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Publication numberUS3707781 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 2, 1973
Filing dateNov 22, 1971
Priority dateNov 22, 1971
Publication numberUS 3707781 A, US 3707781A, US-A-3707781, US3707781 A, US3707781A
InventorsBrown R
Original AssigneeBally Mfg Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for simulating roadway driving conditions
US 3707781 A
Abstract
There is provided apparatus enabling an externally positioned operator to peer forwardly into an upright hollow housing containing therewithin and forwardly of a light-transmissive mirror a simulated roadway including a plurality of miniature intra-lanes road-vehicles arranged columnarly and seemingly traveling along transversely distinct respective roadway lanes, a transversely movably controllable miniature free-vehicle realistically optically superimposed upon the simulated roadway by the intervening light-transmissive mirror, the apparatus operator being able to remotely control the free-vehicle's seeming transverse position and longitudinal velocity with respect to the simulated roadway, and automatic transverse motivation means for abruptly translating the free-vehicle transversely with respect to the simulated roadway when a seeming collision occurs between it and a road-vehicle. Preferred optical characteristics for imparting realism to the apparatus include: a hollow housing that is substantially opaque (with the exception of the operator's viewing opening); novel lumination and fluorescent coloring for the roadway and the several miniature vehicles; and special techniques for imparting seeming relative longitudinal velocity to the several miniature vehicles.
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United States Patent 1 Brown [451 Jan. 2, 1973 [7 51 Inventor: Richard L. Brown, Bellevue, Nebr.

[73] Assignee: Bally Manufacturing Corp.,

7 Chicago, 111.

[22] Filed: Nov. 22, 1971 [211 App]. No.: 201,030

[52] US. Cl. ..35/1l, 273/1 E [51] Int. Cl. ..G09b 9/02 [58] Field of Search ..35/1 1; 273/1 E; 46/244 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,265,598 12/1941 Firestone et a1. ..35/ll X 3,078,093 2/1963 Hotkins et a1. ..35/ll X 3,119,190 1/1964 Cafulliet a1 ..35/1l 3,171,215 3/1965 Glass et al. ..35/l1 Primary Examiner-Wm. H. Grieb Attorney-George R. Nimmer [5 7] 7 ABSTRACT There is provided apparatus enabling an externally positioned operator to peer forwardly into an upright hollow housing containing therewithin and forwardly of a light-transmissive mirror a simulated roadway including a plurality of miniature intra-lanes road-vehicles arranged columnarly and seemingly traveling along transversely distinct respective roadway lanes, a transversely movably controllable miniature free-vehicle realistically optically superimposed upon the simu-' lated roadway by the intervening light-transmissive mirror, the apparatus operator being able to remotely control the free-vehicles seeming transverse position and longitudinal velocity with respect to the simulated roadway, and automatic transverse motivation means for abruptly translating the free-vehicle transversely with respect to the simulated roadway when a seeming collision occurs between it and a road-vehicle. Preferred optical characteristics for imparting realism to the apparatus include: a hollow housing that is substantially opaque (with the exception of the operators viewing opening); novel lumination and fluorescent coloring for the roadway and the several miniature vehicles; and special techniques for imparting seeming relative longitudinal velocity to the several miniature vehicles.

