Tilt, Imbalance, Or Overload Patents (Class 340/440)
  • Patent number: 6292759
    Abstract: An attitude angle estimator and method of estimating attitude angle of a vehicle. According to one embodiment, an angular attitude rate sensor senses angular attitude rate of a vehicle, and an accelerometer detects lateral or longitudinal acceleration. An attitude angle estimate is produced and is updated as a function of the sensed angular attitude rate. An acceleration-based attitude angle is determined as a function of the sensed acceleration, and a blending coefficient is provided. A *current vehicle attitude angle estimate is generated as a function of the updated attitude angle estimate, the acceleration-based attitude angle, and the blending coefficient. According to a second embodiment, both a roll angle estimate and a pitch angle estimate are determined.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 19, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 18, 2001
    Assignee: Delphi Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Jan Konried Schiffmann
  • Patent number: 6289332
    Abstract: An integrated message system for a vehicle provides an extendable, prioritized message scheme. Using this scheme, the message system acts as a centralized message provider for variety of alerts and operating data originating throughout the vehicle. The message system defines a hierarchy of message levels, each having a unique output protocol. The protocol defines attributes associated with messages at a particular level such as textual or graphical message, an auditory alert, as well as the scheme for playing these messages and alerts. The system integrates a variety of subsystems that conventionally have separate driver interfaces such as a collision warning system and an adaptive cruise control system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 18, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 11, 2001
    Assignee: Freightliner Corporation
    Inventors: Paul M. Menig, Richard A. Bishel, Goetz Renner, Nicolae Ghitea, Jr., Chris Kirn, Jared A. Powell, Peter Charles Brandt
  • Patent number: 6282474
    Abstract: A rollover sensing system (12) that may be used in the determination of when to deploy restraints in the vehicle. The rollover sensing system (12) may include lateral acceleration sensors (32), a roll rate sensor (18) and a roll angle detector (20). A control circuit (16) determines a predetermined rollover threshold in response to the roll rate and roll angle detector (20) and calculates an adjusted threshold as a function of the predetermined rollover threshold and the lateral acceleration. The control circuit (16) generates a control signal in response to the adjusted threshold.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 4, 2000
    Date of Patent: August 28, 2001
    Assignee: Ford Global Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Clifford C. Chou, Fubang Wu, Mukesh J. Amin
  • Patent number: 6278361
    Abstract: A system and method for monitoring tread wear, shock absorber performance, balance condition of a vehicle tire, and/or rotation speed of a vehicle wheel, use a sensor to provide acceleration signals. To monitor tread wear, acceleration signals from the sensor determine at least one resonance frequency of at least one of the radial and lateral acceleration of the tire and compares it to at least one stored resonance frequency To monitor shock absorber performance, the amplitude of the Fourier component of the radial acceleration is compared to a stored amplitude value. To monitor a balance condition of a vehicle tire, the sensor provides acceleration signals measured over a specified time duration to determine an amplitude of the Fourier component of the radial acceleration that is compared to a stored amplitude specification balance condition of the tire.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 3, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 21, 2001
    Assignee: TRW Inc.
    Inventors: Kiran R. Magiawala, Carol A. Eberhard, George W. McIver, Barry Dunbridge, Thomas A. Zimmerman
  • Patent number: 6268794
    Abstract: An intergated secruity, tip-over, and turn signal system for a motorcycle. The system provides multiple-functions with one control unit and a simplified wiring network. The system provides vehicle turn signal control including automatic turn-off of turn signal lamps at the end of a turn. The systems monitors the lateral forces acting on the motorcycle and disables the turn signal lamps, starter system, and fuel system when a tip-over condition is detected. For theft deterrence and prevention, the system allows a rider to disable the vehicle starter and ignition systems while the vehicle is parked. Tamper sensors in the system activate turn signals and an audible alarm if tampering is detected.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 21, 2000
    Date of Patent: July 31, 2001
    Assignee: Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group, Inc.
