Rear View Mirror with Facet Containing Selective Acceptance Layer
A rear view minor assembly is disclosed in which the minor has a viewing section and an alignment section meeting to form a reflex angle. The alignment section is etched with a targeting image: a cross-hair or the side surface of the vehicle. When the targeting image is aligned with appropriate feature on the side of the vehicle, the reflex angle is such that the minor is properly aligned. Also disclosed is a mirror assembly having viewing section and an alignment section with a clear protective outer layer a selective acceptance layer below the clear protective outer layer, and a colored substrate below the selective layer. When the vehicle operator can see the colored substrate through the selective acceptance layer, which transmits only normal light, the minor is properly aligned.
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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application is a divisional of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/823,742 filed Jun. 25, 2010, which is a divisional of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/259,713 filed Oct. 28, 2008, now abandoned, both of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
The present development relates to a rear view minor that facilitates properly aligning the minor.
Minor systems are provided on automotive vehicles to aid the operator of the vehicle in viewing other vehicles while merging, lane changing, turning, reversing, etc. Mirrors can provide a view of the vehicles and objects in the vicinity of the operator's vehicle. However, the effectiveness of that view depends on proper alignment of the minors. It is known in the art, through customer interviews, car clinics, and survey comments that many vehicle operators do not align their mirrors in an orientation which provides the most information to the operator.
In particular, it is common for drivers to position their exterior side minors so that they can see the edge of their own vehicle. As illustrated in
Properly adjusted exterior minors 12 and 14 are illustrated in
One of the advantages of adjusting the minors so that viewing region 16 includes a portion of vehicle 10 is shown in
To partially overcome maladjustment of the minors by many vehicle operators, some manufacturers provide the vehicle with larger mirrors than would otherwise be required if the mirrors were properly adjusted. Larger mirrors increase weight and aerodynamic drag to the vehicle, both of which penalize fuel economy. Also, the farther the mirrors extend from the vehicle, the greater the likelihood that the vehicle will clip an object in tight conditions such as entering a narrow garage opening or when moving the car close to a booth for collecting a parking ticket or paying a toll.
A rear view minor assembly is disclosed which has a minor coupled to an angle adjusting mechanism. The mirror has a viewing section and an alignment section which meet to form a reflex angle. The alignment section is etched with a targeting image. In one embodiment, the target image is a cross-hair. In another embodiment the image is an outline of the side surface of the vehicle. Typically, the viewing section, the viewing section, is larger than the alignment section, the targeting section. In one example the viewing section exceeds the alignment section by more than a factor of five in cross-sectional area. In one embodiment, the viewing and alignment sections are uninterrupted, but abutting each other, with the line of abutment being generally vertical.
The reflex angle is selected so that the target image of the outline lines up with the side surface of the vehicle from the viewpoint of the vehicle. The viewing section as viewed by the operator provides a desired image which excludes all parts of the vehicle. In one embodiment, the alignment section has lower reflectivity than the viewing section.
Also disclosed is a rear view mirror assembly in which a minor is coupled to an angle adjusting mechanism. The minor has a viewing section abutting an alignment section. The two are aligned with respect to other such that an imaginary, infinite plane of the viewing section and an imaginary, infinite plane of the alignment section intersect form an obtuse angle. The viewing section is more than 10 times larger in surface area than the alignment section. The abutting interface is generally vertical, i.e., more vertical then horizontal in orientation. The minor assembly is coupled to a side of an automotive vehicle with the alignment section proximate the vehicle. The alignment section may have a lower reflectivity than the viewing section. The alignment section is etched with a feature which an operator of the vehicle aligns with a feature of the vehicle to ensure proper minor adjustment.
In an alternative embodiment, the alignment section has a selective acceptance layer below the clear protective outer layer, and a colored substrate below the selective layer. The selective acceptance layer transmits light rays which are normal to its surface and absorbs non-normal light rays. The obtuse angle is selected so that when the alignment surface is aligned to allow an operator of the vehicle to observe the colored substrate, the viewing section as viewed by the operator provides an image which excludes all parts of the vehicle. The alignment surface is embedded in the viewing surface so that the two top surfaces are flush with each other, or, alternatively, the alignment surface may be applied to the surface of the viewing surface.
One embodiment includes a minor assembly for a vehicle having an adjustable mounting structure and a mirror having a viewing section and an alignment section. The alignment section has a visual alignment feature that may be viewed to confirm that the viewing section is properly aligned with the adjustable mounting structure.
