Connection Facilitating Patents (Class 280/477)
  • 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
  • Patent number: 9513103
    Abstract: In one embodiment, a hitch angle sensor assembly includes a spacer fixed between a hitch ball and a mounting surface on a vehicle. An element is rotatably coupled with the spacer about a vertical axis defined by the hitch ball, and connecting member secures the element to a trailer. A hall sensor is coupled with the spacer and senses a magnetic portion of the element to determine a hitch angle between the vehicle and trailer. This and other embodiments of the hitch angle sensor assembly may be used independently or in combination with other hitch angle sensors or systems to estimate the hitch angle between the vehicle and trailer, which may be advantageously used for operation of the vehicle with a trailer backup assist system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 2, 2014
    Date of Patent: December 6, 2016
    Assignee: Ford Global Technologies, LLC
    Inventor: John Crossman
  • Patent number: 9511637
    Abstract: A removable guiding apparatus, placed on a trailer hitch extension, that will force the tongue of a trailer over the trailer hitch ball. This system is designed such that the positioning components will force the trailer tongue into position over the hitch ball should the tongue and hitch ball be slightly out of alignment during the backing of the vehicle toward the trailer tongue. These positioning components can be easily placed upon and removed from a plate that is permanently attached to the underside of the trailer hitch extension and hitch ball. The ability to remove these positioning components allows for a wide swing of the trailer tongue during towing as well as unobstructed access to the hitch area.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 18, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 6, 2016
    Inventor: Phillip Clark Frey
  • Patent number: 9464887
    Abstract: A lighting system for a trailer assembly is provided herein. The lighting system includes a hitch angle detection component having a predefined pattern thereon. A light source is disposed within the hitch angle detection component. A photoluminescent structure is disposed on the light source. The photoluminescent structure is configured to luminesce in response to excitation by light output from at least a portion of the light source.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 7, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 11, 2016
    Assignee: Ford Global Technologies, LLC
    Inventors: Stuart C. Salter, Erick Michael Lavoie, James J. Surman
  • Patent number: 9457632
    Abstract: A method and system of avoiding a collision between an object attached to a rear of a vehicle and an object behind the vehicle during reverse maneuvering of the vehicle includes determining with an electronic control unit of the vehicle an adjusted top height of a first object attached to a rear of the vehicle. The electronic control unit then determines whether the adjusted top height is lower than a clearance height of a second object behind the vehicle and unattached to the vehicle. Upon determining that the adjusted top height of the first object is not lower than the clearance height of the second object, the electronic control unit determines that the first object would collide with the second object if the vehicle is reverse maneuvered too close to the second object and upon determining that the collision would occur alerting a user of the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 11, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 4, 2016
    Assignee: FCA US LLC
    Inventors: Joshua G Windeler, Ross S Maunders
  • Patent number: 9446713
    Abstract: A vision system for a vehicle includes a rearward facing camera disposed at a rearward portion of a vehicle. With a trailer attached to the vehicle and rearward of the vehicle, a processor is operable to process captured images and, responsive at least in part to the processing, is operable to determine a plurality of trailer and vehicle-trailer interface parameters. The system is operable to calculate a calculated trailer angle based at least in part on calculations involving the parameters and a steering angle of the vehicle. Responsive to processing of images captured by the camera, the system is operable to determine a determined trailer angle of the trailer relative to a longitudinal axis of the vehicle. Responsive to the determined trailer angle and the calculated trailer angle, the system is operable to determine a degree of offset between the calculated trailer angle and the detected trailer angle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 25, 2013
    Date of Patent: September 20, 2016
    Assignee: MAGNA ELECTRONICS INC.
    Inventors: Yuesheng Lu, Steven V. Byrne, Paul A. VanOphem, James D. Harris
  • Patent number: 9434381
    Abstract: A method and system of avoiding a collision between an object attached to a rear of a vehicle and an object behind the vehicle during reverse maneuvering of the vehicle includes determining with an electronic control unit of the vehicle an adjusted top height of a first object attached to a rear of the vehicle. The electronic control unit then determines whether the adjusted top height is lower than a clearance height of a second object behind the vehicle and unattached to the vehicle. Upon determining that the adjusted top height of the first object is not lower than the clearance height of the second object, the electronic control unit determines that the first object would collide with the second object if the vehicle is reverse maneuvered too close to the second object and upon determining that the collision would occur alerting a user of the vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 31, 2014
    Date of Patent: September 6, 2016
    Assignee: FCA US LLC
    Inventor: Joshua C Windeler
  • Patent number: 9403412
    Abstract: A method of recognizing a trailer of a tractor vehicle by an electronic control unit (ECU) includes determining whether a parking switch is in an on state and a transmission gear state is a parking state. Whether a stop lamp switch is in an on state and a state of a current flowing in the stop lamp of the trailer is in an on state are determined. A load current quantity of a load lamp is recognized, and whether the stop lamp is in an open state is determined. A mode to a trailer non-connection mode when the stop lamp is in an off state is determined.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 2, 2016
    Assignee: HYUNDAI MOTOR COMPANY
    Inventors: Jin-Gi Kim, Hyuk Lee
  • Patent number: 9374562
    Abstract: A system and method for calculating a horizontal camera to target distance is provided. A camera on board a vehicle is configured to image a target on a trailer that is aligned with the vehicle. A controller is in communication with the camera and is supplied a user-obtained measurement. The controller is configured to calculate a first horizontal distance and a second horizontal distance, and to sum the first and second horizontal distances to calculate a horizontal camera to target distance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 2014
    Date of Patent: June 21, 2016
    Assignee: Ford Global Technologies, LLC
    Inventors: Roger Arnold Trombley, Christopher Scott Nave, Erick Michael Lavoie, Bradley G. Hockrein, Don Jacob Mattern
  • Patent number: 9358849
    Abstract: A towing bar assembly that may convert from an articulated assembly extracting a vehicle in an inaccessible location to a rigid assembly for safely towing a vehicle on a road and having an automatic locking mechanism for locking the towing assembly in the articulated position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 24, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 7, 2016
    Assignee: Defense Products and Services Group Holding Company
    Inventor: Charles Kennith Fincher
  • Patent number: 9352623
    Abstract: A tow hitching aid system for a vehicle includes a camera, at least one ultrasonic sensor, a display screen and a control. The camera has a rearward field of view that encompasses a vehicle hitching element. The control receives input from the camera and input from the at least one ultrasonic sensor. When the vehicle is reversing towards a trailer hitching element of a trailer to establish a hitch connection, the control determines at least one of (i) distance to the trailer and (ii) orientation of the vehicle relative to the trailer, and during the reversing maneuver, the control (a) provides video images for display by the display screen and (b) provides, for display by the display screen, at least one graphic overlay that indicates to the vehicle driver at least one of (i) distance to the trailer and (ii) orientation of the vehicle relative to the trailer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 17, 2014
    Date of Patent: May 31, 2016
    Assignee: MAGNA ELECTRONICS INC.
    Inventors: Niall R. Lynam, John O. Lindahl
  • Patent number: 9340197
    Abstract: A method for controlling a mild hybrid vehicle with an electric motor is provided. The electric motor is arranged to selectively output torque and to selectively operate as a generator to harvest electrical power during operation of an internal combustion engine of the mild hybrid vehicle. An interface is provided in a location accessible outside of the vehicle. The interface is configured to control non-driving movement of the mild hybrid vehicle. An input is received from a human operator via the interface. In response to the input, the vehicle moves solely under power of the electric motor of the mild hybrid vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 23, 2015
    Date of Patent: May 17, 2016
    Assignee: Robert Bosch GmbH
    Inventors: Oliver Miersch-Wiemers, Jason Schwanke, Li Jiang
  • Patent number: 9315139
    Abstract: When a boat is loaded onto a boat trailer, it is locked on by the automatic latching device and is held in the full forward position by the winch strap. The boat keel is now on top of the automatic latching device which compresses the spring on a T-shaped member and increases the contact surface pressure between the automatic latching device and the boat keel. Any vertical movement or bounce by the boat keel during transport compresses the spring and adds additional pressure between the two surfaces. The automatic latching device and the boat keel are now joined together in effect as a unitary unit and moves in that fashion one relative to the other wherein movement is essentially transferred to the elongated holes in the winch stand uprights. By eliminating any movement between the automatic latching device and the boat keel, surface marking of the keel has been eliminated. Further, any likely wear of the contacted portion of the automatic latching device will be less.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 2014
    Date of Patent: April 19, 2016
    Inventor: William J. Hyslop
  • Patent number: 9278592
    Abstract: A towing bar assembly that may convert from an articulated assembly extracting a vehicle in an inaccessible location to a rigid assembly for safely towing a vehicle on a road and having an automatic articulating mechanism for moving the towing assembly into and out of the articulated position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 24, 2015
    Date of Patent: March 8, 2016
    Assignee: Defense Products and Services Group Holding Company
    Inventor: Charles Kennith Fincher
  • Patent number: 9272590
    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: March 5, 2015
    Date of Patent: March 1, 2016
    Inventor: Todd Hochanadel
  • Patent number: 9273968
    Abstract: Track information generating devices, methods, and programs acquire a self-contained navigation track of a vehicle indicated by time-series pieces of self-contained navigation information, and acquire a GPS track that is a track of the vehicle indicated by time-series pieces of GPS information. The devices, methods, and compare the self-contained navigation track with the GPS track to acquire a first correction amount for obtaining the highest degree of coincidence between the self-contained navigation track and the GPS track and then correct the self-contained navigation information using a second correction amount that is smaller than the first correction amount.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 2, 2011
    Date of Patent: March 1, 2016
    Assignee: AISIN AW CO., LTD.
