Connection Facilitating Patents (Class 280/477)
  • Patent number: 11110762
    Abstract: The present disclosure relates in a first aspect to a trailer hitch guide adaptor for a trailer tongue coupler, comprising: a mounting plate configured for attachment to the trailer tongue coupler, the mounting plate having an mounting plate upper-surface and a mounting plate front-end; a pair of guide plates, each of the guide plates attached below the mounting plate, each of the guide plates having a guide plate front-end and a guide plate back-end, wherein said guide plates are angled relative to each other, whereby each of the guide plate back-ends converge towards each other; and a third guide plate extending outwards from the mounting plate front-end, the third guide plate having a third guide plate upper surface, wherein the third guide plate upper surface defines an obtuse angle relative to the mounting plate upper surface, such that a hitch ball is able to be guided towards the mounting plate front-end via the third guide plate, and/or from below the mounting plate and towards the guide plate back en
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 14, 2017
    Date of Patent: September 7, 2021
    Assignee: Klintfax Design IVS
    Inventors: Steen Klintø, Thomas Faxe
  • Patent number: 11097578
    Abstract: A trailer frame includes an axle-carrying portion and a tongue. The tongue includes first and second curved drawbars, each defining a convex surface. The convex surface of the first drawbar faces the convex surface of the second drawbar. The facing convex surfaces allow for an increased turning radius of a tow vehicle connected thereto by increasing the distance between the rear corners of the tow vehicle and the tongue.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 23, 2019
    Date of Patent: August 24, 2021
    Assignee: Lippert Components, Inc.
    Inventor: Theodore P. Brubaker
  • Patent number: 11077730
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for a method that includes providing at least one sensor mounted to a structure on a vehicle. The at least one sensor is located at a sensor height relative to ground level. A first object is located on the vehicle at a fixed distance from the at least one sensor and at a variable distance from ground level. The variable distance estimated as a function of a vehicle load. The sensor height adjusted based on the variable distance to account for any changes in the vehicle load. A second object is spaced at a vertical distance from ground level. An adjusted sensor height used for comparison to the vertical distance of the second object from ground level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 25, 2019
    Date of Patent: August 3, 2021
    Assignee: Continental Automotive Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Dominik Froehlich
  • Patent number: 11044444
    Abstract: An image capturing device according to one embodiment includes a camera unit configured to capture images of a surrounding environment and generate image data, a suction-attachment unit configured to support the camera unit and be fixed on a suction-attachment subject surface by a user, a determination unit configured to determine whether or not the image data can be output to a recording unit, and a controller configured to control output of the image data to the recording unit, based on a determination result by the determination unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 2020
    Date of Patent: June 22, 2021
    Assignee: JVCKENWOOD Corporation
    Inventor: Hiroaki Nashimoto
  • Patent number: 11040587
    Abstract: A hitch and ball alignment device for aligning a tow ball with a trailer tongue includes a first sensing unit and a controller. The first sensing unit comprises a first sensor, which is position type, and a first transmitter. A first coupler is coupled to the first sensing unit and is configured to removably couple the first sensing unit to one of a tow ball, which is coupled to a vehicle, and a trailer tongue. The controller comprises a screen and a receiver. The first sensor is configured to determine a distance between the first sensing unit and the other of the tow ball and the trailer tongue and to signal the controller via the first transmitter. The controller is positioned display the positions of the tow ball and the trailer tongue on the screen to guide a user to align the tow ball with the trailer tongue.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 10, 2018
    Date of Patent: June 22, 2021
    Inventor: George Nixon
  • Patent number: 11027667
    Abstract: The present disclosure relates to a controller for generating a composite image (IMG3) of a region behind a towing vehicle (V). The controller is operable to receive a towing vehicle image data (DV1) from a towing vehicle camera (C1); and a trailer image data (DV2) from a trailer camera (C2). The controller combines the towing vehicle image data (DV1) and the trailer image data (DV2) to generate a composite image data (DV3) corresponding to a composite image (IMG3). The controller is operable to output the composite image data (DV3). The controller is operable selectively to enable and/or disable the output of the composite image data (DV3). The controller is configured to monitor a status of a turn signal indicator. The controller is configured to disable the output of the composite image data (DV3) when the turn signal indicator is activated; and/or enable the output of the composite image data (DV3) when the turn signal indicator is de-activated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 29, 2018
    Date of Patent: June 8, 2021
    Assignee: JAGUAR LAND ROVER LIMITED
    Inventor: Jeremy Greenwood
  • Patent number: 11030476
    Abstract: Methods of and systems for operating an embedded system of a vehicle during a coupling operation of the vehicle with a trailer having a coupler. The method comprises accessing a video stream generated by a video camera; operating an object detection module on the video stream so as to detect the trailer and/or the coupler and establish one or more regions of interest. The method also comprises generating a vehicle referential point estimated position of a vehicle referential point and generating a coupler position with respect to the vehicle referential point estimated position based on the one or more regions of interests and the vehicle referential point estimated position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 27, 2019
    Date of Patent: June 8, 2021
    Assignee: ELEMENT AI INC.