    Inventor: Oleg Tzanev
  • Patent number: 6262658
    Abstract: A processor-based system may be utilized to analyze signals from at least two supports supporting a device, such as a motor vehicle, to provide an indication when a weight change is such that tipping or rollover of the device or vehicle is of concern. In this way, an early warning may be provided when a condition arises which may cause a dangerous event to occur. The processor-based system may provide a variety of indications of tipping levels, a variety of different types of warnings and information about how to overcome the potential tipping.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 17, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 17, 2001
    Assignee: Intel Corporation
    Inventor: Dennis M. O'Connor
  • Publication number: 20010007962
    Abstract: In a system for detecting imminent or occurring rollovers in a vehicle having at least one rollover sensor for detecting a vehicle rollover and for emitting a corresponding signal, at least one rotational wheel speed sensor is provided which emits a signal corresponding to the respective rotational wheel speed to a control unit which is indirectly or directly connected with the at least one rollover sensor. The control unit is constructed such that a triggering signal can be generated for a safety system on the basis of the rollover signal, taking into account the at least one rotational wheel speed signal.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 8, 2001
    Publication date: July 12, 2001
    Applicant: Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventor: Robert Griessbach
  • Patent number: 6232873
    Abstract: In a failsafe method and apparatus for signalling theft for a motor vehicle, an item of theft-signalling information is produced as a function of the signal state of at least one of a plurality of monitoring signals, which are indicative of vehicle states. According to the invention, the theft-signalling information is produced only if the signal states of a plurality of monitoring signals are present in one of one or more prescribed theft-signalling combinations. Each theft-signalling combination comprises one or more signalling conditions, which succeed one another in a specific time sequence and which signalling conditions themselves comprise one or more theft indicative combinations of jointly interrogated signal states of associated monitoring signals.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 29, 1997
    Date of Patent: May 15, 2001
    Assignee: DaimlerChrysler AG
    Inventors: Bernhardt Dilz, Dietbert Kollbach, Peter Robitschko
  • Patent number: 6229437
    Abstract: A device for controlling a motor vehicle occupant protection system. Such a device has a control unit with an encoder for encoding messages and a transmitter for transmitting the encoded messages in the form of output signals. The encoded messages include a first encoded message having a first number of positions and a second encoded message having a second number of positions, the first number of positions being smaller than the second number of positions. In this case, at least one of the encoded messages may be provided with an error-correction code.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 8, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 8, 2001
    Assignee: Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventors: Gerhard Schmid, Walter Baumgartner, Michael Köppl, Stefan Hermann
  • Patent number: 6225894
    Abstract: A roll-over detector for vehicles includes a first accelerometer mounted on a first axle of the vehicle, a second accelerometer mounted on a second axle of the vehicle, and a third accelerometer mounted on a third axle of the vehicle. A controller compares data received from the first and second accelerometers and actuates a safety device to prevent a roll-over condition if the differences between the data exceed a predetermined value. The controller utilizes data from the third accelerometer to account for the effect of road conditions on the variations between the data from the first and second accelerometers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 24, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 1, 2001
    Assignee: Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems, LLC
    Inventor: Christos T. Kyrtsos
  • Patent number: 6209913
    Abstract: An industrial vehicle including an axle to which wheels are mounted and supported to pivot vertically relative to a body of the vehicle. The vehicle includes a pivot control apparatus for controlling pivoting of the axle. The industrial vehicle further includes a controller for determining whether an abnormality has occurred in the pivot control apparatus. A warning lamp having two or more different modes is located in the cabin. The modes include an abnormality mode for indicating the occurrence of an abnormality in the pivot control apparatus and a normality mode for indicating normal functioning of the pivot control apparatus. The controller also notifies the operator of two or more additional different pieces of information using the modes of the warning lamp. That is, the single warning lamp also indicates the reason for restricting the axle by its color.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 2, 1998
    Date of Patent: April 3, 2001
    Assignee: Kabushiki Kaisha Toyoda Jidoshokki Seisakusho
    Inventors: Kazuo Ishikawa, Kuniharu Nogawa
  • Patent number: 6212455
    Abstract: A roll sensor system for a land vehicle is provided to determine when a vehicle roll condition has occurred and to trigger a safety system in response to that determination. In certain embodiments, an angular rate sensor is used to obtain an angular rate and, from the angular rate, an angle relative to the roll axis of the land vehicle. If the angular rate and the angle correspond to a safety system activation event, the roll sensor system will provide a trigger signal to the safety system. In some embodiments, the system includes an incline sensor to aid in detecting and compensating for drift in the output of the angular rate sensor. In other embodiments the output of an angular rate sensor is used to validate the output of the incline sensor to aid in determining whether a vehicle safety system trigger event has occurred.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 3, 1998
    Date of Patent: April 3, 2001
    Assignee: Indiana Mills & Manufacturing, Inc.
