Docking Guidance Patents (Class 340/958)
  • Patent number: 5680125
    Abstract: The acceptability of the steering angle between the nose wheel of an aircraft and the longitudinal axis of the aircraft during transportation of the aircraft on the ground using a wheeled vehicle (with or without a tow bar) is provided. The wheeled vehicle has a source of collimated radiation (such as a laser beam emitting unit, or an LED or other light source with a lens and/or aperture system) which directs a beam on a surface of the aircraft having at least two significantly different collimated radiation reflecting areas (e.g. a light material arc bounded by dark material marks). In response to radiation from the collimated beam, or lack thereof, reflected from the surface of the aircraft back to a receiver on the wheeled vehicle, it can be determined if the nose wheel steering angle is within an acceptable range (typically no more than between about, which would damage the nose wheel).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 17, 1996
    Date of Patent: October 21, 1997
    Inventors: Bo Elfstrom, Sten Lofving
  • Patent number: 5675661
    Abstract: An aircraft docking system is installed at a point of convenience within the dock in full view of the approaching aircraft and in view of the pilot, and has a display which is readily seen by the pilot through the cockpit windshield as the aircraft proceeds along a taxiway and during a turning of the aircraft from the taxiway into the dock. Operation of the docking system is based on the use of feature extraction templates of three-dimensional images of candidate aircraft for the dock. An image of the approaching aircraft is obtained by use of ranging circuitry of an optical laser radar. By comparing the image with the rotated and scaled model, the image can be interpreted to show the present location and orientation of the approaching aircraft. As the image is updated by the radar, the aircraft travel path, as represented by successive locations and orientations of the aircraft, is determined and is compared with the required travel path for the specific aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 12, 1995
    Date of Patent: October 7, 1997
    Assignee: Northrop Grumman Corporation
    Inventors: Dennis C. Richman, Daniel C. Lorti, Bradley D. Ostman, Rolf Krumes, Eden Y. Mei, Gilberto Di Benedetto
  • Patent number: 5530650
    Abstract: A visual guidance system and method includes a subsystem which both locates the aircraft and mating structures thereof and also determines their motion and their rate of change of motion. The locating subsystem has an electrical output which feeds the location and motion data to a guidance system computer which utilizes software which combines the data with other data in a database containing the dimensional size and configuration of the aircraft and mating structures. The combined data is converted to a suitable form and fed to the computer monitor which displays the aircraft and mating structures thereof in real time during the refueling operation. The computer and computer monitor are provided with image controls which allow the operator to select the perspective viewing angle as well as the image contrast and color in order to enhance the visual cues provided by the image and facilitate the refueling operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 1994
    Date of Patent: June 25, 1996
    Assignee: McDonnell Douglas Corp.
    Inventors: Michael A. Biferno, Craig H. Durck
  • Patent number: 5516252
    Abstract: An aircraft extending along a longitudinal aircraft axis and having a nose wheel pivotal about an upright wheel axis can be maneuvered by a tractor extending along a longitudinal tractor axis and adapted to engage the nose wheel of the aircraft. The tractor and aircraft axes can extend at an angle to each other that should not exceed a predetermined maximum turnout angle. A turnout protection system has structure on the aircraft that is directed generally perpendicular of the aircraft axis and that is only directed toward the tractor when the aircraft and tractor axes extend generally at the maximum turnout angle relative to each other. At least one electronic sensor on the tractor directed toward the aircraft detects the structure when the aircraft and tractor axes extend generally at the maximum turnout angle relative to each other. A controller on the tractor takes action, e.g.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 24, 1994
    Date of Patent: May 14, 1996
    Assignee: Krauss Maffei Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventors: Erwin Francke, Peter Molzer
  • Patent number: 5508697
    Abstract: The present invention relates to an airplane detection system to surely detect an airplane moving along a runway or a taxiway. The system employs a wheel detection sensor for providing a wheel detected output when emitted electromagnetic waves are blocked by the wheels of the airplane and a fuselage detection sensor for providing a fuselage detected output when receiving the reflection of the emitted electromagnetic waves from the fuselage of the airplane. According to the output signals from both the sensors, the system detects the airplane.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 19, 1993
    Date of Patent: April 16, 1996
    Assignee: Nippon Signal Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Masakazu Kato, Masayoshi Sakai, Koichi Futsuhara, Kiyoaki Inaba
  • Patent number: 5340060
    Abstract: A rendezvous docking optical sensor system for calculating a coordinate position/attitude of chaser and target satellites in accordance with simple calculation equations without performing a complex process such as an image process so as to allow a high-speed calculation process and for realizing a high-reliability system which does not require a high-speed CPU. In the target satellite, a light source is provided which has a function whereby the entire visual field is scanned with a knife edge having edges orthogonal to each other, and in the chaser satellite, a plurality of detectors are provided which form a pattern. Further, there are provided a processing circuit, a computer and a control section which measure the light-transmitting and light-shielding timings of the knife edge so as to calculate and control the coordinate position/attitude of the satellites.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 7, 1992
    Date of Patent: August 23, 1994
    Assignee: Mitsubishi Denki Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Osamu Shindo
  • Patent number: 5291195
    Abstract: A docking target (10) includes three concentric circles (C1, C2, C3) each comprising a plurality of different color light emitting diodes (D1, D2, D3) spaced about the circumference of each circle (C1, C2, C3). During vehicle approach, each circle appears initially as a light spot, then a continuous ring of light and finally a plurality of independent light points at defined distances of the vehicle (14) from the station (12) so that the operator can determine distance of the vehicle (14) to the target (10). The light emitting diodes (D1, D2, D3) on each circle, when visible, provide attitude information of the vehicle (14) with respect to the station (12) by the intensities of the light emitting diodes (D1, D2, D3) and the geometric shape produced thereby so that the operator can adjust the attitude of the vehicle (14) with respect to the station (12).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 10, 1992
    Date of Patent: March 1, 1994
    Assignee: H. Koch & Sons Co.