    Inventors: Anqi Xu, Joel Lamy-Poirier
  • Patent number: 11007830
    Abstract: A method for assisting a hitching operation between an agricultural utility vehicle and an implement to be attached thereto includes providing a vehicle side first laser unit and a vehicle side second laser unit, generating a first vertical light fan by the vehicle side first laser unit, and generating a second vertical light fan by the vehicle side second laser unit. The first and second vertical light fans are aligned with a hitching point or a reference point that characterizes the hitching point on the implement for carrying out the hitching operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 2018
    Date of Patent: May 18, 2021
    Assignee: DEERE & COMPANY
    Inventor: Manuel Billich
  • Patent number: 10996669
    Abstract: A backing system for a vehicle and trailer includes a wireless control device in communication with an electronic control unit. The electronic control unit is configured with programming to record an image of a hitch for the vehicle and trailer assembly and determine a hitch angle using a plurality of reference points on the trailer which are viewed by the camera. The portions of the image which are relevant to a current position of the vehicle and trailer assembly are determined by the electronic control unit. Data regarding the relevant portions are sent to the control device via a secured wireless connection and displayed on a display.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 22, 2018
    Date of Patent: May 4, 2021
    Assignee: Continental Automotive Systems, Inc.
    Inventors: Brandon Herzog, Ibro Muharemovic, Brian Saloka, Brian Keith Morrison
  • Patent number: 10984553
    Abstract: A method for detecting and localizing a trailer coupler of a trailer is provided. The method includes receiving images from a camera positioned on a back portion of a tow vehicle and determining a region of interest within the images. The region of interest includes a representation of the trailer coupler. The method includes determining a camera plane and a road plane. In addition, the method includes determining a three-dimensional point cloud representing objects inside the region of interest and within the camera plane and the road plane. The method also includes receiving sensor data from a sensor system and determining a coupler location of the trailer coupler based on the 3D point cloud and the sensor data. The method also includes sending instructions to a drive system causing the tow vehicle to autonomously drive along a path in a rearward direction towards the coupler location.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 30, 2019
    Date of Patent: April 20, 2021
    Assignee: Continental Automotive Systems, Inc.
