US 3794997 A
In a vehicle having an apparatus for detecting potential collisions, a chamber is defined by a horizontal C-shaped reinforcing plate inside the vehicle's bumper. A horn-shaped antenna for transmitting and receiving microwaves and forming part of the detecting apparatus is mounted within the chamber, integrally with a lighting fixture. A waveguide connects the antenna to a cabinet incorporating a microwave circuit and mounted in the chamber.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States atent 1191 lwatsuki et a1.
1451 Feb. 26, 1974 1 1 VEHICLE WITH APPARATUS FOR DETECTING POTENTIAL COLLISIONS Inventors: Kazuhito Iwatsuki; Masami Nishibu;
Tohru Toshioka, all of Aichi, Japan Toyota Jidosha Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha, Aichi-ken, Japan Filed: Mar. 23, 1972 Appl. No.: 237,362
 Foreign Application Priority Data Sept. 30, 1971 Japan 46-88658 Oct. 7, 1971 Japan 46-91640 us. C1. 343/7 ED, 180/82, 343/8, 343/712, 343/713 Int. Cl. 0015 2/46, n91 g 1/32 Field of Search...343/7 ET), 8, 9,711,712, 7135 180/82 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS McIntyre 343/712 2,034,616 3/1936 Gossler 343/713 3,394,342 7/1968 Walker 3,683,379 8/1972 Saddler et a1. 343/7 ED Primary ExaminerBenjamin A. Borchelt Assistant Examiner-G. E. Montone Attorney, Agent, or FirmToren and McGeady  ABSTRACT In a vehicle having an apparatus for detecting potential collisions, a chamber is defined by a horizontal C- shaped reinforcing plate inside the vehicles bumper. A horn-shaped antenna for transmitting and receiving microwaves and forming part of the detecting apparatus is mounted within the chamber, integrally with a lighting fixture. A waveguide connects the antenna to a cabinet incorporating a microwave circuit and mounted in the chamber.
15 Claims, 14 Drawing Figures SHEET 2 BF 5 FIG.4
PATENTH] FEB 2 6 i974 SHEEI 3 0F 5 I DET LOGIC OPER CIRC GEN ET 4* LM-J FIG. 9
PATENTEB FEB26 I974 SHEET 5 [IF 5 FIG. l3
VEHICLE WITH APPARATUS FOR DETECTING POTENTIAL COLLISIONS REFERENCE TO CO-PENDING APPLICATION This application relates to the co-pending application of Kazuo Sato, Tomio l-Iisatsune, and Minoru Izawa, Ser. No. 134,348, filed Apr. 15, 1971, now US. Pat. No. 3,735,191, issued May 22, 1973 entitled VEHI- CLE SAFETY DEVICE, and assigned to the same assignee as this application. The subject of this copending application is hereby made a part of the present application as if fully recited herein.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to vehicle safety devices, and particularly to apparatuses for detecting potential colli sions between one vehicle and another and means for mounting the components of such apparatuses on a vehicle.
A recently developed safety device protects the occupants of a vehicle, during a crash, from injuries that might result from the secondary collision, by inflating an air bag. The aforementioned co-pending application discloses a means to obtain the time needed for inflating the air bag when a collision is imminent. That application discloses a system for contactlessly detecting the imminence of a crash prior to the actual occurrence of the crash. The apparatus for detecting potential collisions is installed on a vehicle, which by virtue of such installation may be called a safety vehicle. On such safety vehicles antennas radiate microwaves and receive reflected waves from a vehicle in the path of a the safety vehicle.
Mounting such a system on a vehicle such as a car so that the antennas can readily radiate and receive energy and pass the energy to suitable circuits creates a number of problems. Microwave components installed under the hood with the cars engine are subject to high heat generated by the engine and to impairment by gasoline, oil or other environmental conditions. Consequently, the operation of the entire system may be subject to deterioration. On the other hand, if the microwave components are distributed over the vehicle, losses may result, or the entire system may be needlessly complicated by the use of flexible duct that connects the antennas with other microwave circuits.
An object of this invention is to avoid such problems.
Another object of the invention is to furnish a safety vehicle having such potential-collision detecting apparatusses operatively and simply mounted thereon for convenient use.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION According to a feature of the invention, a reinforcing member is mounted on the inside of a shock-absorbing bumper on the safety vehicle, and antenna means and a cabinet holding a microwave circuit are housed in the chamber formed by the reinforcing member and the bumper. The antenna means serve to radiate and receive microwave energy and include antenna bodies that direct the energy ahead of the safety vehicle and collect the portion of the radiated energy reflected from another vehicle in the path of the safety vehicle. The microwave circuit is connected to the antenna means and serves to form Doppler signals from portions of the radiated signal and received signal.
