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Systems and components for enhancing rear vision from a vehicle

Imported: 24 Feb '17 | Published: 06 Jan '04

Frederick T. Bauer, Lois Bauer, John K. Roberts, Joseph S. Stam

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

A vehicle system is disclosed that includes a vehicle lamp assembly including a plurality of LEDs that emit white light so as to function as an illuminator light. The lamp assembly also may include a plurality of LEDs that emit colored light, such as red or red-orange, so as to function as a signal light. Alternatively or additionally, the lamp assembly may include a camera of a vehicle imaging system. The lamp assembly may serve as a center high mounted stop light or as a tail light. The system also includes a controller that rapidly pulses the LEDs on and off at a rate that is imperceivable by the human eye. The pulsing intervals of the LEDs may be related to the readout intervals of the camera sensor array. In this manner, the LEDs may be pulsed on during camera readout so as to increase their intensity while the camera is capturing an image, or may be pulsed off during camera readout to prevent feedback glare from interfering with image capture by a highly sensitive image sensor array of the camera.

Description

These and other features, advantages, and objects of the present invention will be further understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art by reference to the following specification, claims, and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is an electrical circuit diagram in block form illustrating the system constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an electrical circuit diagram in block form illustrating an electronic vehicle vision subsystem that may be used in the system of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a timing diagram illustrating the relation between the reading of images from a sensor array and the on/off state of a proximate light source;

FIG. 4 is a side perspective view of a vehicle in which the present invention is implemented;

FIG. 5 is a partial side perspective view of the vehicle shown in FIG. 4 taken in partial cross section;

FIG. 6 is an oblique perspective view of a vehicle in which the present invention is implemented;

FIG. 7 is a rear perspective view of a vehicle in which a first embodiment of the present invention is implemented;

FIG. 8 is a front perspective view of a light/camera assembly constructed in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a side cross-sectional view of the light/camera assembly shown in FIG. 8 as applied to a vehicle window;

FIG. 10 is a rear perspective view of a vehicle in which a second embodiment of the present invention is implemented;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a center high mounted stoplight (CHMSL) assembly constructed in accordance with the second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 12 is an exploded perspective view of the CHMSL assembly shown in FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a perspective view of a light/camera assembly constructed in accordance with a third embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 14 is a cross-sectional view of the light/camera assembly shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of the front interior of a vehicle in which the present invention is implemented according to an alternative embodiment;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the front interior of a vehicle in which the present invention is implemented according to an alternative embodiment;

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of the front interior of a vehicle in which the present invention is implemented according to an alternative embodiment;

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of the front interior of a vehicle in which the present invention is implemented according to an alternative embodiment;

FIG. 19 is a perspective view of the front interior of a vehicle in which the present invention is implemented according to an alternative embodiment;

FIG. 20 is a perspective view of an interior rearview mirror constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 21 is an oblique perspective view of a CHMSL light source constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 22 is a side perspective view of the CHMSL light source shown in FIG. 21;

FIG. 23 is a perspective view of a sun visor constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 24 is a perspective view of a light source for use in the sun visor assembly shown in FIG. 23 as constructed in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 25 is a perspective view of a sun visor constructed in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 26 is a cross-sectional view of the sun visor shown in FIG. 25 taken along line XXV—XXV; and

FIG. 27 is an enlarged view of the cross section shown in FIG.

26.

Claims

1. An electronic imaging system for a vehicle comprising:

2. The electronic imaging system as defined in claim 1 and further including a plurality of second LEDs for emitting IR radiation.

3. The electronic imaging system as defined in claim 1, wherein said radiation emitted from said lens is substantially white light.

4. The electronic imaging system as defined in claim 1, wherein said plurality of LEDs function as a brake light.

5. The electronic imaging system as defined in claim 1, wherein said lens includes first and second lens regions.

6. The electronic imaging system as defined in claim 1, wherein said support structure is configured to be mounted to an inside surface of a rear window of the vehicle.

7. The electronic imaging system as defined in claim 6, wherein said rear window is made of privacy glass.

8. The electronic imaging system as defined in claim 1 further comprising a baffle supported by said support structure and extending between said camera and said LEDs to prevent light from said LEDs from reaching said camera.

9. A vehicle light module for mounting to the rear of a vehicle, the light module

10. The vehicle light module of claim 9, wherein said means includes a baffle extending between said camera and said light source to prevent light from said light source from reaching said camera.

11. The vehicle light module of claim 9, wherein said means comprises a controller coupled to said camera and to said light source for preventing activation of said light source during those intervals when said camera is capturing images.

12. The vehicle light module of claim 9, wherein said light source includes a plurality of LEDs.

13. A lighting and electronic imaging system for a vehicle comprising:

14. The lighting and electronic imaging system as defined in claim 13, wherein said light emitted from said light source is substantially white light.

15. The lighting and electronic imaging system as defined in claim 13, wherein said light emitted from said light source is substantially red light.

16. The lighting and electronic imaging system as defined in claim 13, wherein said light source includes a plurality of LEDs.

17. The lighting and electronic imaging system as defined in claim 16, wherein said plurality of LEDs function as a brake light.

18. A vehicle imaging system comprising:

19. The vehicle imaging system of claim 18, wherein said at least one light source emits infrared radiation.

20. The vehicle imaging system of claim 18, wherein said at least one light source emits radiation rearward of the vehicle.

21. The vehicle imaging system of claim 18, wherein said camera is aimed to capture images rearward of the vehicle.

22. The vehicle imaging system of claim 18, further comprising a baffle supported by said support structure and extending between said camera and said radiation source to prevent radiation emitted from said radiation source from reaching said camera prior to being reflected from an object.

23. A vehicle light module for mounting to the rear of a vehicle, the light module comprising: