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Publication numberUS3720913 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 13, 1973
Filing dateJun 25, 1971
Priority dateJun 25, 1971
Publication numberUS 3720913 A, US 3720913A, US-A-3720913, US3720913 A, US3720913A
InventorsBradford R
Original AssigneeBradford R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Warning and courtesy display system for motor vehicle operators
US 3720913 A
Abstract
A display for notifying a motorist that his headlights are not on and/or for conveying other courtesy information comprises means for sensing proximity of a vehicle, means for sensing ambient light, and means for sensing illumination from the vehicle headlights. When a vehicle is present under poor ambient light conditions and headlight illumination is not sensed, a display advises the motorist to turn headlights on. When illumination is sensed, the display may change to a courtesy message.
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United States Patent [1 1 Bradford 1 1March 13, 1973 1 1 WARNING AND COURTESY DISPLAY SYSTEM FOR MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATORS [76] Inventor: Richard 11. Bradford, 3206 Edgewood Road, Kensington, Md. 20795 221 Filed: June 25,1971 21 Appl. No.: 156,888

[52] US. Cl. ..340/31 R, 340/22 [51] Int. Cl. ..G08g 1/09 [58] Field of Search .....340/22, 31 R, 32, 38 R, 38 P, 340/33; 250/214 D, 217 R; 40/52 R, 52 B,

129 C, 130 R, 130 C, 132 R [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,283,297 11/1966 Pfennighausen 340/22 2,760,134 8/1956 Johnson t ..250/2l4 D 2,270,134 1/1942 Meador ..40/133 1,774,457 8/1930 Singleton... .....315/l55 3,594,760 7/1971 Haker ....40/132 R 2,967,981 1/1961 Wise ..317/124 Primary Examiner-Kathleen H. Claffy Assistant Examiner-Randall P. Myers Attorney-Smith, Michael, Bradford & Gardiner [57] ABSTRACT A display for notifying a motorist that his headlights are not on and/or for conveying other courtesy infor mation comprises means for sensing proximity of a vehicle, means for sensing ambient light, and means for sensing illumination from the vehicle headlights. When a vehicle is present under poor ambient light conditions and headlight illumination is notsensed, a display advises the motorist to turn headlights on'. When illumination is sensed, the display may change to a courtesy message.

5 Claims, lDrawing Figure PATENTEDMR 1 3 mm m BY 5m, max,

WARNING AND COURTESY DISPLAY SYSTEM FOR MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATORS BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE OF INVENTION The subject matter ofthis invention finds primary application at exits from service areas, such as filling stations or restaurants, particularly where such areas are well illuminated. In exiting from such areas onto a public highway, a motorist is likely to be unaware of his PRIOR ART It is well known to provide messages to motorists by means of an activatable display which is controlled by means sensitive to vehicle proximity and to a condition of the vehicle. In US. Pat. No. 3,544,958 a display of this nature concerns itself with the vehicle speed. Similarly traffic signals have been disclosed as controlled by photoelectric sensors placed to sense vehicle headlights (US. Pat. No. 1,939,436) and an illumination system in US. Pat. No. 3,530,432 is described as sensitive to vehicle proximity under conditions of low ambient light intensity.

DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION Referring to the drawing, which is a combinationperspective view of a combination perspective view of the layout of the components of the invention and schematic diagram an exemplary electrical circuit thereof, the invention finds particular application at an exit from a service area such as a filling station where the service area 1 is well illuminated and vehicles are likely to depart without a driver realizing that his headlights are off. A vehicle 2 is illustrated as disposed along a path of travel (departure) generally indicated at 3 lead ing to a highway, generally indicated at 4.

Disposed adjacent to the path of travel 3 is a display device 5 comprising a first actuable display portion 6 and a second actuable display portion 7. Each said portion includes appropriate indicia thereon and separately actuable illumination means disposed therebehind. The portion 6,which appropriately is colored red or some warning color carries indicia warning a motorist that the vehicle lights are not on, while the second portion includes a courtesy message, such as "thank you" or "call again.

For energization of thedisplay, a source of power 8 such as conventional 1 l5 volt 60 cycle house current is provided, and is shown for diagramatic purposes only as being grounded at 9. The live" side of the source 8 is connected through line 10 to a proximity relay coil 11, an ambient light relay coil 12, and through contacts 21 of coil 11 to a headlight relay coil 13. Energization of each said relay is controlled by completion of a circuit to ground through its respective sensor. Thus, the

proximity relay coil is connected to a proximity sensor 14 disposed at a point in the pathof travel 3 which point is in advance of the display device 5. This sensor may be of any type, preferably of the magnetic type commonly used in traffic sensing. Ambient light relay coil 12 is connected to a photoelectric ambient light sensor 15 which is disposed in a position removed from the artificial illumination (not shown) of the service area, here indicated as a high point on top of an advertising sign 16.,The ambient light sensor is oriented to sense only ambient light and thus determine whether ambient conditions require use of automotive headlights. As an alternative, a time clock could be substituted to activate relay coil 12 (or corresponding switch contacts) during night hours only. Headlight relay coil 13 is connected to a photoelectric sensor 17 disposed within an area of expected illumination by vehicle headlight beams 18 when the vehicle is at the point of proximity sensor 14.

OPERATION OF INVENTION All relay contacts shown in their normal (non-actuated) condition in which no vehicle is present. Thus, it can be seen that the display remains inactive due to the normally open contact set 21 of relay coil 11. Upon sensing of the proximity of a vehicle by sensor 14, relay coil 11 is energized to close contact set 21 and thus activate the display panel 5 and enable relay coil 13. Should daylight condition exist at this time, relay coil 12 remains de-energized and contact arm 22 remains in contact with its lower contact to complete a circuit through line 27 and thus actuate display portion 7 to provide a courtesy message to the departing driver. Al-

ternately, of course, the said bottom contact could be eliminated where operation of the display during daylight hours is not desired. In either case, any control by relay 13 is disabled when relay 12 remainsde-energized.

If, on the other hand, sensor 15 determines that ambient light conditions are of sufficiently low intensity as to warrant use of vehicle headlights, appropriate circuitry completes its circuit to ground thus energizing relay coil 12 and moving contact arm 22 to engagement with its upper contact and enable control by contact arm 23 of relay 13. Assuming thatthe'vehicle proximate to sensor 14 has its headlights on, this condition will be sensed by headlight sensor 17 which operates in the opposite sense of sensor 15 and is in opencircuit condition when illuminated. Consequently, relay coil 13 remains de-energized and the display actuating circuit is completed through contact arm 23 and its lower contact to line 27 again activating portion 7 of the display to communicate a courtesy message to the motorist. 1

Should the sensor 17 fail to detect the headlight beams of the vehicle, a circuit is connected from relay coil 13 to ground thus enabling the coil to activation by virtue of the other side of coil 13 being connected to the power source through proximity relay contact '21. Relay coil 13 is energized to draw its contact arm 23 into contact with its upper contact thus completing a circuit to line 26 to actuate portion 6 of the display to provide a warning to the motorist that his lights are not on. This movement of contact arm 23 simultaneous deenergizes line 27 and courtesy message portion 7 of the display 5. It can be assumed that the motorist will perceive the warning and will then turn on the headlights,

illuminating sensor 17 to de-energize relay 13. Contact arm 23 then returns to its lower contact position to extinguish the warning portion 6 and actuate the courtesy portion 7 of the display 5.

From the foregoing description it can be seen that a display system is provided wherein a motorist is warned when about to enter a highway without proper headlights. An examplary circuit has been disclosed, it being clear that deviations therefrom utilizing different circuit elements or connections to perform equivalent functions are within the scope of the invention, which is to be constructed in accordance with the following claims.

Iclaim:

1. A display system for motor vehicles comprising a display device disposed adjacent to the path of travel of a vehicle approaching entry onto a public highway, said device including at least one actuable display portion including courtesy indicia visible to an operator of said approaching vehicle, means for sensing the proximity of said vehicle irrespective of its headlight illumination condition when at a point on said path in advance of said display device and for activating said system in response thereto, photosensitive means distinct from said proximity sensing means disposed within an area of expected illumination by the headlight beam of said vehicle when at said point, and control means normally inhibiting actuation of said display portion and responsive to illumination of said photosensitive means by said headlight beam to enable actuation of said portion when said system is activated in response to said proximity sensing means.

2. A display system as set forth in claim 1 wherein said display device includes a warning display portion also including indicia visible to said operator to apprise him of a non-illuminated condition of the headlights of said approaching vehicle, and means for activating said warning display portion in response to said activation of said system when activation of said first named portion is so inhibited.

3. A display system as set forth in claim 2 including means for disabling control by said headlight beam sensing means.

4. A display system as set forth in claim 3 wherein said disabling means is responsive to means for sensing ambient light conditions in excess of a predetermined level.

5. A display system for motor vehicles comprising a display device disposed adjacent to the path of travel of a vehicle approaching entry onto a public highway, said device including at least one actuable display portion including indicia visible to the operator of said approaching vehicle to warn him of a non-illuminated condition of the headlights of said approaching vehicle, means for sensing the proximity of said vehicle irrespective of its headlight illumination condition when at a point on said path in advance of said display device and for activating said system in response thereto, photosensitive means distinct from said proximity sensing means disposed within an area of expected illumination by the headlight beam of said vehicle when at said point in said path, and control means operatively connected to said proximity sensing means and to said photosensitive headlight sensing means and effective to activate said portion upon coincidence of said proximity means sensing presence of a vehicle and said photosensitive means sensing absence of headlight illumination.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1774457 *Mar 18, 1927Aug 26, 1930Gen ElectricSystem of illumination
US1939436 *Jan 10, 1929Dec 12, 1933Westinghouse Electric & Mfg CoTraffic control system
US2270134 *Nov 28, 1938Jan 13, 1942Russell A MeadorElectric signal and illuminated sign
US2760134 *Jun 5, 1953Aug 21, 1956Nat Pneumatic Co IncCoded electrical control system for motor operated doors
US2967981 *Apr 15, 1958Jan 10, 1961Gen ElectricLight sensitive control circuit
US3283297 *Nov 8, 1963Nov 1, 1966Gladwill William DVehicle highway weather warning system
US3544958 *Sep 11, 1967Dec 1, 1970Carey Leo JSelective speed signs actuated by vehicle speed sensing
US3594760 *Jan 30, 1969Jul 20, 1971Floyd H HakerAdvertising display device
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4392119 *Jun 15, 1981Jul 5, 1983U.S. Computer Systems, Inc.Apparatus and method for monitoring the arrival and duration of stay of a vehicle at a drive-in window
US5021715 *Apr 3, 1989Jun 4, 1991Smith Norman DLighting system for roadside signs
US5061921 *Mar 23, 1989Oct 29, 1991White Way Sign CompanyRemote-controlled message sign
US5412381 *Jun 18, 1993May 2, 1995Astucia-Sociedade De Desenvolvimiento De Patentes, LdaSignalling means
US6025778 *Jul 10, 1998Feb 15, 2000Caterpillar Inc.Apparatus and method for providing an automated back-up alarm
US6422714Feb 10, 2000Jul 23, 2002David HubbellIlluminated, solar powered, vehicle activated, traffic sign
US6637973 *Jan 27, 2000Oct 28, 2003Sug-Bae KimAutomobile road indicating device by using optical transfer
US9129159 *Jun 5, 2012Sep 8, 2015Xerox CorporationVehicle headlight state monitoring methods, systems and processor-readable media
US20130321142 *Jun 5, 2012Dec 5, 2013Xerox CorporationVehicle headlight state monitoring methods, systems and processor-readable media
DE29715658U1 *Sep 1, 1997Nov 27, 1997Porsche AgVerkehrsinformationssystem
WO2000048166A1 *Feb 10, 2000Aug 17, 2000David HubbellIlluminated, solar powered, vehicle activated, traffic sign
Classifications
U.S. Classification340/933, 340/928
International ClassificationG08G1/09
Cooperative ClassificationG08G1/0962
European ClassificationG08G1/0962