    Inventor: Ralph M. Weaver
  • Patent number: 6208240
    Abstract: In a disclosed embodiment, a steering axle wheel assembly for a vehicle is provided with a system for actively sensing and alerting a vehicle user of wheel misalignment. The wheel assembly includes an elongated tie rod extending between two wheels and a rotatable knuckle system connecting each wheel to a respective end of the tie rod. A steer angle, that is, the angle of a wheel with respect to an axle, is monitored. When the steer angle is significant, result in a tensile or compressive force is provided on the tie rod. This force on the tie rod is small when the steer angle is small. The tie rod is provided with a system to measure the force. An alerting system is provided which alerts a vehicle user when significant tensile or compressive force on the tie rod is measured, and the steer angle is small. Thus, a vehicle user is actively alerted of wheel misalignment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 7, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 27, 2001
    Assignee: Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems, LLC
    Inventor: Ragnar H. Ledesma
  • Patent number: 6204773
    Abstract: A drive line vibration sensor includes a mercury switch, a controller, and a warning device. The mercury switch is preferably positioned such that it is minimally affected by radial acceleration yet remains sensitive to longitudinal accelerations along the longitudinal axis of a drive line. To minimize the affect of radial acceleration, the mercury switch is attached to the drive line such that the mercury switch is tilted relative to the longitudinal axis such that the radial acceleration of the drive line does not activate the mercury switch. If the mercury switch experiences a predetermined acceleration, the controller identifies that the mercury switch is activated and the controller then awakes and activates a transmitter, such as a radio frequency (RF) transmitter to send a signal to a remote warning device such as a warning light.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 16, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 20, 2001
    Assignee: Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems, LLC
    Inventor: Christos T. Kyrtsos
  • Patent number: 6157295
    Abstract: A method and an apparatus determine the frequency or the period of the natural characteristic oscillation of a vehicle, and therefrom determine the mass of the vehicle and provide a warning if a dangerous oscillation condition exists which could lead to a tipping or rollover of the vehicle. The evaluation is carried out while the vehicle is driving. The apparatus includes a sensor such as a rotation rate sensor, a timer, an evaluating unit, and a warning unit. The method involves measuring the time interval between two characteristic features of the oscillation measured by the sensor, such as zero crossings, minimum points or maximum points of the angular velocity of the oscillation, and then calculating the period and/or the frequency of the oscillation from the measured time interval. Then the moment of inertia and/or the mass of the vehicle can be determined from the period or frequency.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 24, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 5, 2000
    Assignee: DaimlerChrysler AG
    Inventors: Peter Steiner, Guido Wetzel, Michael Bischoff
  • Patent number: 6140933
    Abstract: A rearview mirror assembly is disclosed for use in a vehicle that includes a mirror housing, a mounting structure for pivotally mounting the mirror housing to the vehicle such that the mirror housing may be both vertically and horizontally tilted, a compass sensor disposed in the mirror housing and coupled to a compass processing circuit, and a tilt detector for detecting when the mirror housing has been tilted from a prior position and for generating and transmitting a tilt detection signal to the compass processing circuit. The compass processing circuit may then respond to the reception of the tilt detecting signal by compensating the compass reading and/or display or by recalibrating the compass.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 31, 2000
    Assignee: Gentex Corporation
    Inventors: Mark D. Bugno, Jon H. Bechtel, Frederick T. Bauer, Donald L. Tapley, Timothy A. Bonardi, Robert R. Turnbull
  • Patent number: 6130608
    Abstract: This invention relates to a device mountable within a vehicle and connectable to a power source to monitor and warn drivers of the lateral g-forces being experienced by the vehicle during use. The device comprises an accelerometer means comprising an accelerometer chip capable of measuring the lateral g-forces between 0 and 1 g-force units experienced by a vehicle upon mounting the device in the vehicle by providing a signal output indicative of the lateral g-force experienced; adjustment means adjustable by the operator of the vehicle for varying the signal output from the accelerometer means; measuring means for measuring the signal output emitted from the adjustment means; and indicator means for indicating to the driver when the mounted vehicle experiences lateral g-forces of a magnitude programmed by the adjustment means.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 25, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 10, 2000
    Assignee: Stephen Lyle McKeown
    Inventors: Stephen Lyle McKeown, Jon Philip Sheaff
  • Patent number: 6121873
    Abstract: A device is proposed to provide electrical signals indicating four parameters such as the so-called vehicle speed, yaw rate, lateral acceleration and roll rate a vehicle body by using three parameter detection means such as a vehicle speed sensor, a turn rate sensor and a transverse acceleration sensor, or to provide electrical signals indicating three parameters such as the so-called yaw rate, roll rate and lateral acceleration of a vehicle by using two transverse acceleration sensors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 8, 1999
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2000
    Assignee: Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventors: Yoshihisa Yamada, Hirotada Otake
  • Patent number: 6104284
