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Publication numberUS20060244575 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/119,129
Publication dateNov 2, 2006
Filing dateApr 29, 2005
Priority dateApr 29, 2005
Also published asUS7834745, US20080290998
Publication number11119129, 119129, US 2006/0244575 A1, US 2006/244575 A1, US 20060244575 A1, US 20060244575A1, US 2006244575 A1, US 2006244575A1, US-A1-20060244575, US-A1-2006244575, US2006/0244575A1, US2006/244575A1, US20060244575 A1, US20060244575A1, US2006244575 A1, US2006244575A1
InventorsNick Ramirez, Reed Mapes
Original AssigneeNick Ramirez, Mapes Reed W
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Key-less control apparatus for motor vehicles
US 20060244575 A1
Abstract
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.
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Claims(12)
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
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein b is a transponder which contains a unique digital identification code and transmits this identification code to the microprocessor of claim 1. The transponder can also transmit this identification code to g; stationary RFID unit at vehicle dealerships, service centers or the device manufacturer.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein c are control relays which activate the vehicles engine electrical system, starter motor, lights, brakes, horn, flashers, turn indicators and blinkers, brake lights, running lights, and safety interlocks such as gear selection, clutch, brake, steering lock, tilt and motion detection and kickstand etc.
4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein d is an antenna which is hidden in the seat of the vehicle or some other location so that communications with the RFID transponder is clear and unobstructed. The antenna is tuned to a carrier frequency and capable of transmitting and receiving energy.
5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein e is a data base that is maintained by the device manufacturer. The purpose of this database is to insure that a unique code is matched to the serial number of each key-less system and to owners of each motor vehicle VIN number. Replacement transponders are then only issued to the proper owners of each vehicle. If a registered owner notifies the device manufacturer of the theft of their vehicle, that serial number and code are then tagged in the database as stolen. If an unauthorized person attempts to purchase a transponder for a key-less system tagged as stolen, the person reporting the theft will be notified. This can lead to the recovery of the stolen property.
6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein f is a database that is maintained by the vehicle dealership or service center. The purpose of this database is to store the vehicle owners name, address, vehicle information and service data.
7. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein g is a stationary RFID transceiver used by the dealership, service center, vehicle manufacturer or device manufacturer. The purpose of this database is to store and retrieve information regarding the vehicle owner, their vehicle and service history in a hands free manner. As a customer approaches a counter, the stationary RFID transceiver reads their transponder b and automatically displays the customer's information on a computer terminal. This is done automatically and hands free without having to ask the customer for any information. This adds convenience and efficiency to the operation of a dealership or service center. The unique ID code is encrypted so that no one at the dealership may determine the actual transponder ID code.
8. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein h is a set of inputs to safety interlocks which will prevent the accidental starting of a motor vehicle while the safety interlocks are in an unsafe mode. These interlocks include, gear selection, clutch, brake, kickstand, steering lock, tilt and motion detection and others.
9. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein i is a light control system built into the key-less system. The light control module serves several purposes. It provides control of the head lights, turn signals, brake lights, emergency flashers, and horn. This provides control of the lights so that they can be turned off during operation of the starter motor to provide extra energy for starting the engine. Turning off the lights during the start procedure also extends battery life by decreasing the strain on the battery during starter motor operation. This feature can extend the useful life of the vehicle battery.
10. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein j is an alarm system built into the key-less system. With the control provided by i; the light control system can be used to function as an alarm. If someone is attempting to start the bike without the proper unique code, the system can determine from the tilt or motion detect input that someone is moving the vehicle. The light control system i will then be activated by the alarm system j to blink lights and honk the horn to alert the vehicle owner and passersby.
11. The method of claim 1, wherein the apparatus can receive a “master ID” which changes the mode of the apparatus so that the next ID code it receives will now become the apparatus' new ID code.
12. The method of claim 1, wherein the apparatus can be programmed for a new ID code at the factory. Thus 1 software version is to be downloaded into all apparatus' and then each apparatus is prepared at the factory for its unique code. The code is then maintained in a database e, matched to its serial number. It is further identified to a customer and vehicle VIN at time of purchase.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

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.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

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.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

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:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic process and identification drawing utilizing the ID device for recognition of an authorized code/user of the motor vehicle via interactive microprocessor controller.

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic process and identification drawing of the ID device and transmission/receiver device for recognition of an authorized code/user of the motor vehicle, via interactive microprocessor controller.

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatic process and identification drawing the ID device and transmission/receiver device for recognition of an owner/customer at a retailer or manufacturers site, via interactive microprocessor controller.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

As shown in FIG. 1 the present invention relates to intuitive microprocessor control of Motor Vehicle generally indicated as 5. The vehicle operator 10 will begin by having possession of the ID Device 3 and depresses the starter button 2 on the vehicle 5. This action initiates the transmission of a carrier frequency 7 (125 KHz or other frequency) from an antenna 1 inside of the seat 6. The ID Device 3 consists of a transponder (see FIG. 2). The ID Device 3 receives the carrier frequency 7 and using parasitic power generated from the carrier frequency 7 or by internal battery power, the ID Device 3 transmits its unique ID code 8 over a 315 MHz (or other frequency) using FSK (Frequency Shift Keying) or other encoding or modulation technology such as ASK. An antenna 1 located within the seat 6 receives the 315 MHz FSK ID code, decodes it and compares the result to allowed codes stored in the controller's 4 memory. If the codes match one of the allowed codes stored in the controller's 4 memory, the controller 4 will activate the ignition system and starter motor. The controller 4 can optionally deactivate a steering lock 9 and/or theft deterrent system and/or activate the lights or light controller on the motor vehicle. The light controller can be a component of this passive entry and go system.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7528501 *May 19, 2006May 5, 2009Yamaha Hatsudoki Kabushiki KaishaVehicle controller for straddle type vehicle
US8040225 *Apr 6, 2007Oct 18, 2011Suzuki Motor CorporationElectronic authentication system for motorcycle
US8089347 *Mar 6, 2009Jan 3, 2012Adalberto AguirreVehicle operation termination kit for preventing unauthorized access of vehicle
US8142331Mar 23, 2010Mar 27, 2012Studio Allumage, Inc.Vehicle engine shutdown prevention system
US20110043324 *Oct 27, 2009Feb 24, 2011Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.Locking system and method for electronic device
Classifications
U.S. Classification340/426.35
International ClassificationB60R25/00
Cooperative ClassificationB60R2325/105, B60R2325/306, B60R25/00, B60R25/104
European ClassificationB60R25/104, B60R25/00
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 21, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: BULLETPROOF ELECTRONICS, INC., FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:RAMIREZ, NICK;MAPES, REED W.;REEL/FRAME:022572/0648;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070813 TO 20080313