US 20060244575 A1
A hands free control apparatus, designed to control the ability to start and operate a motor vehicle, utilizing an RFID transponder for several purposes. It provides ease of use and convenience to the owner, dealership and manufacturer. The Apparatus provides key-less operation of the motor vehicle by enabling the starter, ignition, steering lock, lights, alarm and other features. The apparatus prevents theft by eliminating traditional key switches and requires a unique code to activate the vehicle. The RFID transponder will function at the vehicle dealership, service center or manufacturer to identify the owner of the vehicle and automatically display the owner and vehicle information on computer screens as the owner approaches check out counters, parts counters, and service counters. The device employs a dual use starter button. First it activates the recognition system. Once the unique code is identified the starter button functions as a traditional starter button.
1. A key-less motor vehicle ignition switch system comprising:
a. microprocessor(s) which receive data from a transponder, examines the data, and generates a decision in accordance with data received.
b. A transponder with a unique Identification Code
c. Control relays which control power to the motor vehicle and it's starting system and safety interlocks
d. An antenna used for RF communications
e. A database of owners, Identification Codes and vehicle information for the device manufacturer
f. A database of owners and vehicle service information for the dealership
g. A stationary RFID unit for use at the vehicle dealer, service center or manufacturer.
h. Inputs to the system allowing the system to check safety interlocks such as brakes, clutch, gear selection, kick stand, steering locks, tilt and motion detection etc.
i. A light control unit for the motor vehicle
j. An alarm system
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This present invention relates to an apparatus that will automatically enable the operator of a motor vehicle such as a motorcycle to start the engine and operate the vehicle without the use of traditional locks and keys. By utilizing an intelligent two way interactive communication via RF or IR or laser or sound or other transmission method, a Microprocessor controller to monitor and adapt to the patterns of operation of motor vehicle, then in turn communicating back to system to allow the operation of the vehicle. Typically the operator of a motor vehicle must use keys to unlock the vehicle and start the engine or use accessories.
Currently in the market and over several decades as recorded in other prior arts, such as in U.S. Pat. No. 6,118,379—Radio frequency identification transponder having a spiral antenna and as in U.S. Pat. No. 6,378,774—IC module and smart card having both a function of a contact and a function of a non-contact smart card. U.S. Pat. No. 6,653,747—Electronic key system including ignition and transmission control which provides a vehicle access system that includes an electronic key ensures that the vehicle transmission is in a proper condition before power to the selected vehicle components is turned off. U.S. Pat. No. 6,606,492—Keyless entry system which includes a controller that operates in one of two modes. When an authentication signal is received from a passive signaling device, the controller operates in one mode that permits more convenient access to a user. When an authentication signal is not received from the passive signaling device, the controller requires another mode of operation from a manually operable signaling device or keypad. U.S. Pat. No. 6,496,100—Remote control key system having keyless entry functions and a vehicle immobilizing function in common keyhead. All of these prior arts directly require the operator to manually initiate the operation by pressing a button intended for the purpose on a keyfob or keyhead or only deal with RF Identification.
This present invention clearly utilizes a unique and novel way of communicating back and forth with the motor vehicle, vehicle owner and the dealership, retailer, service center and manufacturer. The system utilizes a distinct advantage by allowing the starter button to perform two or more functions as well as using the RF ID transponder to perform two or more functions.
This invention will utilize the conventional starter button on a motor vehicle, such as a motorcycle, to initiate the transmission of codes and carrier frequencies to communicate with the RF ID transponder to determine whether the vehicle and transponder ID are matched. If the transponder ID and vehicle are matched, the starter is activated, the ignition is activated, the steering lock may be disengaged, an alarm may be deactivated and the vehicles engine will be allowed to start provided other safety functions are set up. Safety functions such as: clutch/transmission interlocks, side stand interlocks, brake interlocks, tilt and motion detection, etc. The lights are to be turned off automatically during engagement of the starter to provide more current for starting and to increase the life of the vehicle battery. After the engine has started the lights will be automatically lighted. This invention improves the overall safety and quality of operation of the motor vehicle. It also improves efficiency, and ease of operation. It decreases power consumption and load on the battery during starting and ultimately helps to ensure that the motor vehicle will operate at its designed peak performance.