    Abstract: A control circuit determines that a vehicle is in a turning mode. A roll rate sensor then detects the roll rate (RR) and determines whether or not the roll rate exceeds a threshold value. If it is determined that the roll rate does exceed the threshold value, then it is determined that the vehicle is in a roll over state if the relationship between the sideways acceleration (Gy) and the roll angle (RA) falls inside the roll over determining area of a determining map stored in advance in the control circuit. Accordingly, the roll over state of the vehicle is detected early.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 14, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 15, 2000
    Assignee: Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Takuya Otsuka
  • Patent number: 6100797
    Abstract: To assure that the safety device is triggered at the right time in the event of a lateral collision of the vehicle with a curb, a first comparing device (1) compares a rotation rate (.omega.x) measured relative to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle, or a variable derived from this rotation rate, with a rotation rate threshold value. A second comparing device (2) compares an acceleration (ay), measured in the direction of the transverse axis of the vehicle, with a lateral acceleration threshold value. If both threshold comparing device (1, 2) simultaneously signal that their threshold values are being exceeded, a trigger signal (as1) for the safety device is output.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 6, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 8, 2000
    Assignee: Robert Bosch GmbH
    Inventors: Bernhard Mattes, Volker Breunig, Michael Henne, Lothar Groesch
  • Patent number: 6094132
    Abstract: A system for monitoring spinout conditions in a heavy vehicle driveline provides the ability to monitor the manner in which a driver operates a vehicle. For example, spin out conditions that occur with greater frequency than is normally expected indicates an inappropriate manner of operating the vehicle. Similarly, spinouts that have relatively excessive duration indicate inappropriate vehicle operation. The system includes a sensor device for detecting a spinout condition and a detector for detecting whether a differential lock has been engaged by the vehicle operator. An electronic controller gathers information from the sensor device and the detector and records information regarding each spinout including the frequency and duration. This information is then later provided to a service technician to determine whether the vehicle warranty provisions have been violated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 6, 1999
    Date of Patent: July 25, 2000
    Assignee: Meritor Heavy Vehicle Systems, LLC
    Inventor: Dennis A. Kramer
  • Patent number: 6055472
    Abstract: In order to allow for a timely and reliable recognition of a rollover event of a vehicle, the angular velocities of the vehicle about the yaw axis, the roll axis, and the pitch axis are measured by way of respective rotation rate sensors. A rollover event is signaled as having been detected if an angular velocity exceeds a definable threshold.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 11, 1998
    Date of Patent: April 25, 2000
    Assignee: Robert Bosch GmbH
    Inventors: Volker Breunig, Joachim Bauer, Hans-Peter Lang
  • Patent number: 6043737
    Abstract: A tire monitoring and warning assembly 10 which monitors and measures attributes or characteristics of at least one of the selectively inflatable tires 14-20 of a vehicle 12 and which compares the obtained measurements with a stored value which represents a value of the attribute or characteristic occurring or existing when the at least one tire 14-20 is desirably inflated, and which, based upon the comparison, warns the driver if the at least one of the tires 14-20 is deflated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 1999
    Date of Patent: March 28, 2000
    Inventors: Mark Alan Shehan, Dale Scott Crombez, Patrick Joseph Curran, Kevin Michael Bullister
  • Patent number: 6038495
    Abstract: A rollover sensing apparatus and method are provided for predicting rollover and/or pitchover conditions of a vehicle. An angular rate sensor senses attitude rate of the vehicle and an accelerometer measures vertical acceleration of the vehicle. A current attitude angle is estimated by integration, and a future attitude angle is predicted at an advance time as a function of the estimated current attitude angle and sensed attitude rate. The predicted attitude angle is compared to a threshold and an output is produced for indicating a predicted vehicle rollover condition based on the comparison. A vehicle rollover condition about the longitudinal axis of the vehicle is predicted by comparing a future roll angle to a rollover angle threshold, while a pitchover condition about the lateral axis of a vehicle is predicted by comparing a future pitch angle to a pitch angle threshold.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 6, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 14, 2000
    Assignee: Delco Electronics Corporation
    Inventor: Jan Konried Schiffmann
  • Patent number: 6034594
    Abstract: A warning device to warn drivers of two wheeled vehicles of an approaching critical angle is disclosed. The warning device may include a sensing device and a separate signaling device. The sensing device may be a pendulum, bubble within a tube of fluid, a proximity sensor, or a mechanical whisker. The signaling device may be a buzzer, beeper, or lighted bulb. The sensing device sends a signal to the signaling device when a predetermined angle, greater than the critical angle, is reached so that the operator has time to react to the information prior to the vehicle tipping or contacting the ground. The warning device may be attachable to a bar of the vehicle or placed atop the vehicle and Is preferably easily installed by the motorcycle owner/driver. A method for warning a driver is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 20, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 7, 2000
    Inventor: William R. Gray
  • Patent number: 6032094
    Abstract: To prevent toppling of a construction machine where a plurality of operating tools are provided on a single mobile platform, a control section detects the cylinder axial forces, joint angles and relative angle of rotation for a plurality of operating tools provided rotatably on a single mobile platform, and a moment calculator calculates a composite moment for the plurality of operating tools on the basis of these detection results and further calculates a stability value relating to toppling, from this composite moment and a reference moment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 28, 1998
    Date of Patent: February 29, 2000
    Assignee: Komatsu Ltd.