According to another feature of the invention, the antenna bodies are mounted in the housings of the direction indicator lamps in the front bumper of the vehicle. Preferably, the antenna bodies are horn-shaped and radiate the microwaves radially toward the center line of the vehicle.
These and other features of the invention are pointed out in the claims. Other objects and advantages in the invention will become obvious from the following detailed description when read in light of the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the accompanying drawings:
FIGS. 1 through 6 illustrate an embodiment of the invention. Specifically FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an apparatus, for detecting potential collisions, using a four antenna system;
FIGS. 2 and 3 are side and plane views, respectively, illustrating the mounting of the component elements of the system in FIG. 1 in a vehicle body, such mounting embodying features of the invention;
FIGS. 4 and 5 are cross-sectional views respectively taken along lines IV-lV and VV of FIG. 3; and
FIG. 6 is a partly broken-away perspective view of the bumper in FIGS. 2 and 3.
FIGS. 7 through 9 illustrate a second embodiment of this invention.
FIG. 7 is a circuit diagram of a potential collision detecting apparatus using a two antenna system; and
FIGS. 8 and 9 are side and plane views, respectively, illustrating the mounting of the component elements of FIG. 7 in a vehicle body in a manner embodying features of the invention.
FIGS. 10 through 12 illustrate a third embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 10 is a circuit diagram of a potential collision detecting apparatus utilizing a one antenna system;
FIG. 11 is a plane view illustrating each component element of FIG. 10 in a vehicle body in a manner embodying features of the invention; and
FIG. 12 is a cross sectional view taken along the line XIIXII of FIG. 11.
FIGS. 13 and I4 illustrate an example of the manner in which the antenna body is installed in the three beforementioned embodiments, which installation embodies features of the invention;
FIG. 13 is a front view illustrating half of the vehicle and FIG. 14 is a cross sectional view taken along the line XIVXIV of FIG. 13.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS FIGS. 1 through 6 illustrate an apparatus for detecting potential collisions using an antenna system in which transmitting antennas are mounted separately from receiving antennas. One set of antennas, ie one receiving antenna and one transmitting antenna is provided at either side of the vehicle V on which the entire device is mounted. In the potential collision detecting apparatus of FIG. 1 a transmitting antenna 1 and a receiving antenna 2 are provided on the right hand side of the vehicle. A transmitting antenna 1' and a receiving antenna 2' are provided on the left hand side of the vehicle in the same manner as the antennas 1 and 2.
A microwave circuit connected to the four antennas 1, 2 and 1, 2' by suitable ducts, produces Doppler signals. When a collision is inevitable, or appears inevitable, a logic operating circuit determines the time remaining until the occurrence of the collision on the basis of the Doppler signal from the microwave circuit 10.
In the microwave circuit 10, a generator 11 produces ultrashort microwaves. A T-branch tube divides the microwaves generated by the generator 11. Directional couplers l3 and 13 couple the branch sides of the T- branch tube 12 to the transmitting antennas 1 and 1'. Detectors l4 and 14 receive the output of the receiving antennas 2 and 2' through the directional couplers l3 and 13 via suitable ducts. The detectors 14 and 14 are electrically connected to a logic operating circuit In FIG. 1, the directional couplers 13 and 13' transmit a portion of the microwave energy from the generator 11 to the detectors l4 and 14. The transmitting antennas l and 1' transmit most of the microwaves toward a vehicle in the path of the vehicle V. The receiving antennas 2 and 2' sense the waves reflected from the vehicle in the path of the vehicle V. These waves are directed to the detectors l4 and 14. The detectors 14 and 14', using the principle of homodyne detection. mix the radiated waves with the reflected waves and produce Doppler signals each exhibiting the difference in frequency between the transmitted and received waves.
Upon receiving the two Doppler signals, the logic operating circuit 3 calculates whether the vehicle in the path of the vehicle 1 is within crashing range or whether both vehicles will pass each other without crashing. The circuit 3 also determines the predetermined remaining time available for inflation of air bags when a collision is imminent.
A system of the type illustrated in FIG. 1 is also described in the beforementioned co-pending application.
The mounting of the potential collision detecting apparatus of FIG. 1 is illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. In FIGS. 2 and 3, the transmitting antennas 1 and 1 form horn-shaped antenna bodies or structures 1a and 1a, the receiving antennas 2 and 2' are formed into similar horn-shaped antenna bodies or structures 2a and 2a. The microwave circuit 10 is tightly sealed in a cabinet 10a. Waveguides and 15 for the transmitting antennas 1 and I extend between transmitting antennas bodies 1a and 1a and the generator 11 in the cabinet 10a. Flexible waveguides l6 and 16 for receiving antennas 2 and 2 extend between receiving antenna structures 2a and 2a and the detectors l4 and 14 in the cabinet 10a.