    Inventor: H. Gerald Gross
  • Patent number: 5285205
    Abstract: A vehicle guidance and positioning system utilizing a laser, the emitted beam from which is directed over the path along which a vehicle is to be guided. The laser beam impinges on a target area located on the vehicle in such a manner that the impingement of the laser beam on the target is continuously observable by the vehicle's operator. The operator steers the vehicle so that the laser beam continuously impinges on the target area until the vehicle reaches a preselected position in a confined space such a garage, a drive-through service lane, a loading dock and the like.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 16, 1990
    Date of Patent: February 8, 1994
    Inventor: Bernard H. White
  • Patent number: 5166746
    Abstract: A plurality of image pickup devices are set on the ground to pick up images of an anti-collision light located on an aircraft to be guided. A position reference producing section produces a signal representing a position reference of the aircraft in accordance with picked-up image signals from the plurality of image pickup devices. A display data producing section produces at least one of direction information and distance information as guidance information to be provided to pilots of the aircraft in accordance with the signal representing the position reference of the aircraft which is supplied from the position reference producing section. A display unit displays at least one of the direction information and distance information from the display data producing section at a position on the ground where the pilots can see and recognize the information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 23, 1991
    Date of Patent: November 24, 1992
    Assignees: Toshiba Electronic Systems Co., Ltd., Ana Motor Service Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Tetsuo Sato, Susumu Muranaka
  • Patent number: 5045834
    Abstract: A warning device provides a plurality of signals as a trailer or other movable object approaches a dock or other stationary object to prevent impact which could cause damage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 3, 1989
    Date of Patent: September 3, 1991
    Inventor: Wesley H. Hutchcraft
  • Patent number: 5027114
    Abstract: A ground guidance system for airplanes in which loop coils of a predetermined shape are continuously buried in a specific section of a taxiway for airplanes, an airplane is continuously detected based on changes of self-inductances of the loop coils with movement of the airplane while discriminating airplanes from other objects and admission or inhibition of advance in the specific section to a subsequent airplane according to the presence or absence of the airplane in the specific section and which has a fail-safe structure not generating an output at the time of a system or circuit failure or accident.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 15, 1988
    Date of Patent: June 25, 1991
    Inventors: Kiroshi Kawashima, Koichi Futsuhara, Fumio Wada
  • Patent number: 4994681
    Abstract: The device includes a source of laser radiation for emitting a beam of planar and thin section in a sector having an angle of divergence adapted to the possibilities of displacement of the moving body, in a plane parallel to the plane of displacement of the moving body. A camera is reponsive to the reflection of the laser radiation from, for example, a point on the front set of wheels of an aircraft. A calculating device responsive to data received from the camera determines the distance and the azimuth of this point relative to a fixed reference, and a display device controlled by the calculating device informs the operator or the pilot of the position of the moving body.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 6, 1989
    Date of Patent: February 19, 1991
    Assignee: Societe d'Etudes et d'Enterprises Electriques (S.E.E.E.)
