Surface Effect Vehicles (i.e., Ground Effect Machines) Patents (Class 180/116)
  • Patent number: 10717445
    Abstract: System, methods, and other embodiments described herein relate to end-user modification of the driving behavior of a vehicle when operating in an autonomous driving mode. One embodiment stores disengagement data associated with an autonomous driving mode of the vehicle; outputs, to an end user from the stored disengagement data, a report of a disengagement that occurred along a particular route identified by the end user due to incorrect identification, by a sensor system of the vehicle, of an object; receiving, from the end user, a corrective input that includes labeling the object; and modifying automatically one or more autonomous driving modules of the vehicle in accordance with the corrective input to prevent future disengagements when the vehicle is traveling along the particular route in the autonomous driving mode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 26, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 21, 2020
    Assignee: Toyota Research Institute, Inc.
    Inventors: Nikolaos Michalakis, Julian M. Mason
  • Patent number: 10561556
    Abstract: A valve for an inflatable device includes a pocket configured to be located in a cavity of the inflatable device. The pocket includes an entrance opening to receive air from an air source and an exit opening to deliver air to the cavity. The exit opening is spaced apart from the entrance opening, such that airflow passes through the valve by flowing from the entrance opening, through the pocket, and out through the exit opening to enter the cavity. The pocket may include a second exit opening spaced from the entrance opening and the exit opening, and may include a first branch and a second branch extending away from each other, and wherein the exit opening is located on the first branch and the second exit opening is located on the second branch.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 31, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 18, 2020
    Assignee: Sage Products, LLC
    Inventors: Michael J. Rigoni, Paul M. Fowler
  • Patent number: 10515490
    Abstract: A method for determining whether a motor vehicle is instantaneously driven manually or automatically, the motor vehicle being operable in a first operating mode in which the motor vehicle may be driven manually, and operable in a second operating mode in which the motor vehicle may be driven automatically. The method includes checking whether minimum conditions are met. If the change instruction specifies that a change is to be made from the first into the second operating mode, determining that the motor vehicle is instantaneously driven automatically when all minimum conditions are met, and otherwise, determining that the motor vehicle is instantaneously driven manually. If the change instruction specifies that a change is to be made from the second into the first operating mode, determining that the motor vehicle is instantaneously driven manually when all minimum conditions are met, and otherwise, determining that the motor vehicle is instantaneously driven automatically.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 1, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 24, 2019
    Assignee: Robert Bosch GmbH
    Inventor: Stefan Nordbruch
  • Patent number: 10495456
    Abstract: A device designed for the three-dimensional geometrical detection of an environment includes at least one inertial measurement system for provisionally calculating a trajectory of the detection device. The device is calibrated by steps of: (a) positioning and/or orienting the detection device in a position and/or orientation with respect to at least one reference point characterized by at least one predefined relative coordinate, or determining at least one relative coordinate which characterizes the position and/or the orientation of the detection device relative to at least one reference point; (b) determining at least one error variable which characterizes the deviation of the relative coordinate in accordance with step (a) from the relative coordinate(s) provisionally calculated by the inertial measurement system; and (c) if the error variable fulfills a predefined correction criterion, correcting the provisional trajectory.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2014
    Date of Patent: December 3, 2019
    Inventors: Harald Vennegeerts, Christian Hesse, Erwin A. Frei
  • Patent number: 10334050
    Abstract: Various embodiments relate generally to autonomous vehicles and associated mechanical, electrical and electronic hardware, computer software and systems, and wired and wireless network communications to provide an autonomous vehicle fleet as a service. In particular, a method may include identifying a location of a user device associated with a user, transmitting a command to an autonomous vehicle system associated with an autonomous vehicle service to transit to the location, and providing information associated with the user device to the autonomous vehicle system, where the information includes configuration data to adapt one or more sub-systems of the autonomous vehicle. Sub-systems of the autonomous vehicle may include interior lighting, ambient sound, road handling, seating configuration, communication synchronization, and temperature control systems.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 5, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 25, 2019
    Assignee: Zoox, Inc.