1 1 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures APPARATUS FOR SIMULATING ROADWAY DRIVING CONDITIONS Automobile and similar vehicular travel along public roadways represents an experience common to nearly everyone. Becausepublic roadways are heavily used and almost invariably comprise a plurality of parallel lanes without inter-lanes barriers, vehicular travel at higher speedsisfraught with danger unless the vehicle operator-driver isskillful enough to steer it along the relatively transversely narrow lane and also to regulate the velocity appropriate to avoiding collision with other vehicles. Vehicle driving skill is necessary both for the secondaryhighway situation wherein two contiguous roadway lanes are designed for vehicles traveling in opposite longitudinal directions, and also for the primary highway situation wherein two or more contiguous roadway lanes are designed to accommodate vehicles traveling in the same longitudinal direction. Because of the danger attendant with roadway vehicular traffic by unskilled or irresponsible individuals, governmental authorities have established testing and licensing programs for would-be vehicle drivers. Moreover, many vehicle drivers and passengers find high speed roadway travel to be a thrilling experience, to the extent that they are tempted to travel at excessive speeds and to switch lanes unduly often. Because such temptations are likely to lead to tragic collisions with other vehicles or with roadside obstacles, most drivers are prudent and do not succomb to these urges. Nevertheless even cautious and prudent drivers yearn for the opportunity to participate in the thrilling experience of driving with reduced or even abandoned caution.

Prior art workers have attempted to provide apparatus for simulating roadway driving conditions utilizing remotely controlled miniature vehicles, thus ostensibly permitting the operators driving skill and judgement to be tested. However, such prior art apparatus have not been successful in presenting sufficiently realistic simulated conditions to the apparatus operator, and accordingly, prior art devices have largely failed in their intended purposes.

It is accordingly the general object of the present invention to provide apparatus that will simulate in miniature public roadway driving conditions whereby the apparatus operator can vicariously and fairly realistically participate in the problems and experiences associated with the actual driving of vehicles along a plural-lanes public roadway.

It is another object to provide apparatus that can be employed to test and evaluate the operators ability to control a motor vehicle under typically encountered public roadway conditions.

It is a further object to provide apparatus utilizing a housed miniature roadway and vehicles, wherein the simulated conditions closely approximate actual driving conditions and attendant problems.

It is yet another object to provide an apparatus of the class comprising miniature roadway and associated vehicles located within a housing in a novel manner so that they present unusually realistic simulated driving conditions to the operator, such that the operator can become intensely interested and involved in the vicarious participation offered thereby.

It is a further object to provide unusually realistic simulated conditions in miniature to the apparatus operator whereby he can readily imagine himself operating a motor vehicle at controllable high speeds along a public roadway thereby testing his skill at passing other vehicles safely. It is an important ancillary object to realistically simulate the affects of actual roadway collisions upon the operators simulated controlled vehicle.

With the above and other objects and advantages in view, which will become more apparent as this description proceeds, the simulated apparatus of the present invention generally comprises an upright hollow housing for the operator to peer forwardly longitudinally thereinto, the housing including therewithin a plurallanes simulated roadway and including annular columnar processions of miniature road-vehicles, a transversely movable free-vehicle realistically optically superimposed upon and mergeable with the simulated roadway and road-vehicles, the free-vehicles seeming longitudinal speed and transverse location on the roadway being remotely controllable by the external operator at a steering means, and means for automatically transversely motivating the free-vehicle and even transversely off the roadway after an apparent collision has occurred between it and an obstacle, such as a roadvehicle.

In the drawing, wherein like characters refer to like parts in the several views, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a representative embodiment of the simulated roadway conditions apparatus of the present invention, portions of the shelllike hollow housing being broken away to show certain internal constructional details.

FIG. 2 is a sectional elevational view taken along line 2--2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a detail view on an enlarged scale of certain noteworthy portions of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a sectional plan view taken along line 4-4 of FIGS. 2 and 3.