Also disclosed is a method for providing a minor assembly for an automotive vehicle. A mirror frame is installed on an outside surface of the vehicle. A mirror adjustment mechanism is installed to the mirror frame. The minor frame has a mirror mounted in which the mirror has a flat surface with a facet, the facet having an alignment feature to indicate when the mirror is properly aligned.
More drivers will be able to adjust minors properly if an affirmative method is provided for determining when the rear view minor is properly adjusted. Properly adjusted minors afford the driver an improved view of the objects in the vehicle's vicinity which reduces or eliminates blind spots.
The cross-sectional area of the mirror may be minimized if the manufacturer can be confident that drivers properly adjust the minors. In some cases, manufacturers place larger mirrors on vehicles than strictly necessary, to overcome the problem of maladjusted mirrors giving inappropriate views. With assurance that the viewing angle is adjusted properly, manufacturers would not need to compensate for maladjusted mirrors. The benefits of smaller mirrors are improved fuel economy by reducing the area of cross-section of the vehicle with respect to the direction of travel. Also, rear view minors can be a source of wind noise, which would be lessened with smaller mirrors. Finally, mirrors are known to be clipped by encounters with fixed or moving objects. Examples of fixed objects are mail boxes, garage door openings, toll booths, and telephone poles. Any decrease in the size of the mirror can reduce the overall width of the vehicle, which allows for access to tighter places and a reduced chance of hitting the minor with another object.
Customer satisfaction may be enhanced because a foolproof method is provided for properly adjusting the mirrors.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Cross-hair 40 and targeting outline 42 of the outline of vehicle 10 are etched into the glass surface, in one embodiment. However, cross-hair 40 or targeting outline 42 could also be painted or marked on or within the glass in any known manner, in other embodiments.
Another way to define the angle is shown in
While particular embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, numerous variations and alternate embodiments will occur to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended that the invention be limited only by the appended claims.
As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention that may be embodied in various and alternative forms. The figures are not necessarily to scale; some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show details of particular components. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention.
While exemplary embodiments are described above, it is not intended that these embodiments describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Additionally, the features of various implementing embodiments may be combined to form further embodiments of the invention.
1. A mirror for a vehicle, comprising:
- a viewing section; and
- an alignment section proximate the viewing section and comprising a selective acceptance layer transmitting light generally parallel with an axis and absorbing light non-parallel with the axis.
2. The mirror of claim 1 wherein the alignment section further comprises a colored layer disposed below the selective acceptance layer which reflects light transmitted by the selective acceptance layer.
3. The mirror of claim 2 wherein the axis is aligned relative to a surface of the viewing section so that a driver is able to see the opaque substrate only when the mirror is properly aligned.
4. The mirror of claim 1 wherein the alignment section further comprises a clear protective layer over the selective acceptance layer.
5. The mirror of claim 1 wherein the axis is normal to a surface of the selective acceptance layer.
6. The mirror of claim 1 wherein the alignment section is inset relative to a periphery of the viewing section.
7. The mirror of claim 1 wherein the alignment section is adjacent to a periphery of the viewing section.
8. A mirror system for a vehicle, comprising:
- a mirror; and
- a facet proximate the mirror and comprising a selective acceptance layer transmitting only light rays parallel with an axis, and an opaque substrate disposed below the selective acceptance layer.
9. The mirror system of claim 8 wherein the opaque substrate comprises a colored layer.
10. The mirror system of claim 8 wherein the axis is normal to a surface of the selective acceptance layer.
11. The mirror system of claim 8 further comprising a clear protective layer over the selective acceptance layer.
12. The mirror system of claim 8 wherein the facet is coupled to a surface of the mirror.
13. The mirror system of claim 8 wherein the facet is inset relative to a periphery of a surface of the mirror.
14. The mirror system of claim 8 wherein the facet is adjacent to a periphery of a surface of the mirror.
15. The mirror system of claim 8 wherein the axis is aligned relative to a surface of the mirror so that a driver is able to see the opaque substrate only when the mirror is properly aligned.
16. The mirror system of claim 8 wherein a vector normal to a surface of the mirror and the axis form an acute angle.
17. The mirror system of claim 16 wherein the acute angle is in a range of 5-45 degrees.
18. The mirror system of claim 8 further comprising an angle adjusting mechanism for mounting the mirror to the vehicle.
19. A mirror system for a vehicle, comprising:
- a mirror;
- a facet proximate to the mirror comprises a selective acceptance layer that reflects light in a cone of acceptance about an axis;
- an opaque substrate disposed below the selective acceptance layer and reflecting light transmitted by the selective acceptance layer; and
- an angle adjusting mechanism for mounting the mirror to the vehicle.
International Classification: G02B 5/08 (20060101);