    Inventors: Timothy David Kentley-Klay, Rachad Youssef Gamara
  • Patent number: 10325504
    Abstract: A system and method for the real-time optimization of aircraft fuel economy includes sensors to monitor in-flight performance characteristics, to monitor the status of aircraft control elements during flight, to monitor fuel consumption, and to identify aircraft position information during flight. A processor is coupled to receive information from the sensors. During flight, the processor calculates a current performance level by entering the received information into a predetermined flight model. The processor then determines, based on a comparison of the calculated current performance level with a predetermined expected performance level, a current level of fuel efficiency. Next, the processor determines any parameter changes for improving fuel efficiency. Finally, the processor causes the determined parameter changes to be displayed on a flight deck display. The flight crew may then selectively implement one or more of the determined parameter changes via the flight deck display.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2019
    Inventors: Oliver C. Meier, Roy A. Eggink, Kristoffer R. Jonson
  • Patent number: 10293954
    Abstract: A sensor system runs real-time software on the processor to receive and log temperature and humidity data from the sensors. A processor processes the data, reformats, if necessary, the data packaged with GPS information provided by the centralized sensor control system, transmits the packaged data (including error checking) to a designated receiver, and provides a diagnostic interface for displaying logged data and status information. This data is time stamped and transmitted to the centralized sensor control system across the external control/data interface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 7, 2018
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2019
    Assignee: Blue Storm Associates, Inc.
    Inventors: Mary Lockhart, Thomas H. Wallace, Randy Brumbaugh, Malcolm Robbie, Brian Patterson, Donna Blake, Andreas Goroch
  • Patent number: 10254773
    Abstract: Devices, systems, and related methods for balancing two or more pieces of independently rotating (e.g., not synchrophased) machinery are provided. In some aspects, the devices, systems, and methods can provide improved balancing techniques and can include providing a controller configured to simultaneously measure/receive vibration data and control balancers, one balancer at a time. In some aspects, the controller can calculate a beating cycle or a beating period using vibration data received from multiple rotating machines. In some aspects, a balance correction command can be derived in part from either one of: (a) an interpolation of an average vibration of the first rotating machine from a complex vibration of the multiple rotating machines or (b) an average vibration derived from one or more rules applied based upon the duration of the beating period or the beating cycle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 25, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 9, 2019
    Assignee: LORD Corporation
    Inventors: Wayne L. Winzenz, Douglas G. Pedersen, Stephen F. Hildebrand
  • Patent number: 10241508
    Abstract: Example systems and methods enable an autonomous vehicle to request assistance from a remote operator in certain predetermined situations. One example method includes determining a representation of an environment of an autonomous vehicle based on sensor data of the environment. Based on the representation, the method may also include identifying a situation from a predetermined set of situations for which the autonomous vehicle will request remote assistance. The method may further include sending a request for assistance to a remote assistor, the request including the representation of the environment and the identified situation. The method may additionally include receiving a response from the remote assistor indicating an autonomous operation. The method may also include causing the autonomous vehicle to perform the autonomous operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 9, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 26, 2019
    Assignee: Waymo LLC
    Inventors: Nathaniel Fairfield, Joshua Seth Herbach, Vadim Furman
  • Fan
    Patent number: 10161420
    Abstract: A fan, including a volute, a motor, and multiple fan blades that are assembled on a rotor of the motor, where the volute includes a side wall that is disposed around circumference of the multiple fan blades, and a support frame that is connected to an end of the side wall and located on an inner side of the side wall; and the rotor of the motor drives the multiple fan blades to rotate, where multiple through-holes are disposed on the side wall of the volute, and at least more than one of the multiple through-holes is a slant through-hole.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 11, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 25, 2018
    Inventors: Lei Bai, Lexiong Peng, Dong Wang
  • Patent number: 10157478
    Abstract: The disclosed embodiments provide a system that facilitates use of an image. During operation, the system uses a set of images from a camera on a device to obtain a set of features in proximity to the device, wherein the set of images comprises the image. Next, the system uses the set of images and inertial data from one or more inertial sensors on the device to obtain a set of three-dimensional (3D) locations of the features. Finally, the system enables use of the set of 3D locations with the image.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 18, 2018
    Assignee: Intel Corporation
    Inventors: Eagle Sunrise Jones, Benjamin J. Hirashima, Jordan H. Miller
  • Patent number: 10155507