    Inventor: Eduardo Jose Ramirez Llanos
  • Patent number: 10957202
    Abstract: A vehicle safety device for warning persons in traffic has an antenna unit having at least a first antenna, a second antenna, and a third antenna. The antennas are mounted spaced apart from each other in a predetermined spatial relationship at predetermined positions on a vehicle to be safe-guarded. Each antenna generates an electromagnetic field. The vehicle safety device also has a control unit in electrical communication with the antenna unit, which defines a warning zone for the vehicle and determines whether a warning module matched to the antenna unit is located within the warning zone.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 14, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 23, 2021
    Assignee: Comnovo GmbH
    Inventors: Andreas Lewandowski, Ron Winkler, Volker Köster, Dominik Gerstel
  • Patent number: 10933914
    Abstract: A vehicle system is disclosed herein. The system includes a hitch ball mounted on a vehicle. A controller is configured to identify a coupler position of a trailer and control motion of the vehicle to an aligned position, wherein the hitch ball is aligned with the coupler position. The controller is further configured to initiate a vehicle agitation routine after the vehicle has reached the aligned position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 31, 2019
    Date of Patent: March 2, 2021
    Assignee: Ford Global Technologies, LLC
    Inventors: James Dottavio, Ross Dykstra Pursifull
  • Patent number: 10907777
    Abstract: A portable apparatus for mounting lights is described. The portable apparatus may include an attachment frame configured to removably mount to and be supported by a 3-point hitch connection of a tractor, a generally vertical main post having an upper end and a lower end, where a lower portion of the main post is rigidly coupled to the attachment frame, and where a height of the main post is vertically adjustable, and a generally horizontal mounting beam rigidly coupled to the upper end of the main post at a center portion of the beam, where a left length of the mounting beam and a right length of the mounting beam are independently adjustable, and where the mounting beam includes a plurality of vertical light mounting bars, where each light mounting bar is coupled to the mounting beam.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 18, 2019
    Date of Patent: February 2, 2021
    Assignee: Weekend Concepts, Inc.
    Inventors: Ryan T. Paine, Ronald P. Scott, Kyle J. Newman, Kyle A. Wilson
  • Patent number: 10894553
    Abstract: A transport dolly includes a base and a tongue rotatably mounted to the base. At least one support is mounted to the base. A first cable guide is coupled to the at least one support. A lever is rotatable between a first orientation and a second orientation. A cable has a first portion attached to the tongue. The cable extends from the tongue to the first cable guide, then to the lever. The lever pulls on the cable when the lever is rotated from the first orientation to the second orientation, so as to decrease a distance between the cable first portion and the first cable guide, thereby rotating the tongue from a lowered orientation to a raised orientation. A spring mechanism exerts a force on the lever to prevent rotation of the lever from the second orientation to the first orientation when the tongue is raised.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 13, 2018
    Date of Patent: January 19, 2021
    Assignee: Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.
    Inventors: Rommel B. Ceniza, Eddie Estanqueiro
  • Patent number: 10875369
    Abstract: A controlled-flexing trailer hitch system and method to facilitate vehicle-to-trailer attachment and maneuvering by providing a flexible state during attachment, detachment, and low-speed maneuvering of a trailer, and automatic change to a fixed in-line state upon the in-line pulling of the trailer, by providing disengageable spring-return stiffening members and a flexible segmented towing member, where the spring-return stiffening members can be disengaged to allow flexible movement of the flexible towing member, and where, upon commencement of the in-line pulling of the trailer, the spring-return stiffening members engage to place the controlled-flexing trailer hitch into a fixed in-line state.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 28, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 29, 2020
    Inventor: Gameel Gabriel
  • Patent number: 10870323
    Abstract: A vehicle hitch assistance system includes a steering system and a controller. The controller acquires position data for a coupler of a trailer, derives a vehicle path to position a center of a hitch ball of the vehicle at an interference offset past a centerline of the coupler in a driving direction of the vehicle path, and outputs a steering control signal to the steering system to maintain the vehicle along the path.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 18, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 22, 2020
    Assignee: Ford Global Technologies, LLC
    Inventors: Luke Niewiadomski, George Edmund Walley, III, Chen Zhang
  • Patent number: 10813266
    Abstract: A method includes receiving a first signal indicative of an implement pitch angle from a sensor, determining whether the pitch angle is within a pitch angle range, generating a first control signal indicative of instructions to adjust a hitch actuator if the pitch angle is not within the pitch angle range, and communicating the first control signal to the hitch actuator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 18, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 27, 2020
    Assignee: CNH Industrial America LLC
    Inventors: Jason Czapka, Keith Walter Wendte
  • Patent number: 10748298
    Abstract: A periphery monitoring device includes: an acquisition unit configured to acquire a peripheral image captured by an imaging unit that is provided in a vehicle and captures an image of a periphery of the vehicle, and an indicator image that is capable of being superimposed on the peripheral image and serves as an operation indicator of a driver when the driver performs a driving operation of the vehicle; and an image processing unit configured to change the indicator image from a first predetermined height to a second predetermined height and display a transition of the change.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 2018
    Date of Patent: August 18, 2020
    Assignee: AISIN SEIKI KABUSHIKI KAISHA
    Inventors: Tetsuya Maruoka, Kazuya Watanabe, Kinji Yamamoto, Jun Kadowaki
  • Patent number: 10710420
    Abstract: A jackknife prevention device installed on a vehicle includes: a base plate mounted at a trailer hitch of the vehicle adjacent to a ball mount; a first arm pivotally associated with the base plate at a proximal end of the first arm and including a bumper portion located thereon, the first arm movable between a first position and second position; and a second arm pivotally associated with the base plate at a proximal end of the second arm, the second arm including a bumper portion located thereon, the second arm extending in a direction that is divergent from a direction of the first arm, the second arm movable between a first position and a second position. The first arm and second arm are releasably engaged with the base plate to pivot between the first and second positions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 3, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 14, 2020
    Inventor: Jack Akins
  • Patent number: 10618362
    Abstract: A hitch mount assembly includes features configured to facilitate hitching of a drawbar receiver to a drawbar. The hitch mount assembly includes an alignment member supported for movement relative to the drawbar receiver. The alignment member is configured to abut the drawbar and consequently move the drawbar receiver relative to the drawbar to substantially align the pin opening of the receiver with the pin hole of the drawbar. The hitch mount assembly also includes a view window in the drawbar receiver for viewing movement of the drawbar within the drawbar cavity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 2017
    Date of Patent: April 14, 2020
    Assignee: DEERE & COMPANY
    Inventors: Jeremy J. Faust, Stephen K. Parsons, Roger D. Stephenson
  • Patent number: 10595453
    Abstract: An agricultural tractor having a three-point hitch with a top link. The tractor is provided with a lifting block adjacent the three-point hitch. The lifting block has a retractable cable which can be used to assist in the raising or lowering of the top link, to allow for easy manipulation of the top link by an operator. In addition, the cable of the lifting block can be used to assist in the coupling of a rear attachment system of the tractor with relatively heavy implements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 2018
    Date of Patent: March 24, 2020
    Assignee: AGCO International GmbH
    Inventors: Gottlieb Woelfle, Thomas Magg
  • Patent number: 10589580
    Abstract: A hitch mount assembly includes a drawbar receiver configured to receive a drawbar and a pin receiver that is supported by the drawbar receiver. Furthermore, the assembly includes a pin that is received within the pin receiver and a latch that is supported for movement between a first position and a second position. The latch, in the first position, is configured to engage the pin and retain the pin in a retracted position. The latch, in the second position, is configured to disengage and release the pin for movement of the pin from the retracted position to an extended position. Moreover, the assembly includes a biasing member configured to bias the latch toward the first position to retain the pin in the retracted position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 17, 2020
    Assignee: DEERE & COMPANY
    Inventors: Jeremy J. Faust, Stephen K. Parsons, Roger D. Stephenson
  • Patent number: 10583704
    Abstract: A gooseneck guide has a curved mounting plate joined to a lower end of a gooseneck, presenting a V-guide to a ball mounted in a truck bed, such that a radius in the V-guide contacts the hitch ball in the truck bed as the truck is backed, guiding a latching mechanism of the gooseneck to be directly over the hitch ball as contact is made.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 3, 2019
    Date of Patent: March 10, 2020
    Inventor: Richard George Miletich
  • Patent number: 10578714
