
    Inventors: Kevin S. Kidston, Richard A. Marsh, Paul E. Reinke, Jonathan R. Schwarz, Carlene M. Sienkiewicz
  • Patent number: 7229113
    Abstract: A structural assembly for a vehicle and method of making same includes a hydroformed tubular member extending axially, a reinforcement disposed within and generally perpendicular to an axis of the tubular member, and at least one securement to secure the reinforcement to the tubular member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 2004
    Date of Patent: June 12, 2007
    Assignee: General Motors Corporation
    Inventors: Joseph M. Lendway, IV, Charles J. Bruggemann, David A. Gatny
  • Patent number: 7226107
    Abstract: The sunvisor attachment apparatus of the present invention includes a mounting bezel configured to retain a sunvisor sub-assembly. The mounting bezel includes an alignment protrusion adapted to align the mounting bezel relative to the vehicle. The alignment protrusion includes a mounting clip configured to temporarily retain the mounting bezel to the vehicle. The mounting bezel also includes an attachment boss positioned to align with a complementary attachment feature of the vehicle when the mounting bezel is aligned with the vehicle. The sunvisor attachment apparatus also includes a fastener configured to more permanently attach the mounting bezel to the vehicle. Advantageously, the temporary retention of the mounting bezel to the vehicle allows the fastener to be driven to more permanently attach the mounting bezel to the vehicle in a simplified hands-free manner.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 30, 2005
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2007
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations, Inc.
    Inventors: Daniel J. Wheeler, Gregory J. Vargo
  • Patent number: 7225702
    Abstract: A cable end fitting retainer assembly for a vehicle includes a conduit end fitting for connection to a flexible cable. The cable end fitting retainer assembly also includes an end fitting retainer arm extending from the conduit end fitting for retaining a portion of the flexible cable in a predetermined position. The cable end fitting retainer assembly further includes a cable wire support extending from the conduit end fitting and located beneath the end fitting retainer arm to contact the cable.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 2003
    Date of Patent: June 5, 2007
    Assignee: General Motors Corporation
    Inventors: Joseph Patrick Fannon, Terrence P. Costigan
  • Patent number: 7219539
    Abstract: A flex fuel vehicle mileage range calculating system and method as described herein can effectively be utilized to calculate the mileage range value corresponding to a fuel mixture. The system is suitable for use in all vehicles capable of using various fuel mixtures. The system can calculate a scale factor, update the mileage range value based on the scale factor and, display the updated mileage range value on an on-board display element to correspond to the fuel mixture in the fuel tank.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 6, 2006
    Date of Patent: May 22, 2007
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations, Inc.
    Inventor: Paul A. Bauerle
  • Patent number: 7222006
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus are provided for determining the duration a motor vehicle engine may operate while operator authorization is verified in response to an ignition request. In one embodiment the method includes the steps of decrementing a pre-authorization timer from a first predetermined time limit and a maximum authorization timer from a second predetermined time limit in response to the ignition request. Also upon receipt of the ignition request an authorization process is initiated. Decrementing of the pre-authorization timer is halted in response to active operation of the starter motor of the motor vehicle, and operation of the motor vehicle is inhibited if either the pre-authorization timer or the maximum authorization timer decrements to zero before completion of the authorization operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 13, 2004
    Date of Patent: May 22, 2007
    Assignee: General Motors Corporation
    Inventors: David T. Proefke, Thomas M. Forest, Thomas W. Pfeffer
  • Patent number: 7216924
    Abstract: An automotive vehicle comprises a frame having a pair of side rails interconnected by a plurality of cross members. A rocker panel substantially parallel to and spaced from each side rail creates a gap. An energy transfer member seats within the gap for transferring energy between the rocker panel and the side rail in a side impact event. The energy transfer member is sufficiently stronger than the side rail such that impact energy deforms the rocker panel and travels through the energy transfer member to deform the side rail prior to any deformation of the energy transfer member, thereby maintaining the gap to reduce side structure intrusion into an occupant compartment. An accelerometer mounted within the vehicle inboard of the side rails senses vehicle frame acceleration, and activates a vehicle airbag system as necessary.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 21, 2004
    Date of Patent: May 15, 2007
    Assignee: General Motors Corporation
    Inventors: Haoming Li, Bryan J. Gilpin
  • Patent number: 7216904
    Abstract: An impact energy management system comprises at least a portion of vehicle structure with an impact energizable structure attached thereto. The impact energizable structure receives impact energy from an obstacle and transfers the impact energy to the vehicle structure, and has a reconfigurable engagement area extending generally vertically with respect to the vehicle structure. The impact energizable structure is reconfigurable from a first position to a second position to increase the engagement area in response to an impact between the impact energizable structure and the obstacle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 2005
    Date of Patent: May 15, 2007
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations, Inc.