    Inventors: Kunikazu Yanagi, Hiroshi Yoshinada, Naritoshi Ohtsukasa, Kenji Okamura
  • Patent number: 6023220
    Abstract: A vehicle having a scanning system for zero contact scanning of one or several mutually spaced road areas and having an analyzing system connected behind the scanning system. The analyzing unit is equipped for determining the roll-over angle, the roll-over moment, the vehicle load condition and/or the road condition via measured data detected and supplied by the scanning system. The resulting data is particularly suitable for the early determination of dangerous influences on the driving dynamics of a vehicle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 1, 1998
    Date of Patent: February 8, 2000
    Assignee: DaimlerChrysler AG
    Inventors: Guenter Dobler, Siegfried Rothe
  • Patent number: 6002974
    Abstract: A rollover sensing apparatus and method are provided for predicting rollover or pitchover conditions of a vehicle. The apparatus and method sense angular roll rate, angular pitch rate, longitudinal acceleration, lateral acceleration, and vertical acceleration of the vehicle and produce output signals indicative thereof. A non-linear filter, such as an extended Kalman filter, estimates a current roll angle and a current pitch angle as a function of the sensed signals. A predictor predicts a future roll angle as a function of the estimated current roll angle and the sensed roll rate, and further predicts a future pitch angle as a function of the estimated current pitch angle and the sensed pitch rate. The predicted roll and pitch attitude angles are compared to a threshold value and a vehicle overturn condition signal is output to indicate a predicted vehicle rollover or pitchover condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 6, 1998
    Date of Patent: December 14, 1999
    Assignee: Delco Electronics Corporation
    Inventor: Jan Konried Schiffmann
  • Patent number: 5995001
    Abstract: A fork lift truck capacity monitor or alerting device informs operators of the weight on the forks and fork height and alerts operators whenever truck speed is above creep with the forks raised above a collapsed height or whenever the forks are raised above a recommended height for a given load. The alerting device includes a control circuit that receives inputs from a speed sensor, a fork height sensor and a weight sensor and reads a memory storing data correlating load weights with maximum recommended fork heights. A truck icon is displayed on a display panel. A plurality of height zone lamps representing the weight of the load on the forks are arranged in a vertical column over the truck icon and selectively illuminated according to the load on the forks.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 1, 1998
    Date of Patent: November 30, 1999
    Assignee: Crown Equipment Corporation
    Inventors: Timothy A. Wellman, Daniel C. Magoto
  • Patent number: 5990787
    Abstract: An apparatus for warning a loading excess of vehicle includes: a motion conversion mechanism which is mounted to a lower arm rotatably mounted in a body of a vehicle, and converts a motion of the lower arm by a drooping body to a rotational motion; a rotation disc which rotates by receiving a torque from the motion conversion mechanism, and has two slit holes whose lengths are different from each other along a circumference; an overload sensing device for sensing an overload through a medium of the slit holes of the rotation disc; and an attention calling device which are operated by selectively receiving a power supply through the overload sensing device, and calls the driver's attention to the overload.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 17, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 23, 1999
    Assignee: Hyundai Motor Company
    Inventor: Young-Own Kim
  • Patent number: 5969594
    Abstract: A device for indicating the level of the axle of a vehicle having a reference mark indicator which follows the level of the vehicle axle is arranged fixedly connected on the axle of the vehicle and changes its position as a result of the change in level. An electric signal which corresponds to the level of the axle is obtained from a resistance network which is firmly attached to the body of the vehicle. In a level indicator which operates with little wear, is economical to manufacture, and nevertheless is of high accuracy, the resistance network has, associated with it, a contact structure which, under the action of a magnet device which is movable by the change in position of the reference mark indicator, can be deflected in the manner that an electrical connection which is dependent on the level of the axle is produced.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 14, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 19, 1999
    Assignee: Mannesmann VDO AG
    Inventors: Lothar Gier, Werner Wallrafen
  • Patent number: 5966072
    Abstract: A method and apparatus by which a graph can be used to invoke computations directly. Methods get information into and out of individual processes represented on a graph, move information between the processes, and define a running order for the processes. An application writer informs a system incorporating the invention how processes should access necessary data. The invention adds "adaptor processes", if necessary, to assist in getting information into and out of processes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 12, 1999
    Assignee: Ab Initio Software Corporation
    Inventors: Craig W. Stanfill, Clifford A. Lasser, Robert D. Lordi
  • Patent number: 5963128
    Abstract: A system which monitors a vehicle's tire pressures and displays real-time pressure values on a dashboard display while the vehicle is on the road. An electronic unit with pressure sensor, roll switch, reed switch, tilt switch, battery and control electronic, mounted to the valve stem inside each tire uses the pressure sensor to periodically measure the tire pressure, and uses a transmitter to transmit the measured pressure values, via RF transmission, to a dashboard mounted receiver. The receiver controls a display which indicates to the driver the real-time tire pressure in each wheel. the display also indicates an alarm condition when the tire pressure falls below certain predefined thresholds. The pressure values are compensated for temperature changes inside the tire, and also may be compensated for altitude changes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 17, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 5, 1999
    Assignee: Schrader-Bridgeport International, Inc.
    Inventor: Stephen McClelland
  • Patent number: 5959365
    Abstract: The present invention relates to an apparatus to provide a monitoring device for detecting problems associated with the wheels of trucks and trailers. The apparatus comprises one or more individual axle spindle sensors, a programmable micro processor for receiving and processing the sensor signals to detect an alarm condition and alarm means to alert the driver of a problem with one or more of the wheels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 12, 1998
    Date of Patent: September 28, 1999
    Inventors: John Mantini, Ken Adams, Sam Chia
  • Patent number: 5912439
    Abstract: An on-board system for safety control in a vehicle, the vehicle including a plurality of axles and a plurality of load bearing units and wheels arranged on both sides of each of the axles and therefore on both sides of the vehicle, the system comprising (a) load sensors, each of the load sensors being associated with one of the plurality of load bearing units, each of the load sensors being for generating an input signal proportional to an actual load being imposed on its respective load bearing unit, thereby serving for measuring the actual load; and (b) a control unit, the control unit being in data communication with each of the sensors, such that the control unit collects the input signals, the control unit including (i) a first summing unit for summing the input signals and for generating a total load output signal being proportional to a sum of the actual loads imposed on all of the load bearing units; and (ii) a first comparator for comparing the total load output signal with a threshold total load val
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 28, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 15, 1999
    Inventors: Oded Eran, Ilan Gonen
  • Patent number: 5912616
    Abstract: A jackknife warning system for a trailered vehicle. A rotation sensor, mounted to a chassis of a tractor, engages an underside of a semi-detached trailer and senses rotation of the trailer with respect to the tractor. A pressure sensor senses pressure applied to a set of brakes for the vehicle. When rotation of the trailer reaches a first setpoint, and pressure applied to the brakes reaches a second setpoint, an alarm is emitted. The alarm can either be a right alarm or a left alarm, depending on if the vehicle is jackknifing to the right or to the left. The brake pressure setpoint can be adjusted by the driver based on the load being carried or on road conditions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 15, 1999
    Inventor: Joseph A. Valentino
  • Patent number: 5907278
    Abstract: A sensor assembly for measuring characteristics of motor oil in a vehicle includes a housing adapted to be mechanically coupled to a vehicle for receiving motor oil of the vehicle and at least one capacitive sensor including sensing electrodes positioned relative to the housing to measure characteristics of motor oil between the sensing electrodes. The sensing electrodes are coated with a soot build-up inhibiting coating which, in a preferred embodiment, is a silicone coating. The at least one capacitive sensor include an oil level sensor and an oil deterioration sensor in a preferred embodiment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 16, 1998
    Date of Patent: May 25, 1999
    Assignee: Kavlico Corporation
    Inventors: Kyong M. Park, Nhan Nguyen, Marcos A. Nassar
  • Patent number: 5900810
    Abstract: A sensor assembly includes a tilt sensor, an oil level sensor, an oil temperature sensor and an oil deterioration sensor, as well as associated output signal conditioning electronics integrated within a common assembly. The sensor assembly is configured to receive a volume of motor oil proportional to a total volume of oil in an engine. The oil level sensor, oil temperature sensor and oil deterioration sensors include electrodes which are completely or partially immersed in the volume of motor oil depending upon the total volume of oil in the engine. The tilt sensor includes only two electrodes both of which are at least partially immersed within a controlled volume of dielectric fluid which is physically and electrically isolated from the volume of motor oil. One of the electrodes of the tilt sensor is completely immersed in the controlled volume of dielectric fluid independent of an angle of the tilt sensor relative to a vector representing forces such as gravity applied to the tilt sensor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 17, 1996
    Date of Patent: May 4, 1999
    Assignee: Kavlico Corporation
    Inventors: Kyong M Park, Phuoc Vinh Le, Marcos A. Nassar
  • Patent number: 5844474
    Abstract: A weight overload alarm is provided including a plurality of shock absorbers with at least one having a limit switch. The limit switch is adapted to transmit an actuation signal upon the detection of an excessive weight on the vehicle. A light and an audible alarm are included for actuating upon the receipt of the actuation signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 3, 1997
    Date of Patent: December 1, 1998