    Abstract: A levitation device includes a body having a top surface and a bottom surface positioned opposite the top surface, an air reservoir configured to contain a predetermined volume of compressed air, and a thrust arrangement including a flow conduit having a primary inlet, a secondary inlet, and an outlet, with the outlet positioned adjacent to the bottom surface of the body. The secondary inlet is in fluid communication with ambient air and the primary inlet is in fluid communication with the air reservoir and positioned upstream from the secondary inlet and the outlet.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 18, 2018
    Assignee: Vescovi Innovations, LLC
    Inventor: Patrick E. Vescovi
  • Patent number: 9488157
    Abstract: A system and method for pressure based load measurement are provided. The system and method measure at least one pressure differential on an airfoil and determine at least one aerodynamic load associated with the at least one pressure differential. The determined at least one load is used to modify characteristics of the airfoil to increase efficiency and/or avoid damage. The determined at least one aerodynamic load may be further utilized to balance and/or optimize loads at the airfoil, estimate a load distribution along the airfoil used to derive other metrics about the airfoil, and/or used in a distributed control system to increase efficiency and/or reduce damage to, e.g., one or more wind turbines.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 8, 2016
    Assignee: Frontier Wind, LLC
    Inventors: Jonathon P. Baker, Edward A. Mayda, Erick J. Rickards
  • Patent number: 8991540
    Abstract: A hovercraft including a directional control system is disclosed. The directional control system includes at least one airflow control assembly configured to generate and direct at least one airflow. The at least one airflow generated and directed by the airflow control assembly results in component forces that are used to move and control the hovercraft in lateral, forward and reverse directions, or any degree of direction between the lateral, forward and reverse directions. The configuration of the at least one airflow control assembly enables precise control over movement of the hovercraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 13, 2013
    Date of Patent: March 31, 2015
    Inventor: Michael William Mercier
  • Patent number: 8996224
    Abstract: An autonomous vehicle may determine that a speed of the autonomous vehicle is less than or equal to a threshold speed, and that the autonomous vehicle has not detected a traffic control signal. The autonomous vehicle may identify a cause C for the speed to be less than or equal to the threshold speed. The autonomous vehicle may start a timer T that is based on the cause C. After the timer T expires, the autonomous vehicle may determine whether the cause C remains as a cause for the speed to be less than or equal to the threshold speed. After determining that the cause C remains the cause for the speed to be less than or equal to the threshold speed, the autonomous vehicle may send an assistance signal indicating a stuck condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 2013
    Date of Patent: March 31, 2015
    Assignee: Google Inc.
    Inventors: Joshua Seth Herbach, Nathaniel Fairfield
  • Patent number: 8941476
    Abstract: A system is disclosed for communicating tactile messages to a user, such as a racecar driver, yacht crewmember, or other athlete. The system can include a tactile vest having tactile activators for conveying tactile messages to the user, including real time messages for helping the user assess and improve physical performance. The messages may be generated based on various types of sensor data, including, for example, data collected by vehicle sensors of a racecar or yacht.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 4, 2013
    Date of Patent: January 27, 2015
    Assignee: Racing Incident Pty Ltd.
    Inventor: Peter Hill
  • Patent number: 8657053
    Abstract: The group of inventions relates to aviation and to transport means having (static and dynamic) air discharge, in particular to self-stabilizing wing-in-ground-effect craft of types A, B and C. The following technical results are achieved: increased flight safety and maneuvering safety, increased load-bearing capacity and flight height in ground effect mode, reduced dimensions, improved take-off and landing characteristics, as well as amphibian characteristics and economic efficiency, increased functionality and a wider range of operational alignments, and greater ease of use and maintenance. This result is achieved by simultaneously applying the methods for generating a system of aerodynamic forces, the structural solutions and the piloting methods conceptually linked therewith which are proposed in the present group of inventions to “flying wing” or “composite wing” design layouts.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 5, 2010
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2014
    Inventor: Ivan Novikov-Kopp
  • Patent number: 8453591
    Abstract: A mono boat hull power boat with extendable and retractable surface effects wings. The boat hull has wing cavities housing the wings inside the hull. At the front of wing cavity wing pivots are located, and at the rear of the wing cavities extending mechanisms are located, allowing for the pivotal extension and retraction of the wings in to the hull cavities.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 10, 2009
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2013
    Inventors: Ocke Mannerfelt, Rex Jardine
  • Patent number: 8442735
    Abstract: In one example, a first vehicle traveling on a road is provided. The vehicle comprises a communication device coupled in the first vehicle configured to receive information transmitted by a second vehicle traveling on the road, the information identifying road surface conditions experience by the second vehicle; and a controller configured to adjust a vehicle operating parameter of the first vehicle in response to receiving the transmitted information from the second vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 15, 2005
    Date of Patent: May 14, 2013