    Inventor: Scott D. Thomas
  • Patent number: 7216916
    Abstract: A removable flipper panel system for a vehicle includes a rod housing mounted on a seat support member which is movable with respect to a load floor of the vehicle. A load bearing blow-molded hard panel hides the gap which is formed between seat and load floor when the seat moves. The system includes a rod and spring assembly mechanism having a configuration to sustain the panel in adjustable positions between a generally planar position and an upright position. The flipper panel attaches to the seat to provide movement for the panel in the planar position to hide the gap and space between the seat and the load floor and to maximize the cargo area. The attachment of the flipper panel to the seat has a locking feature permitting the flipper panel to be removed easily.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 6, 2004
    Date of Patent: May 15, 2007
    Assignees: General Motors Corporation, ABC Group, Inc.
    Inventors: Kenneth J. Czerwinski, Seyed R. Hashemizad, James Axiotis, Mosen Sepasi
  • Patent number: 7204113
    Abstract: A punch for a hydroforming die includes a body, a neck extending axially from the body, a head extending axially from the neck and having a diameter less than a diameter of the body and a thumbnail slot extending axially and radially into the head to allow fluid within a tubular member to force a wall portion of the tubular member outward into the slot of the punch and be sheared by the punch to produce an opening in the tubular member.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 2006
    Date of Patent: April 17, 2007
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations, Inc.
    Inventors: Mike M. Ghiran, Susan Ng
  • Patent number: 7201427
    Abstract: A sun visor assembly, wherein the sun visor thereof includes a vanity mirror and vanity lighting, wherein the functionally thereof is characterized by the sun visor being pivotal, rotatable and axially slidable relative to its mounting, wherein a slide mechanism supplies electrical power to the vanity lighting at all slide positions, and wherein power delivery is mechanically dependable and electrically reliable via an electrical slide component of the slide mechanism. Additionally the sun visor assembly according to the present invention optionally includes selectively illuminable, integrated reading lights at a bottom periphery thereof.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 23, 2006
    Date of Patent: April 10, 2007
    Assignee: General Motors Corporation
    Inventors: Jianhua Wang, George F. Lambert, Gregory J. Vargo
  • Patent number: 7201420
    Abstract: A display unit for a motor vehicle comprises a screen and a guide member defining an arced track. The screen is movable with respect to the arced track between a retracted position, wherein the screen rests at a first angle with respect to vertical, and an extended position, wherein the screen extends upward and rests at a second angle with respect to vertical.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 23, 2004
    Date of Patent: April 10, 2007
    Assignee: General Motors Corporation
    Inventor: Rudy M. Vican
  • Patent number: 7195095
    Abstract: A shifter face plate assembly and method for an automatic transmission having a shifter rod in an opening of a floor console which includes an intermediary plate and top face plate. The intermediary plate supports the top plate and floats horizontally laterally to obtain the proper sidewise position of the top plate with respect to the console opening. The top plate floats horizontally longitudinally to obtain the proper lengthwise position of the top plate with respect to the console opening. An eccentric cone on the shifter rod is movable to accommodate any offset of the shifter rod relative to its slot in the top plate after the proper position of the top plate in the console opening is obtained.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 27, 2004
    Date of Patent: March 27, 2007
    Assignee: General Motors Corporation
    Inventor: Adrian Oana
  • Patent number: 7197422
    Abstract: A tire pressure monitoring system as described herein leverages a real-time onboard vehicle mass estimate to determine whether tire pressure is appropriate for the current loading conditions. The system is suitable for use with vehicles having two or more placard tire pressures (with two or more corresponding tire loading capacities). The system can notify the driver to adjust the tire pressure to the proper placard tire pressure for the given load conditions, and/or initiate automatic inflation or deflation by an onboard tire inflation system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 2005
    Date of Patent: March 27, 2007
    Assignee: GM Global Technology Operations, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael C. Gaunt, Thomas C. Zebehazy