Referring initially and briefly to FIG. 1, which illustrates in perspective view a representative apparatus embodiment A for simulating roadway driving conditions. Apparatus A generally comprises: an upright hollow housing 10 including a forward part 12 and a rearward part 11 having a transversely extending light transmissive opening 11A therethrough whereby a rearwardly externally positioned operator might peer longitudinally forwardly through opening 11A while also operating a steering means 19 adapted to transversely controllably move a free-vehicle 20; a transversely extending light-transmissive mirror 18 located within housing 10 and extending forwardly and upwardly with respect to opening 11A whereby said mirror generally sub-divides the housing internal volume into a rearspace 18R and a larger front-space 18F; a simulated roadway 40 located within the housing front-space 18F and having a transverse width, said roadway 40 including a plurality of simulated road-vehicles arranged and maintained in parallel and movable columnar annular processions, herein as intra-columnar road-vehicles 48 and 49, said roadway and road-vehicles being viewable to the operator when he peers longitudinally forwardly through opening 11A and oblique mirror 18; means (such as accessible to the rearward operators station for varying the speed of the simulated several roadvehicles 48 and 49; a simulated free-vehicle 20 suspended within the housing rear-space 18R and reflected by the mirror 18 to appear optically as image 20A upon the simulated roadway and road-vehicles; transversely responsive means, such as carriage 30, extending co-responsively forwardly from the free-vehicle 20 and its transverse steering means 19 into the housing front-space 18F; and means (68,69,90,99,etc.) for automatically abruptly translating the free-vehicle 20 transversely when a sensor means has indicated that an apparent collision has occurred between free-vehicle 20(20A) and one of the road-vehicles.

Upright hollow housing comprises a plurality of interconnected rectangular panels 11-16, such as horizontalroof-panel 15 overlying floor-panel 16, two vertical lateral panels including left-panel 13 and rightpanel 14, a vertical front-panel l2 herein providing the housing forward part, and a vertical rear-panel l1 herein providing the housingefearward part. A plurality of legs 17, herein four in number, depend from the respective corners of floor-panel 16 to elevate the relatively stationary housing 10 above an underlying substrate G. As had been previously alluded to, the freevehicle and the several road-vehicles 48 and 49 are physically located on opposite sides 18F and 18R of the mirror 18; however, the free-vehicle as its reflected image 20A by virtue of mirror 18 is in front-space 18F at roadway 40 and needs to be of an optical prominence thereat substantially equal to that for road vehicles 48 and 49. Because of this and related optical considerations, the several housing panels 11-16 are preferably visually opaque. However, the housing rearpanel 11 includes a transversely extending light transmissive opening 11A therethrough, herein as a rectangular glass panel 11A having more than about 95 percent transmission to the visible light spectrum.

A transversely extending substantially rectangular planar mirror 18, of the so-called two-ways" light transmissive type, is located within housing 10 nearer to rear-panel 11 than to front-panel 12. Herein, mirror 18 is attached to rear-panel 11 immediately below opening 11A with brackets 18D and extends obliquely forwardly and upwardly therefrom as indicated in H6. 2. Mirrors of the light-transmissive or two-ways type normally have a transmission of 20-80 percent to the visible light spectrum, and the mirror 18 herein has a transmission of preferably 40-60 percent to visible light. The mirror 18, herein having a planar rearward surface 18A, generally sub-divides the housing internal volume into a rear-space 18R and a larger front-space 18F located on opposite sides of said mirror. The miniature free-vehicle 20 (with its frontal end upward) is suspendably supported at substantially constant high elevation within front-space 18F and located forwardly and slightly above light transmissive opening 11A. However, the free-vehicle's reflected image 20A, by virtue of mirror 18, is seen by the operator as apparently located within front-space 18F at roadway 40. There are steering means, herein as steering wheel 19, extending rearwardly of housing 10 and adapted to manually remotely control the transverse position of free-vehicle 20 and its image 20A. Thus, an operator positioned at the operator's station located immediately rearwardly of housing rear-panel 11A will have a direct unobstructed view of and can transversely control the free-vehicle image 20A.

There is a simulated roadway carrying at least two substantially parallel annular processions of miniature road-vehicles and being transversely separate and distinct to simulate public roadway lanes, the roadvehicles being within housing front-space 18F. The roadway 40 herein is of longitudinally extending annular configuration having a regular finite transverse width herein defined by parallel leftward 43 and rightward 44 edges. The simulated roadway depicts a typical public roadway wherein there are two or more parallel columnar processions of vehicles, intra-columnar vehicles at random irregular spacing traveling in the same longitudinal direction at generally similar velocities. In the arbitrarily shown embodiment A, two columnar processions of road-vehicles are employed, and they have their frontal ends pointed toward the same direction thereby simulating the primary highway situation. The preferred type simulated roadway for embodiment A is of the elongate movable annular type including an elongate upper-segment that visually obscures an underlying elongate lower-segment, intra-columnar road-vehicles at the upper-segment having their frontal ends pointed toward the forward direction 12. Specifically herein, roadway 40 comprises a longitudinally extending horizontal annular flexible belt 41 supported upon longitudinally separated parallel horizontal rollers 45R (having transverse datum axle 45r) and 45F (having transverse datum axle 45f and carrying pulley 45?). There is an electric motor 40E mounted on front-panel 12, a transmission-belt 40T extending from motor 40E to pulley 451 thereby driving roadway belt 41 around rollers 45R and 45F. Belt 41 might have a longitudinally extending center-line 41M (simulating the inter-lanes painted dividing line of a public road-way) whereby belt 41 is thereby provided with two parallel contiguous lanes 41C (left) and 41D (right).

The plurality (herein 10) of substantially identical miniature road-vehicles are divided into two columnar groupings along the respective annular lanes 41C and 41D, and each road-vehicle is attached to a fixed location of belt 41 as indicated in FIG. 3. Herein, five roadvehicles (each called 49) are linearly columnarly arranged and randomly spaced along lane 41D, and five road-vehicles (each called 48) are linearly columnarly arranged and randomly spaced along lane 41C. Thus, as annular belt 41 is made to move-(through motor 40E) longitudinally around rollers 45R and 45F, only those moving road-vehicles 48 and 49 which are momentarily located on the oval belt upper-segment (located abovev axles 45f and 45r) can be seen by the operator. Those moving road-vehicles 48 and 49 which are momentarily located on the belt lower-segment are visually shielded by the upper-segment. An operator peering forwardly through housing opening 11A will see the upper-segment road-vehicles 48 and 49 and will also see the free-vehicle image 20A. Thus, at increasing longitudinal speeds of belt 41 and road-vehicles 48-49, the apparatus operator will be given the illusion that his own vehicle 20A is proceeding at ever faster highway speeds along roadway 40. However, through steering means 19 the operator can move free-vehicle 20 (and its image 20A) in both transverse directions thereby attempting to avoid seeming collisions with the annularly moving road-vehicles 48 and 49.

It can be readily appreciated that if the road-vehicles 48 and 49 would move increasingly faster, it would become increasingly difficult for an operator utilizing a steering means 19 to avoid seeming collisions between said road-vehicles and the free-vhicles image A. In this vein, there are means, such as through foot-pedal 70, for varying the speed of the simulated road-vehicles 48-49 through a selectable and continuous range of longitudinal velocities. Herein, foot-pedal 70 through a pivot pin 72 is pivotably attached to and extends forwardly and upwardly from a horizontal base-plate 71 which is adapted to rest upon an underlying substrate G immediately below floor-panel 16 at the rearward operators station. A resistance spring 73 urges the foot-pedal 70 upwardly, whereby elements 70-73 together resemble the accelerator pedal in a conventional automobile vehicle. Electrical energy from a remote source (notshown), is supplied to motor E from electrical plug 79, a first conductor wire 79C leading from plug 79 to motor 40E and a second conductor wire 79D leading from plug 79 to an electrically conductive wiper 74 carried laterally by foot-pedal 70. There are two serially disposed electrical resistors 76 and 77 supported by an upwardly extending arm 75 of base-plate 71; as foot-pedal 70 is increasingly depressed, wiper 74 first slides along upper resistor 76 and then along lower resistor 77. Electrical motor 40E herein has two sets of armature windings whereby transmission-belt 40T and pulley P can be made to travel in alternate angular directions. A conductor wire 79E connects the upper end of upper resistor 76 to the set of motor windings which cause pulley 45? to travel in the FIG. 2 counterclockwise direction. Another conductor wire 79H connects the lower end of lower resistor 77 to the other set of motor windings which cause pulley 45F to travel in the FIG. 2 clockwise direction. Accordingly, as indicated by the tri-arrowed curved line of FIG. 2, as the foot-pedal 70 is increasingly depressed, the belt 41 and attached road-vehicles 48-49 travel first longitudinally forwardly at regularly decreasing rates of speed and thereafter longitudinally rearwardly at regularly increasing rates of speed. Thus, as the operator manipulates steering means 19 and increasingly depresses foot-pedal 70, the moving roadvehicles 48 and 49 create the illusion of ever faster simulated traffic conditions thereby progressively increasing the difficulty of avoiding seeming collisions with free-vehicle image 20A.

As has been previously mentioned, the steering means is adapted to move the suspended free-vehicle 20 in both transverse directions thereby enabling the operator to avoid seeming collisions between its transversely aligned front-space image 20A and the moving road-vehicles 48 and 49. Herein, the steering means takes the form of a steering wheel 19, the horizontal shaft portion 19C thereof being revolvably secured to housing rear-panel 11 above opening 11A. There are carriage means, generally identified as 30, operatively extending from the steering means and co-movable transversely with the suspended free-vehicle 20, and carriage 30 extends into the housing front-space 18F. The steering wheel shaft 19C forwardly of rear-panel 11 is connected to a pinion gear 19P that is in meshing engagement with a transversely extending elongate rack 31 portion of the carriage means 30. For reasons to be explained later, there is a clutch 19D of the briefly longitudinally disengageable type (herein with peripheral spring clips) interposed between shaft 19C and pinion gear 191. An elongate horizontal bar 32 of carriage 30 is attached to and extends longitudinally rearwardly from rack 31, and free-vehicle 20 is suspended from the lower end of stably deformable bar 21; thus, the position of free-vehicle 20 can be calibrated. The underside of roof-panel 15 carries a pair of depending lugs 15C, and bar 32 extends through transversely slotted portions of lugs 15C. Preferably, steering wheel shaft 19C and the roadway median 41M occupy a common vertical-plane, the transversely extending length of rack 31 exceeds the roadway transverse width 43-44, and vertical bar 21 and free-vehicle 20 are adapted to occupy said vertical-plane when a medial portion of rack 31 is in meshing engagement with pinion gear 19?. Such preferred structural relationships will allow the operator to realistically move free-vehicle 20 in both transverse directions from 43-44 thereby avoiding apparent collisions with roadvehicles 48 and 49.

The use of a mirror 18 that transmits 4.0-60 percent of the visible light spectrum will tend to spatially realistically merge the free-vehicle image 20A into the simulated roadway 40. In a related vein, judicious lumination of the free-vehicle 20 and the several roadvehicles 48-49 is important. Herein, for the purposes of presenting realistic roadway conditions to the operator, the free-vehicle 20 and the several road-vehicles 48-49 have fluorescent surface paint or coloring that flow in the dark when luminated by ultra-violet light, so called black light. The housing rear-space 18R has therewithin a light source 25 attached by a bracket 24 to rear-panel 11 above 11A, at least percent of the emitted light being of the ultraviolet spectrum. For the housing front-space 18F there is an ultraviolet light source 57 suspended from roof-panel 15 by bracket 58. Belt 41 is preferably of white or other light color so as to allow the fluorescing road-vehicles to visually predominate.

A roadside scenario .can be additionally superimposed upon the mirror viewing screen 18 to add further realism to the simulated roadway. In this vein, there is a generally cylindrical horizontal tubular drum 50 and rotatable about horizontal central axle 51 which is revolvably associated with housing 10. Drum 50 has therewithin a light source 528 that is predominately of the visible light spectrum, and the drum tubular portion 52 is homogeneously transmissive of visible light and to at least about 50 percent of the light from 523. The external surface of tube 52 carries a heterogeneously coated pattern 53 that depicts roadside scenary such as trees, hills, rocks, etc., the heterogeneously coated patterns 53 being translucent and reducing somewhat the drums ability to transmit visible light therethrough. As the scenario patterned drum S0 is rotated about its axis 51, indicated by the double-headed counterclockwise arrow in FIG. 2, a moving roadside scenario 53 is projected therefrom to roadway 40. The intensity of ultraviolet light 57 must be sufficient to wash-out the heterogeneous projected visible light (528) from scenario drum 50. An electric motor 50E is employed to rotate scenary drum 50, as through an annular drumbelt 511T passing around a pulley SIP on axle 51. For

purposes of enhancing realism, the angular velocity of revolvable scenary drum 50 should increase along with the apparent velocity of free-vehicle 20. In this regard, electrical energy from a remote source (not shown) is supplied to motor 50B and a second conductor wire 59D leading from plug 59 to an electrically conductive wiper 54 carried lateraliy by foot-pedal 70. There is a resistor 56 supported by an upwardly extending arm 55 of base plate 71. A conductor wire 59H is connected from the lower end of resistor 56 to motor 50E. Thus, as foot-pedal 70 is increasingly depressed, motor 50E causes drum 50 to rotate at increasingly faster rotational speeds, thereby simulating realistic driving conditions.

Under actual public roadway driving conditions, when the operators vehicle is in major collision, it is abruptly translated and removed from operator control; in severe collisions it is transversely translated off the roadway. Accordingly, it is an important object of the present invention to simulate this abrupt uncontrolled translation of the operators vehicle during collision. In this regard, there are sensor means to sense the apparent collision between the free-vehicles frontspace image 20A and any one of the several road-vehicles; whereupon, the free-vehicle and its image 20A are abruptly automatically translated, such as being transversely ejected from lanes 41C and 41D and even beyond confines 43 and 44. In this vein, as seen in FIG. 3, there is herein for each of the road-vehicles 48 and 49 and attached thereto a longitudinally extending electrically conductive contact-plate 47. Preferably, the contact-plate 47 and its proximal road-vehicle (a 48 or a 49) are located on opposite sides of annular belt 41. One type sensor means comprises a pair of electrically isolated electrodes 68 and 69 located at common elevation between the two elongate segments of belt 41. Thus, electrical current can pass through and between the electrodes 68 and 69 only when they are both in contact with some one contact-plate 47. Herein, each of the electrically isolated electrodes 68 and 69 is carried by a probe 39 located immediately below the upper-segment of belt 41. Probe 39 might be the lower terminus of carriage means 30 and preferably transversely aligned (and co-responsive) with freevehicle 20; accordingly, electrodes 68 and 69 are vertically aligned with image 20A. For example, carriage 30 might have a horizontal bar 33 extending transversely rightwardly of horizontal bar 32, and yet another horizontal bar 34 extending longitudinally forwardly of bar 33 whereby bars 32-34 occupy a common horizontal-lane. Carriage 30 further includes a vertical bar 35 depending from the forward end of bar 34 and having its lower terminus in elevation between the two elongate segments of belt 41, and a horizontal bar 36 extending transversely leftwardly from the lower end of vertical bar 35 and thence connected to probe 39. Thus, if free-vehicle image 20A is in optically superimposed collision with some individual road-vehicle 48 or 49, then probe 39 would be directly beneath the collision victim. When this happens, electrical energy is permitted to flow between the sensor means electrodes 68 and 69 via contact-plate 47.

The automatic abrupt translation means for the freevehicle and its image 20A, when a sensor means senses some one road-vehicles 48 or 49 might take a variety of forms. Herein, such means is arbitrarily exemplified by a pneumatically actuatable piston located upon roof-panel 15. The transversely movable plunger 91 of piston 90 is attached to a vertical bar 32D extending integrally upwardly from bar 32 and through a transversely slotted portion 15D of roof-panel 15. An air compressor 98 is positioned atop roof-panel 15 and an electrically actuatable on-of valve 99 is interposed along conduit 97 extending from compressor 98 to piston 90. Separate electrical conductors 88 and 89 proceed from the respective electrodes 68 and 69, via carriage members 35 and 36 (held by clips 87) and through roofpanel opening 15H and thence to valve 99. If it be assumed that valve 99 moves from the of to the on condition when both electrodes 68 and 69 are contacting contact-plate 47, air proceeds along conduit 97 to piston 90 thereby pushing plunger 91 and bar 32D transversely rightwardly as indicated in phantom line in FIG. 1. Accordingly, the transversely aligned free-vehicle and its image 20A are made to move abruptly transversely rightwardly, and herein dramatically off the simulated roadway edge 44. However, piston 90 has a rightward vent 92, and thus, the automatically rightward ejected condition for freevehicle 20 is only temporary. Thereafter, the steering means 19 can again cause leftward control of free-vehicle 20 returning its image 20A to roadway 40, and its transverse steering continues until another apparent collision occurs, etc. Simultaneously, during each abrupt translation clutch 19D becomes temporarily disengaged during which brief time the operators steering means 19 is ineffective.

From the foregoing, the construction and operation of the apparatus for simulating roadway driving conditions will be readily understood and further explanation is believed to be unnecessary. However, since numerous modification sand changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the appended claims.

Iclaim:

1. Apparatus for simulating driving conditions of a self-propelled surface vehicle traversible longitudinally and transversely along a public roadway including a plurality of parallel traffic lanes and columnar processions of road-vehicles therealong, said apparatus comprising:

A. An upright hollow housing as a frame for the apparatus and including a rearward part with a light transmissive opening therethrough whereby an operator positioned immediately rearwardly of the housing at an operator's station might have a view into the housing interior;

B. A transversely broad mirror of the light transmissive type attached to the housing and located therewithin linearly forwardly of the housing rearward light transmissive opening, said mirror extending obliquely forwardly and upwardly so as to generally sub-divide the housing internal spatial volume into longitudinally consecutive portions including a rear-space and a larger front-space located on opposite sides of said mirror;

C. A simulated roadway carrying at least two substantially parallel annular processions of miniature road-vehicles, the said respective annular processions being transversely distinct to simulate traffic lanes and being movable in endless annular fashion about at least one transversely extending datum located within the housing front-space whereby less than all of the annularly moving road-vehicles are seen as parallel columns by the apparatus operator when peering longitudinally forwardly through said mirror to the simulated roadway;

D. Means accessible from the said rearwardly positioned operator's station for varying the speed of the simulated roadway road-vehicles through a selectable range of velocities;

E. A simulated free-vehicle located within the housing rear-space and optically superimposable by said mirror into the housing front-space and upon the road-vehicles;

F. Steering means attached to the housing and extending rearwardly therefrom and accessible to manual control by the operator, said steering means being adapted to cause controllable transverse movements of the free-vehicle and its reflected image with respect to the road-vehicles; and

G. Collision indication means located remote of said mirror to apprise the operator whenever the freevehicle at its reflected image has become optically superimposed upon a road-vehicle.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the light transmissive mirror has a pair of substantially planar opposed surfaces including a forward surface and also a rearward surface nearer the operator; and wherein the plurality of parallel processions of road-vehicles are of longitudinally elongate annular configuration and appear as substantially linear columns.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein there is a carriage extending rearwardly from and transversely coresponsive with the steered free-vehicle; and wherein the collision indication means includes a sensor means attached to the carriage and located within the housing front-space, said sensor means being substantially transversely aligned with the free-vehicle.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the collision indication means includes means for abruptly translating the free-vehicle whenever its front-space image has attained optical superimposition with a road-vehicle, said automatic abrupt translation means being initiatable through said sensor means.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the intra-annular road-vehicles are spaced at irregular intervals therealong; and wherein the automatic translation means will abruptly move the free-vehicle image transversely off a columnar roadway lane.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein the means for varying the speed of the road-vehicles is through a depressible foot-pedal that varies the speed smoothly continuously; wherein the free-vehicle is suspended from a rearward portion of the carriage; wherein the abrupt translation means is adapted to transversely eject the free-vehicle off the transverse confines of the simulated roadway; wherein there is a resiliently disengageable coupling between the steering means and the carri ge to tgm't temporary a tomatic tansverse trans tron o t e ree-ve icle; an whereint e sensor means is adapted to make electrically conductive contact with the individual road-vehicles.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the collision indication means includes means for automatically abruptly translating the free-vehicle to simulate operator loss of control whenever the operator erroneously steers the free-vehicle such that its front-space image has become optically superimposed with a road-vehicle; and wherein the automatic abrupt translation means is initiatable through a sensor means located within the housing front-space at the simulated roadway and that is transversely co-movable with the freevehicle.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the plurality of parallel annular processions of road-vehicles are of Iongitudinally elongate configuration and each movable about a pair of longitudinally separated transverseaxles data; wherein the sensor means is adapted to make electrically conductive contact with individual road-vehicles; and wherein the speed control means for the road-vehicles comprises a depressible foot-pedal located rearwardly remote of the simulated roadway.

9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the upright hollow housing is substantially visually opaque; wherein the mirror has a visible light transmissivity within the range of 20 to percent; wherein there is an ultraviolet light source within the housing rear-space, the free-vehicle being fluorescent to the ultra-violet spectrum; and wherein there is an ultraviolet light source within the housing front-space, the road-vehicles being fluorescent to the ultraviolet spectrum.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 wherein the light transmissive mirror has a pair of substantially planar parallel opposed surfaces, the visible light transmissivity therethrough being within the range of 40 to 60 percent; wherein the simulated roadway with the exception of the road-vehicles is non-fluorescent to theultraviolet spectrum; and wherein there is a roadside scenario located within the housing front-space and comprising a non-opaque tubular revolvable drum carrying therewithin a light source rich in the visible light spectrum, and means at the operators station for varying the angular velocity of said tubular drum.

11. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein the means for varying the speed of the road-vehicles and the angular velocity of the scenario drum is through a common resiliently depressible foot-pedal located at the operators station, initial depressions thereof causing the road-vehicles to travel towards the operators station and further depressions thereof causing the road-vehicles to travel away from the operator's station.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4167822 *Jan 23, 1978Sep 18, 1979Marvin Glass & AssociatesDriving toy projector
US4174833 *Dec 5, 1977Nov 20, 1979Mego Corp.Simulated road racing game
US4231571 *Dec 21, 1978Nov 4, 1980Tomy Kogyo Co., Inc.Portable obstacle toy
US4244143 *Oct 10, 1978Jan 13, 1981Scully Terrence AHighway game
US4474372 *Feb 15, 1983Oct 2, 1984Tomy Kogyo Company, Inc.Obstacle driving game utilizing reflected image
US6461238 *Aug 13, 2001Oct 8, 2002Rehco, LlcPortable simulation game apparatus
US20130266917 *Mar 26, 2013Oct 10, 2013CAA South Central OntarioMethod and kit for providing a training course for operating a towing device
WO2010127421A2 *May 7, 2009Nov 11, 2010Tiago Leopoldo Guedes MoreiraSimulator model for radio-controlled models
WO2010127421A3 *May 7, 2009Dec 29, 2010Tiago Leopoldo Guedes MoreiraSimulator model for radio-controlled models
Classifications
U.S. Classification434/63, 273/442
International ClassificationG09B9/04, G09B9/048
Cooperative ClassificationG09B9/048
European ClassificationG09B9/048