    Inventors: Brian Jay Saling, Nanci Ann Saling
  • Patent number: 5841345
    Abstract: A two-way communication device includes a central processing unit, a power source in electrical communication with the central processing unit, and a transmitter/receiver unit capable of transmitting and receiving electromagnetic signals. The transmitter/receiver unit is also in electrical communication with the central processing unit. A display, connected to the central processing unit, is capable of displaying messages. A key pad, also in electrical communication with the central processing unit, has a plurality of keys, each of which are capable of generating a specific message. An emergency detecting component, in electrical communication with the central processing unit, is capable of detecting a specific emergency and relating information about the emergency to the central processing unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 9, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 24, 1998
    Inventor: Howard J. Kestenberg
  • Patent number: 5825284
    Abstract: A system uses multiple tilt sensors mounted to the vehicle frame and the vehicle suspension system to detect lateral acceleration and lateral load transfer. The system uses these measurements to determine a lateral load transfer ratio indicative of an actual roll moment compared to a maximum roll moment. The measurements from the tilt sensors are also used to calculate an effective center of gravity height. A display coupled to the system provides the vehicle operator with a read out of the load transfer ratio and effective center of gravity height. The display enables the vehicle operator to more completely understand the nature of the vehicle load and thereby allow the vehicle operator to avoid conditions likely to lead to a vehicle rollover accident.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 10, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 20, 1998
    Assignee: Rollover Operations, LLC
    Inventors: Andrew B. Dunwoody, Donald S. Stern
  • Patent number: 5786751
    Abstract: A system for monitoring the alignment of the wheels, such as the front wheels, that control the steering of a vehicle is provided. The system includes a pair of alignment sensing devices that extend between each steering arm and a tie rod coupled to the arm, of the vehicle's steering assembly. The sensing devices include a pair of concentric tubes retained in a slidable relationship and an alignment sensing system. After the wheels are aligned, the tubes are coupled to the steering assembly and are slid relative to each other, until the sensing system indicates that the tubes are aligned, thus indicating that the wheels are aligned. The sensing system is activated whenever desired by an operator of the vehicle. The sensing system provides a first signal to indicate that the front wheels are aligned and a second signal to indicate that at the front wheels are not aligned.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 27, 1995
    Date of Patent: July 28, 1998
    Assignee: Aydius, Inc.
    Inventor: Guy M. Robby
  • Patent number: 5767767
    Abstract: A system and method are disclosed for providing an on board sensor for determining the relative position of linkage members in an automobile linkage which connects a wheel to an automobile body. The sensor includes a trackable object which is configured to be physically coupled to a first linkage member. A tracking device that is suitable for association with a second linkage member is configured to be magnetically coupled to the trackable object so that the movements of the trackable object are tracked by the tracking device as a result of the magnetic coupling between the trackable object and the tracking device. A detector is configured to determine the position of the tracking device so that the determined position of the tracking device associated with the second linkage member determines the position of the first linkage member which is physically coupled to the trackable object.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 14, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 16, 1998
    Assignee: Aydius, Inc.
    Inventors: Tony M. Lima, Guy M. Robby
  • Patent number: 5742228
    Abstract: A system for preventing the overturning of the bin of a tipper truck during the raising of the bin for purposes of unloading includes a lateral level sensor to sense the lateral orientation of the tipper truck, and a longitudinal level sensor for sensing the longitudinal inclination of the bin. A processor processes the outputs of the lateral and longitudinal level sensors to derive a measure of risk of overturning. The system also includes a display for displaying an indication responsive to the measure of risk. The processor preferably processes the output of the lateral level sensor to calculate a rate of change of lateral inclination of the tipper truck. Optionally, a mechanism may be provided for interrupting the raising of the bin, the mechanism being responsive to the processor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 4, 1996
    Date of Patent: April 21, 1998
    Assignee: Litan Advanced Instrumentation Ltd.