    Inventors: Yusuke Oohashi, Daisuke Sakaki, Yohei Ando
  • Patent number: 9224298
    Abstract: An exemplary system for a vehicle having an object attached to it may include a user interface device, a controller, and a communication system. The user interface device may be configured to receive and transmit information relating to the object. The controller may be in communication with the user interface device, and may be configured to receive the information from the user interface device. The communication system may be in communication with the controller, and may be configured to transmit at least a subset of the information to at least one other vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2013
    Date of Patent: December 29, 2015
    Assignee: FORD GLOBAL TECHNOLOGIES, LLC
    Inventor: Paul R. Nicastri
  • Patent number: 9126465
    Abstract: Hitch guide assemblies having a displaceable guide member are described. In certain embodiments, the hitch guide assembly comprises a guide a guide member and a guide mechanism that is adapted to displace the guide member upon the application of an external force to at least a portion of the guide mechanism.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 10, 2014
    Date of Patent: September 8, 2015
    Assignee: Like Products, Inc.
    Inventor: Michael Holland
  • Publication number: 20150137483
    Abstract: A hitch device comprising: (a) a hitch bar that connects the hitch device to a vehicle; (b) a hitch mount in communication with the hitch bar; (c) a ball mount, a ball, or both that is in communication with and extends through a portion of the hitch mount; (d) a lifting device that is connected to the hitch mount, the hitch bar, or both, wherein the lifting device includes a lifting cylinder; and (e) one or more gears in communication with the lifting cylinder; wherein the lifting device assists in moving the ball mount, the ball, or both through the hitch mount; and wherein the lifting cylinder is an electric motor.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 12, 2014
    Publication date: May 21, 2015
    Inventors: Brian Morga, Devon Jackson, Jim Bower
  • Publication number: 20150115571
    Abstract: A system and method for providing visual assistance through a graphic overlay super-imposed on a back-up camera image for assisting a vehicle operator when backing up a vehicle to align a tow ball with a trailer tongue. The method includes providing camera modeling to correlate the camera image in vehicle coordinates to world coordinates, where the camera modeling provides the graphic overlay to include a tow line having a height in the camera image that is determined by an estimated height of the trailer tongue. The method also includes providing vehicle dynamic modeling for identifying the motion of the vehicle as it moves around a center of rotation. The method then predicts the path of the vehicle as it is being steered including calculating the center of rotation.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 3, 2014
    Publication date: April 30, 2015
    Inventors: Wende Zhang, James N. Nickolaou, Ryan M. Frakes
  • Publication number: 20150108736
    Abstract: The trailer autoconnect system is an apparatus for bringing into close juxtaposition a trailer and a trailer hitch attached to a tow vehicle. Specifically, an electric or manual winch is attached to the trailer to be attached to the hitch of the towing vehicles. The cable of the winch extends through a guide bracket and through a series of pulleys so that the end of the winch cable is connected to the tow hitch of the tow vehicle. The winch is activated electrically or manually by a crank or lever and the trailer is pulled directly to the tow hitch of the tow vehicle. A laser emitter attached to the coupling mechanism of the trailer emits a beam of light which illuminates the hitch receiver of the towing vehicle enabling the operator to raise or lower the coupling mechanism of the trailer to bring the coupling mechanism of the trailer into proper alignment with the hitch receiver.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 17, 2013
    Publication date: April 23, 2015
    Inventor: Joseph P. Jamieson