    Inventor: Charles Mann
  • Patent number: 4808997
    Abstract: The position indicating device is employed to assist in parking and otherwise positioning a vehicle on a supporting surface. A photoelectric control unit is mounted on an overhead structure spaced above the supporting surface and has a beam emitting device for directing a light beam downwardly for interception by the vehicle, while minimizing the likelihood of interception by pedestrians, pet animals and other moving things. The light beam is initially reflected back to a photoelectric transducer on the control unit by a reflective device or mirror. The light beam is pulsed so that the transducer supplies electrical pulses to an amplifier which is correspondingly gated. When the light beam is interrupted by the vehicle, the amplifier produces a beam interruption output signal which causes a one-shot timer to energize an alarm device, through an output relay. The operator then stops the vehicle in the desired position. The one-shot timer de-energizes the alarm device after a brief interval.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 21, 1987
    Date of Patent: February 28, 1989
    Inventors: George J. Barkley, Roberta Barkley
  • Patent number: 4763125
    Abstract: A passive type forward/aft indicator for mounting on an aircraft refueling tanker. The indicator providing the appearance of an ascending liquid thermometer for guiding an aircraft to be refueled. The indicator providing proper longitudinal positioning underneath the tanker. The indicator can be used equally well for space docking and other types of rendezvous missions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 7, 1987
    Date of Patent: August 9, 1988
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Frank J. Newman, Robert K. Knapp, Robert J. Davis
  • Patent number: 4745410
    Abstract: A device for tow vehicles intended for maneuvering commercial aircraft, where the type of aircraft to be towed is identified and the turn-out angle between the longitudinal axes of the vehicle and the aircraft is determined and monitored during the towing process. The type of aircraft may be ascertained by measuring the width of the nose gear assembly. The turn-out angle can be calculated by measuring the relative distances between opposing sensors on the tow vehicle and the fuselage utilizing a characteristic hull shape of the particular type of aircraft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 24, 1986
    Date of Patent: May 17, 1988
    Assignee: Krauss-Maffei A.G.
    Inventors: Reinhard Schuller, Wolfgang Heiser
  • Patent number: 4737764
    Abstract: An apparatus for guiding the occupants of a structure along a path of travel within the structure is provided. The apparatus is comprised of modular floor covering units which are abuttingly arranged to cover the floor of the structure, with some of the units being signal units having a light-transmissive housing positioned in an opening therein, and having light-emitting means positioned in the housing. Power means are provided to energize the light-emitting means, and thereby provide a visually discernable pathway on the floor. The floor covering units preferably comprise carpet tiles, the light-transmissive housings are preferably formed of molded plastic and the light-emitting means are preferably light-emitting diodes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 30, 1986
    Date of Patent: April 12, 1988
    Assignee: Collins & Aikman Corporation
    Inventor: John M. Harrison
  • Patent number: 4733833
    Abstract: An aircraft docking system comprises a plurality of pairs of load sensors embedded in the surface of the airport apron. A visual display comprises three parallel columns of chevrons each comprising a plurality of fibre optics which transmit light from a source to the surface of the display and a stop sign. An aircraft approaching along the correct path will cause the chevrons of the central column to be sequentially illuminated. Divergence from that path will cause a chevron on the appropriate outer column to be illuminated. When the aircraft reaches the correct docking point, the stop sign is illuminated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 13, 1984
    Date of Patent: March 29, 1988
    Inventor: Gordon J. Shepherd
  • Patent number: 4665378
    Abstract: A signal light is projected in a concentrated beam downwardly when a garage door is fully opened to provide a light spot on the garage floor where no vehicle obstructs it and on the vehicle, such as on the dashboard thereof, when a vehicle is at a properly parked position in the garage. This provides signals both that the door is fully open, indicating that it is safe to exit or enter the garage as well as that the vehicle is in the proper position for parking. In addition, the light source itself may be arranged to glow visibly to an operator outside the garage as a further indication that it is safe to enter. Adjustable bracket means enables the location of the signaling lamp and signal-like spots to be adjusted. The light source is controlled by the position of the garage door, so as to only be illuminated when the door is fully opened.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 10, 1985
    Date of Patent: May 12, 1987
    Assignee: 3900 Corp.
    Inventor: John E. Heckethorn
  • Patent number: 4568046
    Abstract: A stop and guide barrier for parking aircraft has a stop carrying a guide pattern against which the windscreen of an aircraft must be brought. The barrier is formed from several elements mounted end to end and hinged to each other, the stop mounted as an extension of one of the endmost elements. The opposite endmost element is received in a support structure. The barrier has a first assembly of elements adapted to allow movement of the stop in three dimensions and a second assembly of actuators provided for selectively actuating the first assembly as a function of the particular characteristics of the aircraft that is expected.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 20, 1984
    Date of Patent: February 4, 1986
    Assignee: Societe Anonyme UGEC
    Inventor: Jean B. Amoretti