    Assignee: Ford Global Technologies, LLC
    Inventors: Davor Hrovat, Michael Fodor, Mitch McConnell
  • Patent number: 8356966
    Abstract: A rig transport system provides an air bearing subsystem supporting a drilling and workover rig. The transport system moves the entire rig without having to disassemble the rig, including leaving the derrick in a vertical standing position, along one of a pair of parallel tracks. The air bearing subsystem distributes the rig load over a large footprint to reduce ground bearing pressure. The air bearings lift the load so that the entire rig rides on a film of air, thereby reducing moving friction by up to about 96%.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 14, 2009
    Date of Patent: January 22, 2013
    Inventor: Ronald J. Voorhees
  • Patent number: 8356685
    Abstract: In an arrangement for strengthening the road grip for a vehicle, particularly for a passenger car, air can be sucked from a vacuum chamber arranged under the vehicle and closed off with respect to the ambient atmosphere. As a result, a vacuum can be generated in a vacuum chamber arranged in a braking plate, and the latter can be changed from an inoperative position away from the ground into a operative position close to the ground, as a result of the generated vacuum.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 22, 2010
    Date of Patent: January 22, 2013
    Assignee: Daimler AG
    Inventor: Karl-Heinz Baumann
  • Patent number: 8260483
    Abstract: The present invention provides a guidance, navigation, and control method and system for an underground mining vehicle that allow said vehicle to be taught a route by a human operator and then have it automatically drive the route with no human intervention. The method works in three steps: teaching, route profiling, and playback. In the teaching step the vehicle is manually driven by a operator along a route which can consist of an arbitrary sequence of maneuvers including tramming forwards, switching directions, tramming backwards, turning, or pausing movement. During this phase raw data from vehicle-mounted sensors including odometric sensors and rangefinders are logged to a file throughout teaching for later processing. During the (offline) route profiling step, the raw data in the log file are processed into a route profile, and a profile of desired speed as a function of distance along the path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 12, 2011
    Date of Patent: September 4, 2012
    Assignee: MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates Inc
    Inventors: Timothy D. Barfoot, Joshua A. Marshall, Raja Mukherji, Robert Ward
  • Publication number: 20120171910
    Abstract: A combination floating pontoon boat and air-cushion supported hovercraft having a frame and a plurality of pontoons pivotally and retractably mounted to the frame for pontoon boat mode, and a second position extending laterally outward from the frame in hovercraft mode. A skirt is attached to and extends from the frame, the skirt on a first position being retracted against the bottom of the frame. In a second position, the skirt extends downward from the frame and forms an air-receiving pocket beneath the frame for hovercraft operation. A first power system moves the frame through water when the pontoons are in their first position. A second power system drives air into the air-receiving pocket when the skirt is in the second or hovercraft position, and a third power system propels the frame in a longitudinal direction when air is driven into the air-receiving pocket.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 29, 2011
    Publication date: July 5, 2012
    Inventor: Richard Schramer
  • Patent number: 8196537
    Abstract: This WIG craft has a configuration of tandem/canard type, comprising: a body; a front wing having a relatively small aspect ratio, as installed in the lowest portion of the fore half of the body; and a rear wing having a longer span and a shorter chord length than the front wing, as installed in the rearmost portion of the body. Since the front wing, which is also used for planing, is not fixed directly to the body, but installed through a suspension system, so as to travel up and down while planing along the rough water surface, the WIG craft can take off and land stably even in high waves, and further cruise at a extremely low height safely without worrying about the impacts of the wave.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 13, 2008
    Date of Patent: June 12, 2012
    Inventor: Hee-Seoung Lee
  • Patent number: 8160797
    Abstract: An HV_ECU executes a program including a step of calculating an estimated gradient, a step of performing rate limit processing on a change in the estimated gradient when on a hill and an absolute value of the vehicle speed is equal to or below V(0), a step of performing hysteresis processing, a step of calculating a creep increase coefficient, and a step of calculating a creep increase torque.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 3, 2007
    Date of Patent: April 17, 2012
    Assignee: Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Sumiko Amamiya, Koichiro Muta, Yuichiro Kitamura
  • Patent number: 8090491
    Abstract: A guidance, navigation, and control method and system for an underground mining vehicle wherein an operator directly or indirectly guides the vehicle along a route as vehicle-mounted sensors including odometric sensors and rangefinders log motion data to a file which data is processed into a route profile including a vehicle path, a sequence of submaps along the path, and a profile of desired speed as a function of distance along the path. Thereafter the vehicle automatically repeats the route as represented by the route profile without an operator using the sensors and the maps to determine vehicle location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 26, 2006
    Date of Patent: January 3, 2012
    Assignee: MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates Inc.
    Inventors: Timothy D. Barfoot, Joshua A. Marshall, Raja Mukherji, Robert Ward
  • Patent number: 8051935
    Abstract: An air-cushioned vehicle or hovercraft includes a three-dimensional frame comprising a latticework of tubular members. A pressure plate is coupled to the underside of the frame and includes at least one aperture therein and a skirt attached adjacent a periphery thereof. At least one lifting fan is positioned relative to the at least one aperture to generate a current of air therethrough. The frame may be configured to generate a visual indication of damage thereto. Methods of making and air-cushion vehicle are disclosed. Methods of using an air-cushion vehicle are also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 2008
    Date of Patent: November 8, 2011
    Assignee: Weber State University
    Inventor: William G. Clapp
  • Patent number: 7997370
    Abstract: A multiple unit surface effect vehicle movable through an aquatic environment is provided including connected units and lift fans. The multiple unit surface effect vehicle may further include a coupling system and/or a plurality of skirt portions connecting one of the connected units with another of the connected units. The multiple unit surface effect vehicle includes the connected units connected to form a continuous movable unit movable in an aquatic environment. Each connected unit includes a forced air containment chamber defined within each of the connected units. The forced air containment chambers of each of the connected units are connected to form a continuous pressurized air cushion. The lift fans force air into the forced air containment chamber to pressurize the continuous pressurized air cushion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 30, 2010
    Date of Patent: August 16, 2011
    Assignee: Keck Technologies, LLC
    Inventors: Robert Scher, Weimin Hu, Larry B. Keck
  • Publication number: 20110192663
    Abstract: A body having a fuselage, a wing unit including a main wing, and a propulsion unit including an engine. The wing unit includes a main wing protruding out from the lateral center of the WIG vehicle fuselage, a downward wing which is vertically and downwardly installed on the outer tip of the main wing, and a canard which protrudes out horizontally from the front end of the fuselage, which is in the moving direction of the WIG vehicle from the main wing. The canard includes a horizontal stabilization plate which has a stationary horizontal panel structure, and a variable flap which is installed to face the rear surface of the horizontal stabilization plate. In the lateral cross section shape, the front surface portion including the leading edge is round at a proper thickness to prevent clearance generated by turning of the canard, the trailing edge is sharp and straight, and the thickness of a portion between the thickest portion and rear portion narrows.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 18, 2009
    Publication date: August 11, 2011
    Inventors: Chang Gu Kang, Han Jin Lee, Chang Min Lee
  • Patent number: 7880442
    Abstract: One of first through fourth target state of charge levels, which are set at values that increase gradually over time, is selected on the basis of an ON/OFF state of a specific current consumer installed in the vehicle and a state of charge immediately preceding an engine stoppage. A target state of charge is set on the basis of the selected target state of charge level and an elapsed time after the lead storage battery is installed in the vehicle, whereupon the target state of charge is compared with the actual state of charge of the lead storage battery. The lead storage battery is charged in accordance with the comparative result.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 20, 2008
    Date of Patent: February 1, 2011
    Assignee: Fuji Jukogyo Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Motohiro Takeuchi
  • Patent number: 7748486
    Abstract: Self-leveling legs are used to accommodate landing a ducted fan hovercraft on a sloped surface such as a roof-top. These legs move to accommodate a variation of slope within their range of motion irrespective to the azimuth of the vehicle body. The configuration and operation of the landing legs allow the hovercraft to land in a stable fashion with the hovercraft vehicle body maintained in a vertical orientation. The basic kinematics of the present invention is the displacement of one landing leg upwards is connected by a horizontal member to the opposite leg and displaces it downwards, and visa-versa. Planar surface contact is accomplished by the unique curvature of the legs and the splay of the legs from the vehicle body.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 10, 2006
    Date of Patent: July 6, 2010
    Assignee: Honeywell International, Inc.
