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Vehicular rearview mirror with blind spot viewing system

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

Robert E. Schnell, David K. Willmore, Richard J. Weber

USPTO - Utility Patents

Abstract

A vehicular exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system includes an exterior rearview mirror assembly which enables moving the reflective mirror element to an alternate position for viewing of areas adjacent the vehicle which otherwise would be hidden in the driver's blind spot. The blind spot system includes a reflective mirror element mounted on a pivot member such as an electric actuator for adjusting the field of view of the mirror element for different drivers about an axis which is preferably centered on the mirror element. A support member has a joint spaced laterally of the axis and pivotally connected to the pivot member for moving the mirror element between a first rearward viewing position and a blind spot viewing position. A power source such as an electric motor is preferably mounted on the pivot member and is spaced from the support member joint, and includes a threaded member pivotally connected to the support member and driven by a gear. The electric motor is preferably connected via a control circuit to a remote switch such as in the passenger compartment to allow the driver to pivot the support member and mirror element for blind spot viewing when desired.

Description

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A and 1B are schematic illustrations of the normal rearward viewing areas visible in a driver's side exterior vehicular rearview mirror and the enhanced/increased viewing area visible when the reflective mirror element is moved to the preferred blind spot viewing position;

FIG. 2 is a sectional plan view of one of embodiment of an exterior rearview mirror assembly for vehicles incorporating a blind spot viewing system of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an elevation of the rear facing side of the reflective mirror element support member of the assembly of FIG. 2 taken along plane III—III of FIG. 2;

FIGS. 4A-4E are a series of partial sections illustrating the assembly sequence for attaching the mirror element support member to the pivot member in FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of the blind spot viewing system of the rearview mirror assembly of FIG. 2 taken along plane IV—IV of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view of the blind spot viewing system of the assembly of FIG. 2 taken along plane VI—VI of FIG. 3;

FIG. 7 is a rear perspective view of the blind spot viewing system of FIG. 2 including the mirror element electric actuator;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the electric motor and drive system for the blind spot viewing system of FIGS. 2,

3 and

5-

7;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view with portions broken away of another embodiment of the exterior rearview mirror assembly for vehicles incorporating a blind spot viewing system similar to that of FIGS. 2,

3 and

5-

7 but having a modified electric motor drive assembly;

FIG. 10 is a plan view of the electric motor drive assembly of FIG. 9 illustrating the electric motor, gear drive and threaded post;

FIG. 11 is an exploded, perspective view of the electric motor drive assembly of FIG. 10;

FIGS. 12A and 12B are sectional elevations taken along plane XII—XII of FIG. 10 with the threaded post in its retracted and extended positions;

FIGS. 13A and 13B are sectional views taken along plane XIII—XIII of FIG. 10 also illustrating the threaded post of the assembly in retracted and extended positions;

FIGS. 14A and 14B are perspective views of an alternate electric motor and drive assembly for the blind spot viewing system;

FIGS. 15A and 15B are perspective views of another alternate electric motor and drive assembly for the blind spot viewing system;

FIGS. 16A and 16B are perspective views of yet another electric motor and drive assembly for the blind spot viewing system of FIG. 2;

FIGS. 17A and 17B are perspective views of an electric solenoid drive useful in the blind spot viewing system of FIG. 2;

FIG. 18 is a sectional plan view of an alternate embodiment of the rearview mirror assembly incorporating a blind spot viewing system of the present invention using a cable drive assembly;

FIG. 19 is a rear elevation of yet another exterior rearview mirror assembly for vehicles incorporating an alternate embodiment of the blind spot viewing system of the present invention, the reflective mirror element being shown broken away to reveal the pivot member support and pivot axis;

FIG. 20 is a sectional view of the rearview mirror assembly of FIG. 20 taken along plane XX—XX of FIG. 19;

FIG. 21 is a sectional view of the rearview mirror assembly of FIG. 19 also taken along plane XX—XX but with the reflective mirror element shown pivoted to the blind spot viewing position; and

FIGS. 22A and 22B are perspective views of the support assembly for the reflective mirror element of FIGS. 19-21 in the normal rearward viewing position and in the blind spot viewing position, respectively.

FIG. 23 is a sectional view of a further embodiment of an exterior rearview mirror assembly for vehicles incorporating the blind spot viewing system of the present invention and similar to the embodiment of FIGS. 19-22 but including an alternate power source for the blind spot viewing system;

FIG. 24 is a sectional view of the rearview assembly of FIG. 23 with the reflective mirror element shown pivoted to the blind spot viewing position; and

FIGS. 25A and 25B are perspective views of the support assembly for the reflective mirror element of FIGS. 23 and 24 in the normal rear viewing position and in the blind spot viewing position, respectively.

Claims

1. An exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles comprising:

2. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 1 wherein said pivot member includes an actuator for adjusting said mirror element position, said support member being movably mounted on said pivot member by said joint, said joint positioned adjacent said peripheral edge of said mirror element.

3. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 2 including a housing; said support member including a backing member secured to said mirror element; said actuator being fixedly mounted to said housing, said pivot member including a pivot plate pivotally secured to said actuator on said axis, said joint extending between said pivot plate and said backing member.

4. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 3 wherein said actuator is an electric actuator adapted for control from a remote location.

5. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 2 wherein said motive power source is mounted on said pivot member and engages and moves said support member and reflective mirror element when said electric motor is actuated.

6. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 5 wherein said threaded member is pivotally attached to said support member.

7. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 6 wherein said threaded member is a threaded post telescopingly mounted within said gear.

8. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 7 wherein said threaded post includes an axis extending along its length, said threaded post being mounted for both axial and lateral movement with respect to said gear.

9. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 1 wherein said threaded member is a threaded post which is pivotally joined to said support member.

10. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 1 wherein said motive power source further includes a crank member pivotally secured between said threaded member and said support member.

11. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 1 wherein said threaded member is mounted for movement laterally while being driven for extension and retraction.

12. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 1 wherein said threaded member is connected to a push/pull cable connected to said support member.

13. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 1 including a housing and a mounting plate within said housing; said pivot member including an actuator for adjusting said mirror element position; said actuator fixedly mounted on said support member; said joint extending between said support member and said mounting plate whereby said motive power source moves said support member, said pivot member including said actuator and said reflective mirror element in unison.

14. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 13 wherein said motive power source is mounted on said mounting plate and engages and moves said support member when said electric motor is actuated.

15. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 13 wherein said electric motor, said gear, and said threaded member are mounted on said mounting plate, said threaded member pivotally secured to said support member.

16. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 15 further including an electrical control circuit for operating said motive power source, said circuit comprising a switch for controlling application of electric current to said electric motor, and an electric current limiting device for limiting application of electric current to said electric motor when said support member and reflective mirror element are in said blind spot viewing position.

17. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 16 wherein said current limiting device reduces the electrical current applied to said electric motor when in said blind spot viewing position.

18. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 17 wherein said current limiting device is a relay.

19. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 16 wherein said current limiting device prevents electrical current from being applied to said electric motor when in said blind spot viewing position.

20. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 16 wherein said electrical control circuit includes a sensor for detecting activation and deactivation of said switch.

21. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 1 further including an electrical control circuit for operating said motive power source, said circuit comprising a switch for controlling application of electric current to said electric motor, and an electric current limiting device for limiting application of electric current to said electric motor when said support member and reflective mirror element are in said blind spot viewing position.

22. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 21 wherein said current limiting device reduces the electrical current applied to said electric motor when in said blind spot viewing position.

23. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 22 wherein said current limiting device is a relay.

24. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 21 wherein said current limiting device prevents electrical current from being applied to said electric motor when in said blind spot viewing position.

25. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 21 wherein said electrical control circuit includes a sensor for detecting activation and deactivation of said switch.

26. An exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles comprising:

27. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 26 wherein said pivot member includes an actuator for adjusting said mirror element position, said support member being movably mounted on said pivot member by said joint, said joint positioned adjacent said peripheral edge of said mirror element.

28. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 27 including a housing; said support member including a backing member secured to said mirror element; said actuator being fixedly mounted to said housing, said pivot member including a pivot plate pivotally secured to said actuator on said axis, said joint extending between said pivot plate and said backing member.

29. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 28 wherein said actuator is an electric actuator adapted for control from a remote location.

30. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 28 wherein said mirror element has a center; said axis being generally aligned with said mirror element center.

31. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 26 wherein said motive power source engages and moves said support member and reflective mirror element when said electric motor is actuated.

32. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 31 wherein said threaded member is a threaded post telescopingly mounted within said gear.

33. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 32 wherein said threaded post includes an axis extending along its length, said threaded post being mounted for both axial and lateral movement with respect to said gear.

34. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 26 wherein said threaded member is a threaded post which is pivotally joined to said backing member.

35. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 26 wherein said motive power source further includes a crank member pivotally secured between said threaded member and said support member.

36. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 26 wherein said threaded member is connected to a push/pull cable connected to said support member.

37. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 26 including a housing and a mounting plate within said housing; said pivot member including an actuator for adjusting said mirror element position; said actuator fixedly mounted on said support member; said joint extending between said support member and said mounting plate whereby said motive power source moves said support member, said pivot member including said actuator and said reflective mirror element in unison.

38. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 37 wherein said motive power source is mounted on said mounting plate and engages and moves said support member when said electric motor is actuated.

39. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 37 wherein said electric motor, a gear, and a threaded member are mounted on said mounting plate, said threaded member pivotally secured to said support member.

40. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 39 further including an electrical control circuit for operating said motive power source, said circuit comprising a switch for controlling application of electric current to said electric motor, and an electric current limiting device for limiting application of electric current to said electric motor when said support member and reflective mirror element are in said blind spot viewing position.

41. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 40 wherein said current limiting device reduces the electrical current applied to said electric motor when in said blind spot viewing position.

42. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 41 wherein said current limiting device is a relay.

43. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 40 wherein said current limiting device prevents electrical current from being applied to said electric motor when in said blind spot viewing position.

44. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 40 wherein said electrical control circuit includes a sensor for detecting activation and deactivation of said switch.

45. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 26 further including an electrical control circuit for operating said motive power source, said circuit comprising a switch for controlling application of electric current to said electric motor, and an electric current limiting device for limiting application of electric current to said electric motor when said support member and reflective mirror element are in said blind spot viewing position.

46. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 45 wherein said current limiting device reduces the electrical current applied to said electric motor when in said blind spot viewing position.

47. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 46 wherein said current limiting device is a relay.

48. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 45 wherein said current limiting device prevents electrical current from being applied to said electric motor when in said blind spot viewing position.

49. The exterior rearview mirror blind spot viewing system for vehicles of claim 45 wherein said electrical control circuit includes a sensor for detecting activation and deactivation of said switch.