    Abstract: A vehicle control apparatus performs traveling control of a vehicle based on a detection result of a radar apparatus that detects a target in the periphery of an own vehicle. The vehicle control apparatus calculates a shaft misalignment angle that is a misalignment amount of an attachment angle of the radar apparatus and a shaft misalignment direction, and sets a detection range over which a target to be subjected to traveling control of the own vehicle is detected. Until elapse of a predetermined initial period after startup, a width in a lateral direction of the detection range is reduced based on a predetermined initial angle that is the misalignment amount of the attachment angle of the radar apparatus. After the elapse of the initial period after startup, the width in the lateral direction of the detection range is reduced based on calculation values of the shaft misalignment angle and the shaft misalignment direction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 8, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 3, 2020
    Assignees: DENSO CORPORATION, TOYOTA JIDOSHA KABUSHIKI KAISHA
    Inventors: Syogo Matsunaga, Jun Tsuchida, Ichiro Aizawa
  • Patent number: 10532699
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a magnetic quick mounting unit for construction machines, particularly road pavers, having a positioning mark configured for permanent attachment to a construction machine, an attachment device which can be magnetically attached on the positioning mark, an alignment mark arranged on the attachment device and indicating the alignment of the attachment device, and an alignment aid arranged on the positioning mark, the alignment mark and the alignment aid being configured such that the alignment of the attachment device relative to the construction machine can be read from the relative position of the alignment mark to the alignment aid when the attachment device has been attached on the positioning mark.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 20, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 14, 2020
    Assignee: BOMAG GmbH
    Inventors: Giuseppe Fais, Riccardo Zaniboni
  • Patent number: 10513219
    Abstract: A hitch mounted light assembly includes a mount configured to releasably communicate with a hitch of the vehicle. The assembly is configured with a set of traffic lights intended for the use on the rear of the vehicle. The traffic lights pivot outward and upward from a vertical bar in communication with the mount. The elevation of the lights is adjustable. The assembly is configured to transition between a storage configuration and an expanded configuration intended for use. The traffic lights are operable through a conventional trailer plug on the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 21, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 24, 2019
    Inventor: Howard Hassler
  • Patent number: 10430705
    Abstract: A system for detecting if a hitch connecting a trailer and a vehicle is not secure. The system comprises a sensor, an output device, and electronic control unit. The electronic control unit receives information about the hitch connecting the trailer and the vehicle from the sensor. The electronic control unit detects if the hitch connecting the trailer and the vehicle is not secure. If the hitch connecting the trailer and the vehicle is not secure the electronic control unit generates a driver notification and controls the vehicle's motion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 1, 2019
    Assignee: ROBERT BOSCH GMBH
    Inventor: Gary B. Ward
  • Patent number: 10351061
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for guiding a work vehicle hitch to an implement. The apparatus includes an implement attachment guidance system including a camera located on the work vehicle to generate images of the connectors of the implement. A processor receives the generated images and identifies a position of the hitch couplers and identifies the implement connectors as objects. A connecting line between implement connector objects is identified as a virtual line. A reference line identifies the position of the hitch couplers. The processor determines an image distance between the reference line and the virtual line to determine a proximity of the work vehicle hitch to the implement. Distances between ends of the reference line and the virtual line are determined by the processor to provide a direction of travel indicator used by an operator to steer the work vehicle to engage the implement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 9, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2019
    Assignee: DEERE & COMPANY
    Inventor: Rushikesh Chaudhari
  • Patent number: 10220839
    Abstract: A vehicle hitch detection system is provided. The vehicle hitch detection system includes a camera arranged to capture images of a vehicle hitch and a controller processing the images to detect a powered hitch ornament connected to the hitch based on the processed images when an electrical hitch connection is detected. The controller may further control a driver assistance system based on the detected hitch ornament to enable or disable the system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 2, 2018
    Date of Patent: March 5, 2019
    Assignee: Ford Global Technologies, LLC
    Inventor: Erick Michael Lavoie
  • Patent number: 10195914
    Abstract: This disclosure includes a guidance system for coupling vehicles. The system has a hub and a first length of material secured to the hub and configured for spacing the hub from a coupling device of a first vehicle. A second length of material is secured to the hub and configured for spacing the hub from a wheel of a second vehicle for coupling with the first vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 14, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 5, 2019
    Inventor: Charles Raymond Johnson
  • Patent number: 10189324
    Abstract: A method for coupling a motor vehicle having a trailer coupling to a coupling element of a trailer with at least partially automatic actuation of the motor vehicle based on data acquired by a surroundings sensor system, for example a surroundings sensor system of the motor vehicle is disclosed. A controlled change in level is carried out at an at least one axle by an air suspension system of the motor vehicle based on the acquired data. A control unit for carrying out the method is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 16, 2018
    Date of Patent: January 29, 2019
    Assignee: Continental Teves AG & Co. oHG
    Inventor: Christian Opitz
  • Patent number: 10168708
    Abstract: A wireless vehicle-trailer interface system for communication between a vehicle and a trailer is provided. The vehicle may include a vehicle hitch, a vehicle control system, a vehicle radio frequency system, and a processor, the processor configured to generate a unique data packet for each vehicle radio frequency system, determine, for each received response packet, a distance between a corresponding receiving vehicle radio frequency system and a corresponding transmitting trailer radio frequency systems, determine a relative physical position of each vehicle radio frequency system and trailer radio frequency system, determine dimensions of the trailer, determine a physical position of a vehicle hitch and a trailer coupled, and generate instructions for the vehicle control system to cause the vehicle to move to align the vehicle hitch with a trailer coupler.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 2017
    Date of Patent: January 1, 2019
    Assignee: GM GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY OPERATIONS LLC
    Inventors: Daniel T. Cohen, Nadav Lavi, Kobi Scheim, Andrew R. Camden
  • Patent number: 10164392
    Abstract: A towing vehicle/towed vehicle connection system for operably electrically coupling a towing vehicle to a towed vehicle, the system includes a first transceiver disposed on the towing vehicle to provide a wireless electric power signal. A second transceiver is disposed on the towed vehicle and is wirelessly coupled to the first transceiver to receive the wireless electric power signal. The second transceiver is further coupled to the provide energizing electric power to the towed vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 26, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 25, 2018
    Assignee: GM GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY OPERATIONS LLC
    Inventors: Kobi J. Scheim, Nadav Levkovich
  • Patent number: 10160274
    Abstract: A method and apparatus that provide position indicators for features of a towable object. The method includes obtaining position information corresponding to a feature of a towable object, converting the position information to feature display information corresponding to a position of the feature on a display, and displaying an element indicating the position of the feature on the display.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 25, 2018
    Assignee: GM GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY OPERATIONS LLC
    Inventors: Donald R. Gignac, Allan K. Lewis
  • Patent number: 10144417
    Abstract: A hitch assist system and method are provided herein. A detection system determines a vehicle heading and a trailer heading. A controller is coupled to the detection system for generating a path along which the vehicle is autonomously maneuvered toward a trailer. The path ends at a final position in which the vehicle and trailer headings are related by a specified angle therebetween.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 12, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2018
    Assignee: Ford Global Technologies, LLC
    Inventors: Chen Zhang, Luke Niewiadomski
  • Patent number: 10046613
    Abstract: The present invention relates to sensors for guiding a trailer while backing that can easily be installed or removed, and in particular to trailering system sensors that can be utilized for both measuring the angle formed by the vehicle and a coupled trailer (i.e., the angle formed by the centerline of the vehicle intersecting the centerline of the trailer) and the direction and/or distance to back up the vehicle during coupling. The present invention is a means and a method for sensing both the hitch angle during towing maneuvers and the direction and/or distance to the trailer to assist a driver to couple a vehicle and trailer together.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 16, 2016
    Date of Patent: August 14, 2018
    Inventor: Daniel Robert Shepard
  • Patent number: 10005628
    Abstract: A system for allowing a vehicle or trailer to be secured to a loading dock is provided. The system is capable of being stowed away into the vehicle or trailer when not in use, and moveable to a locking position for interfacing with the dock's restraining system when the vehicle or trailer is to be secured to the loading dock.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 26, 2018
    Assignee: Liftgate Lok Inc.