    Inventors: Glen A. Mantych, Emray R. Goossen
  • Patent number: 7581608
    Abstract: A levitating platform, which is capable of stable flight, is disclosed. Levitating platform (100) comprises a platform structure (110), which includes a bottom extended surface (116) and a lip (114). An air movement device (120) is mounted on platform structure (110) to flow air (30) into plenum (123) between support surface (20), bottom extended surface (116) and lip (114). The flow of air (30) in plenum (123) creates positive and negative pressures within plenum (123). The positive and negative pressures generate attractive and repelling forces between platform structure (110) and support surface (20) causing platform structure (110) to levitate off support surface (20) in a stable, easily controllable manner.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 4, 2004
    Date of Patent: September 1, 2009
    Inventor: Daniel Mark St. Louis
  • Publication number: 20090101426
    Abstract: Vehicle for operation on various grounds, including a hull (1) having a first sidehull (10) and a second sidehull (12), a front skirt device (14), a stern skirt device (16), and side skirt devices (18) having side skirt elements (54) movably fastened to the hull (1) by means of a platform arrangement (20) between a first position and a second position.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 17, 2007
    Publication date: April 23, 2009
    Applicant: UMOE MANDAL AS
    Inventors: John Vonli, Nere G. Skomedal, Thomas Kjaer, Jon Taby, John Gifford, Kristian Mellingen, Arve Pedersen, John Tondevoldshagen, Magnus Tvete, Egil Jullumsto, Trond Sneve, Roy Isaksen, Anders Hjelmseth, John Stenberg, Tor Stokke
  • Patent number: 7516039
    Abstract: Improved systems and methods for mapping are provided. In one embodiment, a system for mapping is provided. The system comprises a rangefinder adapted to output range measurements; an inertial sensor adapted to capture inertial measurements including inertial forces acting on the rangefinder and the attitude of the rangefinder; and a processor coupled the rangefinder and the inertial sensor and adapted to receive a set of range measurements from the rangefinder and inertial measurements from the inertial sensor. The processor is adapted to produce a virtual room reconstruction based on the set of range measurements from the rangefinder and inertial measurements from inertial sensor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 18, 2007
    Date of Patent: April 7, 2009
    Assignee: Honeywell International Inc.
    Inventor: John B. McKitterick
  • Publication number: 20090084622
    Abstract: Disclosed is a method for converting the area of federally protected wetlands, like those located between the Anacostia River's edge and the boundary of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) Anacostia Metrorail Station's property line, into a right-of-way or a specific travel route for the safe passage of hovercraft passenger ferry that is non-destructive of the environmentally sensitive nature of the land used as a right-of-way.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 29, 2008
    Publication date: April 2, 2009
    Inventor: John K. Donovan
  • Publication number: 20090071391
    Abstract: A multi segment articulated Surface Effect Ship.Flexible air seals are formed between hull modules with a gas cushion contained between the side hulls under the entire length of the ship. In one embodiment the cushion formed may act as one continuous gas cushion whereby air cushion pressure generated or flowing from a leading car, or modular segment, flows rearward to supply or augment the cushion pressure necessary to support the following modules at the required operational draft. Hull configurations adaptable to the multi-unit, articulated surface effect ship described in the invention include conventional and air cushion assisted catamaran, trimaran and quadramaran designs and configurations.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 11, 2006
    Publication date: March 19, 2009
    Inventor: Larry Bradly Keck
  • Patent number: 7428939
    Abstract: A flexible skirt-cell system is provided for a hovercraft having a propulsion system mounted to interface with water and a flexible skirt having an upper flexible panel section and a lower flexible finger section. The panel section extends around the bow, stern and two sides of the hovercraft hull and the finger section extends around the hull below the panel section and is connected to the panel section from a forward-abeam location and forward along the two sides and across the bow. Fans create pressurized air that is fed through air ducts to form a pressurized air cushion that supports the hovercraft. Interconnected flexible cells are connected between the panel and finger sections from the forward-abeam locations rearward to the stern. Additional air ducts pass pressurized air from the fan units to inflate the cells, thereby elevating the stern and raising the propulsion system above the water.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 31, 2006
    Date of Patent: September 30, 2008
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Navy
    Inventor: John Ducote
  • Patent number: 7398740
    Abstract: A multi-mission/purpose ground-effect craft is provided which is derived from a common modular platform which includes a hull; an inner floor structure adapted to be installed over the hull; a body adapted to be attached to at least one of the top surface of the hull and the inner floor structure, such that a interior compartment is formed thereinside; a tail wing assembly adapted to be attached to the aft end of the body; a forward nose cowl adapted to be attached to at least one of the forward nose portion of the hull and the forward body portion of the body; a windshield integrated into the forward end of the body; at least one door assembly integrated into the left or right body side; at least one window assembly integrated into the left or right body side; a propulsion system integrated within the aft end of the body; and a retractable skirt attached and draped from the outer or inner perimeter of the hull.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 26, 2005
    Date of Patent: July 15, 2008
    Inventor: Franz B. Boncodin
  • Patent number: 7383907
    Abstract: A light air-cushion vehicle has a thrust reverser bucket arranged at an output end of an air nozzle, at least one direction rudder having control surfaces at the output end of the air nozzle and at least one direction rudder having control surfaces in a lift contour, a control system for the thrust reverser bucket and a control system for the direction rudders. The direction rudders are kinematically connected to each other and to a steering device. The control surfaces at the output end of the air nozzle turn around an axis in the vertical direction and the control surfaces in the lift contour turn around an axis in the longitudinal direction axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 27, 2004
    Date of Patent: June 10, 2008
    Assignee: SIA “kurs”
    Inventors: Alexandr Vasilievich Talanov, Jury Borisovich Pribylsky
  • Patent number: 7334756
    Abstract: The invention relates to flying vehicles. A centre wing is provided with aerodynamic profiles on the longitudinal sections thereof. A cigar-shaped fuselage is arranged on the central wing. A crew cabin and a cargo-passenger cabin are arranged inside the fuselage. Hollow hermetical longitudinal beams are mounted on the periphery of the central wing on the sides thereof. Inflatable shock-absorbing balloons are arranged under said longitudinal beams. Two keels provided with rudders are mounted on the ends of the longitudinal beams. A horizontal tail is arranged on the keels and comprises a diving rudder which is disposed on a section between the keels and ailerons which are disposed on the sections of the longitudinal beams. The thrust propeller for horizontal thrust is accommodated inside an external annular cowl. The engine for the thrust propeller is arranged inside the tail cone of the fuselage. A set of tale-off and landing devices comprises a means for producing a static air cushion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 30, 2003
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2008
    Inventor: Rollan Gurgenovich Martirosov
  • Patent number: 7231997
    Abstract: An air-based thrust recovery system for use in a powered lift platform utilizing fixed-pitch propellers is provided. The system utilizes an air compressor coupled to the drive motor of the platform and an on-board, high pressure tank for air storage. The fixed-pitch propellers are coupled to the primary drive system with over-running clutches, thus allowing the thrust recovery system to rotate the propellers faster than if driven solely by the primary drive system. Preferably the propellers are surrounded by air ducts. The thrust recovery system uses individually, or in combination, cold air jets mounted at the tips of the propellers, a circulation control system which blows out the leading or trailing edge of the propellers, and one or more perforated tubing segments surrounding at least a portion of the platform's air ducts.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 25, 2005
    Date of Patent: June 19, 2007
    Assignee: Aerofex Corporation
    Inventor: Mark Stephen De Roche
  • Patent number: 7219854
    Abstract: A “wing in ground effect” aerial vehicle includes a wing mounted on a fuselage, and two cycloidal propulsion units for providing lift, thrust and longitudinal control. Additional lift is provided by a lighter-than-air gas such as helium contained in the fuselage. Operationally, the two cycloidal propulsion units and the volume of lighter-than-air gas are concertedly regulated to achieve “wing in ground effect” flight. Importantly, the two cycloidal propulsion units may operate in one of several modes, to include a curtate mode, a prolate mode, and a fixed-wing mode. Additionally, the vehicle may hover. Also, a thruster unit is mounted on the fuselage for providing forward thrust in combination with, or in lieu of, the two cycloidal propulsion units.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2005
    Date of Patent: May 22, 2007
    Assignee: Information Systems Laboratories, Inc.
    Inventors: James H. Boschma, Jr., Michael McNabb
  • Patent number: 7210549
    Abstract: An air board including a platform upon which an operator of the vehicle can be supported; and a support arrangement for providing an air flow for supporting the platform above a surface, wherein the direction of movement of the air board is at least partially controlled by varying the weight distribution of the operator on the platform.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 13, 2003
    Date of Patent: May 1, 2007
    Assignee: Arbortech Industries Ltd.