Additionally, by using this device the vehicle retailer or dealership or manufacturer will be able to quickly and automatically bring up customers records onto a computer screen as the customer steps up to a counter or desk. With this invention the same transponder will then be used not to start a motor vehicle, but to identify the customer and bring up the customers name, address, telephone, vehicle type, year and other vital information hands free. The data will be entered into the dealership database at the time of purchase or service. The transponder identification data will remain transparent and hidden from those who have access to the dealership database with data encryption for security purposes.
Additionally, each device will possess a serial number which will be maintained in a database by the device manufacturer. The main purpose of which is three fold. To provide additional transponders to the vehicle owner when replacements are necessary and keep a log of owners to transponders. The database will also provide a repository for vehicle theft information. If a vehicle owner notifies the database administrator that their vehicle has been stolen, a flag is raised if someone tries to acquire a replacement transponder for their serial number. This could lead to recovery of the stolen vehicle and apprehension of the perpetrator.
The present invention provides a method that will automatically recognize the operator by matching an ID code carried by the operator and allow operation of the motor vehicle without the use of traditional keys and key switch apparatus. By utilizing an intelligent two-way interactive communicating Microprocessor controller to monitor and adapt to the patterns of operation of motor vehicle such as a motorcycle.
The invention provides communication back and forth within the system, to determine if a code matches the motor vehicle, eliminating the need to locate a key and place it into a keyhole. On some vehicles the keys can scratch the paint causing damage, as well as break off in the key hole. Key locks can be picked or broken by thieves. This invention eliminates the key switch.
The invention utilizes a unique and novel micro controller designed and pre programmed with intuitive logic and algorithms for communicating back and forth with the ID transponder or ID device to ensure that the exact and proper owner operator is the only operator allowed to activate the vehicle and prepare it for operation, based on the ID device, this ensures that unwanted operators will continuously be eliminated and prevented from operating the vehicle.
The invention incorporates the internal 12 VDC power or other power from the motor vehicle to energize the microprocessor controller, allowing the microprocessor to communicate with and control solenoid steering locks, ignition systems, anti-theft devices, safety inter-locks, and the starter motor whenever necessary to achieve a user friendly operation of the motor. Thus improving efficiency, decrease power consumption as well as ultimately ensuring that the motor vehicle will operate at its designed peak performance only for persons in possession of the ID device.
The placement of the receiver/transmitter antenna is critical to the proper function of this invention. The receiver/transmitter antenna must be placed within, on, under, around or near the operators seat or gas tank or instrument pod, or headlight or tail light or fenders to be inconspicuous and allow an unobstructed field to radiate and receive energy to and from the ID device.
The dual usage of the starter button is also critical to the proper function and operation of this invention. The receiver/transmitter is initiated by the operator when the operator presses the starter button. When the starter button is depressed this initiates the search for the ID device in possession of the operator. If the ID device is found and matches the ID of the motor vehicle, the starter button then activates the starter motor and ignition system. Optionally a steering lock can be de-activated, a burglar or anti-theft device can be de-activated, lights can be activated, and other safety interlocks can be checked prior or during the operation of the starter.
The dual usage of the transponder is also critical to the proper function and operation of this invention. The transponder is not only used to operate the vehicle, but it is also used by the vehicle dealership, service center, retailer or manufacturer to identify the owner at the time of service, parts and accessory purchases, and other activities where there is access to a computer. The activation of the transponder at a sales or service counter can occur when the customer steps onto a floor mat, breaks a beam of light or activates a proximity sensor. At that time the transponder ID code is read and used to look up customer and vehicle information. The information is displayed on a terminal so the sales or service people will automatically see the customers information.
For a fuller understanding of the nature and object of the invention, the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment may be understood better by referencing the following drawings, in which:
As shown in