    Inventor: Jeffrey Soule
  • Patent number: 10000207
    Abstract: A vehicle hitch detection system is provided. The vehicle hitch detection system includes a camera arranged to capture images of a vehicle hitch and a controller processing the images to detect a powered hitch ornament connected to the hitch based on the processed images when an electrical hitch connection is detected. The controller may further control a driver assistance system based on the detected hitch ornament to enable or disable the system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 20, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 19, 2018
    Assignee: Ford Global Technologies, LLC
    Inventor: Erick Michael Lavoie
  • Patent number: 9869539
    Abstract: The rotation angle and torsion angle sensor detects both the rotational position of a shaft and a torque applied to the shaft torque. The shaft a first shaft part and a second shaft part, which are interconnected by a torsion bar. A sensor disc is coupled via a rigid circumferentially and axially flexible membrane with the first shaft part. The sensor disc is coupled to a drive wheel via a coupling device, in such a way that the sensor disc is displaced in the axial direction upon relative rotation of the two shaft parts against each other, wherein the membrane bends in the axial direction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 4, 2014
    Date of Patent: January 16, 2018
    Assignee: BOURNS, INC.
    Inventor: Valeri Klimenko
  • Patent number: 9849900
    Abstract: A driving assist unit of a truck for assisting a driving force applied to the truck by a worker includes a unit body connected to the truck, the unit body being turnable with respect to the truck, an operation portion provided on the unit body, the operation portion being configured to input a driving force to the truck through the unit body by being pressed by the worker, a driving wheel provided on the unit body, the driving wheel being rotatable in a longitudinal direction of the unit body, an assist force according to the operation of the operation portion being applied to the driving wheel, a lower engagement mechanism configured to be engaged with the truck by pressing the unit body onto the truck, and an upper engagement mechanism provided above the lower engagement mechanism and configured to be engaged with the truck by fitting of a locking member by the worker.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 26, 2014
    Date of Patent: December 26, 2017
    Assignee: KYB Corporation
    Inventor: Shinichi Sekine
  • Patent number: 9840119
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for detecting an object behind a vehicle are provided. The method includes determining a status of an electrical connection between an object and the vehicle; detecting a forward movement of the vehicle; based on the status of the electrical connection and the detecting of the forward movement, detecting the object behind the vehicle; and controlling to output a notification that alerts of the status of the electrical connection. The method and apparatus may be used to alert an operator when the trailer is electrically disconnected from the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 30, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 12, 2017
    Assignee: GM GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY OPERATIONS, LLC
    Inventor: Michael J. Melaragni
  • Patent number: 9834052
    Abstract: A hitch cover is shown and described. The hitch cover may include a base having first and second surfaces, the second surface having at least one engagement member attached thereto. The hitch cover may also include a mounting bracket selectively attached to the at least one engagement member of the base and extending from the second surface wherein the mounting bracket is configured to selectively engage a hitch receiver tube.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 3, 2013
    Date of Patent: December 5, 2017
    Assignee: HORIZON GLOBAL AMERICAS INC.
    Inventors: Gerald W. Corless, Steven Duane Miller, Gregory Y. Rotenberg
  • Patent number: 9827819
    Abstract: An electronic backing/hitching system that assists drivers with connecting towing devices such as trailers, haulers, etc., to ball hitches attached or affixed to vehicles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 2016
    Date of Patent: November 28, 2017
    Inventor: James Howard Luker
  • Patent number: 9688111
    Abstract: A trailer hitch system for a vehicle includes a hitch assembly and a controller. The hitch assembly includes a receiver configured to attach with first and second chains of a trailer. The first and second chains each have a sensor being configured to transmit data indicative of a position of the corresponding chain. The controller is configured to, in response to the data indicating a crossed position of the chains, display via an interface a crossed status of the chains.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 11, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 27, 2017
    Assignee: Ford Global Technologies, LLC
    Inventors: Mahmoud Yousef Ghannam, David James Tippy, Aed M. Dudar
  • Patent number: 9649899
    Abstract: The above shortcomings of existing trailer hitches are addressed in this disclosure. The trailer hitch alignment guide is a device that: 1) provides visible feedback to drivers of vehicles regarding the relative position of the vehicle and the trailer; and 2) provides a visual and audible signal when the vehicle is in the proper position relative to the trailer. The trailer hitch alignment guide comprises a guide and a target.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 16, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 16, 2017
    Inventors: Albert Berry, Kenneth Williams
  • Patent number: 9630464
    Abstract: An alignment assembly that automatically aligns the inverted ball socket on a trailer tongue and temporarily raises the ball socket over a ball mounted on the end of the towing vehicle as the towing vehicle is being backed up. The assembly includes a tongue mount attached to the front edge of the ball socket on a trailer. The tongue mount includes a vertical, transversely aligned front plate in front of the ball socket. Selectively attached to the front plate is a vertical sliding transverse plate that attaches to a forward extending, diagonally aligned guide tunnel. The guide tunnel includes a wide front opening and narrow rear opening that terminates directly in front of the ball socket. During use, the ball travels rearward into the guide funnel which creates a lifting force on the guide funnel. Upward force on the guide funnel causes the trailer tongue to lift. When the ball clears the guide tunnel, the ball socket falls and is aligned with the ball.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 29, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 25, 2017
    Inventor: Todd Hochanadel
  • Patent number: 9624649
    Abstract: A lower traveling structure (2) having front wheels (16) and rear wheels (17) provided on a chassis (12) extending in a front and rear direction, an upper revolving structure (4) rotatably mounted on the chassis (12), and a working mechanism (11) provided on a front side of the upper revolving structure (4) and at an intermediate position in a left and right direction are provided. On the other hand, a towing through hole (14J, 14K) bored through an upper side position on both left and right sides and in a front and rear direction and used for mounting a cable in towing is provided on a front attachment mounting plate (14) provided on a front side position of the chassis (12) constituting the upper revolving structure (4).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 9, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 18, 2017
    Assignee: Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Makoto Oota, Hiroshi Tsukui, Yuuichi Todokoro
  • Patent number: 9616820
    Abstract: A storage container removably securable to a hitch receiver of a vehicle. The storage container includes a bottom end, sidewalls, and an open upper end, defining an interior volume in which items can be stored. A lid is pivotally secured to the open upper end of the container by a hinge. The lid includes locking latches for securing the lid in a closed configuration. The storage container further includes a step on a lower end thereof that provides users with easy access to the bed of a pick-up truck when the storage container is secured to a pick-up truck. The storage container may further include one or more handles thereon. The storage container includes a pair of light assemblies that can be electrically connected to a vehicle's electrical system. The storage container further includes a hitch assembly for securing the storage container to the hitch receiver of a vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 10, 2014
    Date of Patent: April 11, 2017
    Inventor: Patrick Raley
  • Patent number: 9611978
    Abstract: A security apparatus includes a body with a socket that includes a first magnetic material, and a mount with a stem that is formed to fit into the socket and includes a second magnetic material. If the stem is inserted into the socket, the body is held in place by magnetic attraction between the first magnetic material and the second magnetic material. The position of the stem in the socket determines an azimuth angle and an elevation angle for the body with respect to the mount. The first and second magnetic materials can be magnets or ferromagnetic materials, such as steel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 29, 2015
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2017
    Assignee: Greenwave Systems PTE LTD
    Inventors: Martin Manniche, Sonny Windstrup, Eric Scott Micko
  • Patent number: 9574387
    Abstract: An apparatus having a controller will initiate an obstacle detector alignment mode. An annunciation system of the apparatus effects a first annunciation mode in response to a receiving component of an obstacle detection system receiving a signal transmitted from a transmitting component of the obstacle detection system. The annunciation system effects a second annunciation mode in response to the receiving component of the obstacle detection system not receiving the signal transmitted from the transmitting component of the obstacle detection system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 2014
    Date of Patent: February 21, 2017
    Assignee: The Chamberlain Group, Inc.
    Inventors: Thomas Jason Jankovsky, Tracy Michelle Tryboski