    Inventor: Kevin Ross Inkster
  • Patent number: 7059259
    Abstract: A Wing In Ground Effect Vehicle has a pair of supercavitating endplates (17) which extend below the fuselage (2) such that they can be immersed in water during flight thereover. The endplates have a nose (28) defining a leading edge (20) and adapted to generate a supercavity. The endplates (17) typically pivot about a pivot axis P to provide a stabilising weathercock-type effect.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 2001
    Date of Patent: June 13, 2006
    Assignee: Wingship Limited
    Inventor: Ken R. Allen
  • Patent number: 7055638
    Abstract: An air curtain (jet flow) replaces the conventional air-diverting baffle on the underside of a vehicle's front engine compartment to reduce drag and increase volumetric air flow for cooling.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 23, 2004
    Date of Patent: June 6, 2006
    Assignee: General Motors Corporation
    Inventors: Bahram Khalighi, Sanjay Kumarasamy
  • Patent number: 7051826
    Abstract: A surface effects skimmer vehicle generates a downward air flow into a tunnel under a main hull to lift the main hull off an adjacent surface, and rearward air flows for thrust. The air flows are generated by ducted fans or jet engines, and directed to the rear and/or down by controlling the degree of opening of a Deflector Air Gate (DAG) on the bottom of the main hull. The tunnel includes tunnel edges to contain the downward air flow under the main hull for surface lubrication. The vehicle further includes a rear portion with horizontal and vertical stabilizers to provide air-craft like behavior.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 1, 2004
    Date of Patent: May 30, 2006
    Inventor: Joseph W. Bertrand
  • Patent number: 6848650
    Abstract: An extremely large aircraft which is suitable for overseas cargo transport and which includes a fuselage defining a central storage cavity, a wing assembly defining a pair of wing storage cavities, an altitude control system, and a plurality of independently steerable landing gear units. The central storage cavity has a length, height and width of at least 100 feet, at least 16 feet and at least 24 feet, respectively. The wing assembly has a wingspan of at least 300 feet and is configured with a moderate aspect ratio to permit both ground-effect and high altitude operation. The altitude control system controls the aircraft in ground effect such that the aircraft is maintained at about a predetermined altitude. The landing gear units are coupled to the fuselage and are arranged in at least two discrete columns and at least ten discrete rows. The central storage cavity and the wing storage cavities are configured to receive cargo including intermodal re-usable cargo containers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 29, 2001
    Date of Patent: February 1, 2005
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Zachary C. Hoisignton, Blaine K. Rawdon
  • Publication number: 20040231901
    Abstract: The present invention concerns an all-terrain vehicle for use over a variety of terrain. The vehicle includes a main body having a cabin, a forward side, a backward side and two lateral sides; a pair of ground effect wings connected to the lateral sides of the main body, each wing having an angle of attack; a lift engine having necessary auxiliary equipment for operation thereof, wherein the lift engine is connected to the backward side of the main body and supplies a lift power to the vehicle; at least one lift fan connected to the lift engine; an engine mounted to the main body to provide energy to propel the vehicle forward; a wheel connected to the forward side of the main body, wherein the wheel is connected to the main body by a drive shaft; a control system to control the angle of attack.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 21, 2003
    Publication date: November 25, 2004
    Inventor: Lawrence Shuniak
  • Patent number: 6742616
    Abstract: A hybrid air boost vehicle makes use of the porous panels and suction devices of a vehicle aerodynamic drag reduction system, and makes use of the air consumed by such a system, to provide the energy and air to power a land or water based ground effects vehicle. Energy and air consumed by the suction system, and normally wasted, is recycled by providing an air cushion to partially support the vehicle. The entire hybrid air boost vehicle system is more efficient than either a drag reduction system or a ground effects vehicle alone, and the benefits of both are realized, as well as benefits unique to the hybrid vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 14, 2001
    Date of Patent: June 1, 2004
    Inventor: Michael F. Leban
  • Patent number: 6732672
    Abstract: A trimaran type WIG (Wing-In-Ground) effect ship with a minimum waterplane area is disclosed. This WIG ship comprises a main hull and two half-submerged sub-hulls each having a minimum waterplane area capable of minimizing the wave resistance and appendage resistance of the ship, thus reducing speed loss on rough water. The WIG ship also has main and sub-wings and an effective propelling mechanism, designed such that they produce a strong lift force allowing a take-off of the ship sailing on water even at a low speed. The WIG ship is thus excellent in its seakeeping and maneuverability on the rough water. In the WIG ship, the main hull is intermediately positioned between the main wings and comprises a slender and half-submerged body, and bears 60% of the total displacement of the ship. The sub-hulls are respectively provided under the outer ends of the main wings, and each bear 20% of the total displacement, and act as an end plate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 8, 2002
    Date of Patent: May 11, 2004
    Assignee: Korea Ocean Research and Development Institute
    Inventors: Myung-Soo Shin, Yong-Jin Jo