Electrical cables 17 and 17 connect the detectors l4 and 14 in the cabinet 10a and a cabinet 3a holding the logic operating circuit 3. When installed in a body of the vehicle V, the transmitting antenna structures 1a and 10' as well as the cabinet 10a holding the microwave circuit, and the waveguides 15 and 15' for the transmitting antennas, are located on a shockabsorbing bumper 21. The receiving antenna structures 2a and 2a in the cabinet 3a for the logic operating circuit to be connected to the above-mentioned members by the flexible waveguides 16 and 16' in cable 17 and 17' are provided at the frontmost portion of the body 20.
The mounting mechanism at the bumper 21 is illustrated in FIGS. 4 through 6. In FIGS. 4 through 6, the bumper 21 exhibits a reversed C-shaped cross section. A reinforcing plate 22 formed cross-sectionally into a C-shape is secured to the inside of the bumper by means of bolts 23 or other securing means. The plate 22 defines a closed chamber 25 between the plate 22 and the bumper 21. A stay 24 for mounting the bumper is installed at the back of the reinforcing plate 22 to reduce shock.
Antenna windows 26 and 26' with inwardly bent portions 28 are formed from the front of the bumper 21. They are located at the center of the left and right ends of the bumper 21. At positions aligned with the windows 26 and 26' of the chamber 25, brackets 27 and bolts 23, or other securing means, secure the rear ends of the transmitting antenna bodies 1a and la to the reinforcing plate 22. The front ends of the antenna bodies la and 1a are positioned to be supported by the bent portions 28 and the packings 29. The cabinet 10a of the microwave circuit 10 is installed at the center of the chamber by fixing the flanged portion thereof to the reinforcing plate 22 by means of the bolts 23 or other securing means. The waveguides l5 and 15' for the transmitting antennas are linearly connected between the cabinet 10a and the transmitting antenna structures la and 1a.
FIGS. 7 through 9 illustrate another apparatus for detecting potential collisions, using a two antenna system in which each of two transmitting antennas also serves as a receiving antenna. In the apparatus for detecting potential collision as illustrated in FIG. 7, transmittingreceiving antennas 31 and 31 are connected to circulators 32 and 32 in the microwave circuit 10. When they are to be installed on the vehicle body 20, horn-shaped antenna bodies or structures 31a and 31a and the cabinet l0a as well as two waveguides 33 and 33, which connect the antennas and the cabinet, are housed in the bumper 21 as shown in FIGS. 8 and 9. Thus, all components are arranged in one place. Only the cabinet 3a for the logic operating circuit 3 is installed in the body 20.
FIGS. 10 through 12 illustrate another apparatus for detecting potential collisions. This one utilizes a single antenna system in which the vehicle velocity or the like can be detected by part of the detecting apparatus. In FIG. 10 the apparatus for detecting potential collisions is provided with a single transmitting-receiving antenna 31. The microwave circuit 10 is composed of the generator 11, the circulator 32 and detector 14. The latter actuates the operating circuit 3. the structure 310 is horn-shaped. When they are installed on the body 20 of the vehicle V, the antenna 31 is located at the center of the bumper 21. Therefore, the antenna body or structure 31a and the cabinet 10a of the microwave circuit form an integral structure as shown in FIG. 12. Bolts 23 or other securing means fix the antenna structure 31a and cabinet 10a to the reinforcing plate 22 within the chamber 25. According to one embodiment of the invention, the logic operating circuit 3 is mounted as shown in FIG. 1. However, according to still another embodiment of the invention, the logic operating circuit 3 and other control elements which do not handle microwaves are also installed at the bumper 21 and welded to the reinforcing plate 22 together with those components handling microwaves.
In each of the antenna systems described above, the antenna bodies or structures are installed at the bumper of the vehicle body. FIGS. 13 and 14 illustrate preferred embodiments using mounting means adjacent to the directional signal lights mounted in a bumper. In the embodiments of FIGS. 13 and 14, the antenna body la of the transmitting antenna 1 is incorporated integrally with a direction indicator lamp 41. A window 40 having a width larger than that required for installing the direction indicator lamp 41 is provided at a position at the front of the bumper where the direction indicator lamp is to be installed.
The horn-shaped antenna body la, that is the antenna horn, is arranged adjacent a reflector 43 having a lamp 44 at the center thereof at the inside of a lens 42 of the window 40. The reflector 43 is directed straight forward and the antenna body or structure la is inclined so that the opening thereof is directed toward the center line of the vehicle V holding the bumper 21. Thus, the single window 40 serves to pass the light from the directional signals and the microwave radiation of the collision-probability detection apparatus, namely the apparatus which detects potential collisions. Similarly, the antenna body lb at the side of the body is made integral with the directional signal on that side of the body.