    Inventor: Nisim Levy
  • Patent number: 5719554
    Abstract: A driving behavior monitoring system mountable within a vehicle and having a board member on which are mounted first and second accelerometer devices for measuring acceleration in mutually orthogonal directions. Each accelerometer device includes an arm member in the form of a generally L-shaped crank or elbow. The crank is pivotable at the elbow joint thereof, and one arm of the crank is provided with a weight at the end thereof with the other arm having the free end thereof attached to one end of a tension spring, the other end of which is fixedly attached to the board member. A pair of electrical switch contacts are positioned in spaced relation on either side of the spring, with each contact being placed at approximately the same distance from the axial centerline of the spring. Movement of the weight translates to deflection of the spring in a direction orthogonal to its axis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 24, 1997
    Date of Patent: February 17, 1998
    Inventor: Richard B. Gagnon
  • Patent number: 5684456
    Abstract: A tilt-sensor for detection of a tilt angle is proposed, in particular for use as a roll-over sensor in a car for activation of an occupant protection device, comprising a massive body and an associated receptacle and having the following features: the receptacle is V-shaped in form, an inflection arm is disposed at each inner side of each of the two legs of the V-shaped receptacle, the massive body is configured in such a fashion that it seats, flush with the surface, on the inflection arms at the inner side of the V-shaped receptacle, and extension measurement elements are provided for the production of a tilt-angle dependent measuring signal to measure the deformation caused by the massive body during a rotation or deflection of the tilt-sensor through the tilt angle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 18, 1996
    Date of Patent: November 4, 1997
    Assignee: Temic Telefunken Microelectronic GmbH
    Inventor: Joachim Walter
  • Patent number: 5613571
    Abstract: A rotational speed/tip sensor combines a tip sensor and a speed sensor in one compact package for use on a motorcycle. The tip sensor includes a disk and a sensing device that detects the absence or presence of the disk in the apex of a V-groove. If the motorcycle tips over, the disk rolls out of the V-groove apex and actuates the tip sensing device to open a circuit through a speed sensing device and thereby shut down the motorcycle engine. The tip and speed sensors are assembled to a housing that is mounted to the engine. Only three wires are used to connect both the tip sensing device and the speed sensing device to the engine control.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 26, 1995
    Date of Patent: March 25, 1997
    Assignee: Harley-Davidson, Inc.
    Inventors: David B. Rank, Mark L. Clymer, Glenn Graves
  • Patent number: 5554969
    Abstract: A diagnosing apparatus and method for determining an occurrence of failure in a rear road wheel steering angle sensor of a motor-driven four wheel steering system of an automotive vehicle which can achieve a highly accurate detection of the occurrence of failure in the single rear road wheel steering angle sensor at an appropriate timing irrespective of a sensor failure mode. The detection of failure in the rear road wheel steering angle sensor is carried out on the basis of whether a target deviation between a rear road wheel steering angle sensor value and a target rear road wheel steering angle exceeds a predetermined deviation value and whether a generation time duration during which the target deviation exceeds the predetermined deviation value has continued over a predetermined period of time. In addition, the detection of failure in the rear road wheel steering angle sensor is carried out on the basis of whether an accumulated value of a rear road wheel steering angle estimated deviation .intg..DELTA..
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 23, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 10, 1996
    Assignee: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
    Inventor: Takaaki Eguchi
  • Patent number: 5548273
    Abstract: An apparatus for monitoring operation a vehicle apparatus includes sensors for sensing G-forces on the vehicle and for generating output signals proportional to a forward G-force, a reverse G-force, a left direction G-force, and a right direction G-force on the vehicle. The apparatus permits an authorized user to set a selected maximum G-force limit for each direction. The apparatus stores G-force output signals generated by the sensors which are higher than the maximum selected limit for each direction. An oven heats each sensor to a substantially constant predetermined temperature, thereby improving the accuracy of the output signals from the sensor upon fluctuation of an ambient temperature adjacent the apparatus. The apparatus detects when the apparatus has been disconnected from a power supply to alert an owner of the vehicle that the vehicle may have been driven without the monitoring apparatus in operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 11, 1995
    Date of Patent: August 20, 1996
    Assignee: Competition Components International Pty Ltd
    Inventors: Geoffrey P. Nicol, Brian E. Kratz, Allen J. Studer
  • Patent number: 5532672
    Abstract: A vehicle tilt alarm system including a tilt angle responsive switch having a pendulum that can swing to make contact with conductive bolts provided on either side of the pendulum's pivot point. The amount of the protrusion of the bolts into the pendulum housing can be adjusted, thereby allowing the user to set the angle of vehicle tilt at which the switch will activate the alarm system. The switch is incorporated in an circuit including an alarm device such as a buzzer or flashing light. The alarm system is mounted on a vehicle whereby the tilting of the vehicle past a predetermined angle will activate the alarm system, thus informing the vehicle operator that the vehicle is dangerously close to rolling over.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 28, 1994
    Date of Patent: July 2, 1996
    Inventor: James J. Plazarin