According to another embodiment of the invention, the width indicator is integrally installed with the antenna body 1a.
In the safety vehicle V carrying the detecting apparatus according to this invention, the antenna and other components handling microwaves are installed in close proximity to each other. Thus, transmission losses are reduced and the use of flexible duct can be minimized. Sealing the microwave circuit in its housing protects the microwave circuit from water and dust. Moreover, it is protected from flying stones. Because the microwave components are not mounted under the hood in the vicinity of the engine, the components, and particulary the microwave circuit is not exposed to high heat or exhaust gases from the engine. The plating on the exterior surface of the bumper protects the microwave components housed within the body from temperature rises due to sunshine.
An opening which is already available for passing illumination from lamps forming part of the directional signals is utilized as an opening for transmitting and receiving microwaves from the antennas. Thus, the structural strength of the portions supporting the antennas are not significantly affected.
According to an embodiment of the invention, the portion of the vehicle which is not shown in FIG. 13 is identical to the portion which is shown.
The front of the window 40 is colored to suit the purpose of the direction indicators. The window is made of a material such as acryl having a low dielectric constant into which the lens 42 is inserted. The lens 42 has a reduced attenuation to wave transmission in the microwave range.
According to another embodiment of the invention, the lens 42 is colored to suit the purpose of the directional signals. It is made of an acrylic material having a low dielectric constant. It provides low attenuation to microwave transmission.
While embodiments of the invention have been described in detail, it will be obvious to those skilled in the art that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from its spirit and scope.
What is claimed is:
1. A vehicle,comprising a chassis including a shockabsorbing bumper at the front of the chassis; collision protecting means mounted on said chassis and including microwave antenna means for radiating microwaves ahead of the chassis and for receiving waves reflected from a vehicle ahead of said chassis, microwave circuit means connected to said antenna means for forming a Doppler signal from parts of the radiated waves and parts of the reflected waves; a reinforcing member installed at the inside of said shock-absorbing bumper and forming a chamber with said bumper, said microwave circuit means and at least a portion of said antenna means being mounted in said chamber.
2. A vehicle as in claim I, wherein said antenna means includes an antenna structure and said microwave circuit means includes a cabinet, said antenna structure and said cabinet being mounted in said chamber and secured to one of said bumper and reinforcing member.
3. A vehicle as in claim 2, wherein said antenna means further includes duct means connecting said antenna structure to said microwave circuit means and being mounted in the chamber.
4. A vehicle as in claim 1, wherein said collision pro tecting means includes operating means mounted on said chassis and connected to said microwave circuit means for responding to the Doppler signal.
5. A vehicle as in claim 1, wherein said antenna means includes a plurality of antenna structures each mounted in said chamber.
6. A vehicle as in claim 5, wherein said antenna means includes duct means connecting said antenna structures to said microwave circuit means.
7. A vehicle as in claim 5, wherein said antenna structures are mounted on opposite sides of said chassis along the bumper in said chamber.
8. A vehicle as in claim 1, wherein said chassis forms a longitudinal center line, said bumper forming an opening, said antenna means including a horn, a lamp having a reflector mounted at the window adjacent said horn, said reflector being directed to radiate light out of the window in a substantially straight direction ahead of the chassis, saidhorn being positioned to direct the waves through the window toward the center line of the chassis.
9. A vehicle as in claim 8, wherein a lens is mounted across said window.
10. A vehicle as in claim 1, wherein said antenna means includes a pair of horn antennas, said bumper having two windows one on each end of said bumper, a pair of lamps having reflectors, each reflector being mounted adjacent one of said horn antennas at one of said windows, said chassis having a longitudinal center line, said reflectors being positioned so as to radiate light substantially parallel to the center line and ahead of the vehicle, said horn antennas being positioned to radiate microwaves ahead of the chassis and towards the center line.
1 l. A vehicle, comprising a chassis including a shockabsorbing bumper at the front of the chassis; collision protecting means mounted on said chassis and including microwave antenna means mounted on the front of said chassis for radiating microwaves ahead of the chassis and for receiving waves reflected from a vehicle ahead of said chassis, microwave circuit means connected to said antenna means for forming a Doppler signal from parts of the radiated waves and parts of the reflected waves; guard means for limiting the distance said antenna means must extend to said microwave circuit means and for protecting said microwave circuit means, said guard means including mounting means for forming a mounting chamber behind said bumper and for mounting said microwave circuit and at least a portion of said antenna means in said chamber behind said bumper.
12. A vehicle as in claim 11, wherein said antenna means includes an antenna structure and said microwave circuit means includes a cabinet, said antenna structure and said cabinet being mounted in said chamber and secured to one of said bumper and said mounting means.
of said antennas being mounted in the chamber.