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Publication numberUS3913086 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 14, 1975
Filing dateOct 4, 1973
Priority dateOct 31, 1972
Also published asCA1003069A, CA1003069A1, DE2345562A1, DE2345562B2
Publication numberUS 3913086 A, US 3913086A, US-A-3913086, US3913086 A, US3913086A
InventorsAdler Karl, Ducommun Georges
Original AssigneeBiviator Sa
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
System for safeguarding a device against being operated and used by persons of reduced capacity
US 3913086 A
Abstract  available in
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Adler et al.

SYSTEM FOR SAFEGUARDING A DEVICE AGAINST BEING OPERATED AND USED BY PERSONS OF REDUCED CAPACITY Inventors: Karl Adler, Grenchen; Georges Ducommun, Feldbrunnen, both of Switzerland Biviator S.A., Grenchen, Switzerland Filed: Oct. 4, 1973 Appl. No.: 403,657


Foreign Application Priority Data Oct. 31, 1972 Switzerland 15843/72 US. Cl 340/279; 340/53; 307/10 R; 180/99; 128/2 R Int. Cl. B60K 27/08; B6OT 7/14; B6OQ 1/00; (1088 21/00 Field of Search 340/279, 63, 64, 53 R; 128/2 R, 2 N, 2.05 R; 317/134; 35/11, 22 R; 307/10 R; 180/99 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 8/1966 Buhler 340/279 UX 3,610,943 10/1971 Jones 317/134 X 3,698,385 lO/l972 Low 128/2 N 3,735,207 5/1973 Agarwal... 307/10 R X 3,755,776 8/1973 Kotras 340/53 3,794,968 2/1974 Hill 340/279 X 3,811,116 5/1974 Takeuchi 180/99 X Primary ExaminerJohn W. Caldwell Assistant ExaminerWilliam M. Wannisky Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Imirie, Smiley & Linn ABS I'RACT A system for safeguarding an installation such as a vehicle against being operated and used by persons of reduced capacity, wherein an apparatus for testing various abilities of the person such as the flicker fusion frequency (CFF), muscular motive functions, reaction ability and memory potential may be preset for testing a particular person by means of a key such as a punched card, this key containing information associated with the characteristics of this person. Thus, the installation may only be operated and used by persons having a key and being in possession of the required abilities for properly operating the test apparatus when their key is inserted.

10 Claims, 1 Drawing Figure Card Reader Q Reluy Regulator/x42 Y'Amplifier U T U L1 min Oscillator comparison 5 CIICLIII I O 5 S 3 w r.- lfiggw H Oscillator, Divider i l 5 Converlen ts i Divider Timer ounte 9 7 Amplifier 1 Counter S SYSTEM FOR SAFEGUARDING A DEVICE AGAINST BEING OPERATED AND USED BY PERSONS OF REDUCED CAPACITY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The-present invention relates to a method of safeguarding" devices such as vehicles against starting and use by persons of reduced capacity, whereby a person only by correctly'carrying out a test on an automatic safety system coupled to the devices or the conveyance can unlock the safety device.

It is known in motor vehicles to provide an automatic safety device which ascertains the capacity or the alertness of the person who intends to operate the vehicle, checking it and permitting the vehicle to be taken'into operation only when the test has been successfully carried out. A flickering luminous indication may be provided, the frequency of which can be set by the person. The so-called flicker mergingfrequency, called CFF hereinafter, is the frequency at which the person just fails to see the flickering of the luminous indication but gains the impression of a steady light. The deviation of this CFF from a basic CFF ascertained from the normal state of the person, presents a measurement of the capacity or the alertness of the person. Only when the setting of the frequency is adjusted within a relatively narrow margin to about a fixed nominal frequency, can the car he started up. This prevents any-person of disturbed or diminished capacity from using the car.

All known safety systems of this kind have the considerable disadvantage that they are fashioned to one person, or only to a certain selection of persons, whose CFF at normal personal capacity just equals the basic CF F set as standard in the apparatus. Other persons which in a normal state may have a. substantially different CFF, would be incapable of using the car at all. It has also been shown that the CFF test is not sufficient ator.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION According to the present invention there is therefore provided a method of safeguarding an installation such as a vehicle against being operated and used by persons of reduced capacity, whereby a person by correctly carrying out a capacity test on an automatic safety device coupled to the installation cancels a safety block of the installation. In accordance with this invention a combined test is carried out which simultaneously tests the muscular motive functions, the reaction ability, the memory potential and the physio-psychic state of an operator, each qualified person having a particular key coded in accordancewith their personal normal capacity, the test being-initiated by inserting the key in a reader of the automatic safety system which presets the action of the automatic safety system to'suit that one person, whereupon the said person carries out the test in order to be able to start up theinstallation.

In any particular case the automatic safety system is programmed by insertion of a different coded key of any type for each specific person and hence adjusted to the normal personal capacity of this person. It is possible for this person to carry out correctly the test as to whether his normal capacity exists, and if this is so, the

. car can be driven. The car may be used by any other person if he possesses a key coded to his individual capacity. The key, which on establishment of the normal capacity of the person concerned is issued by the authorities,-may also count as a driving licence. It is then at any time possible for the police to ascertain if any particular person is really authorised and capable to drive a certain vehicle. That is the case only when this person has a'personal key and when he is capable by means of this key to start the vehicle.

The method is devised such that all decisive factors such as as muscular motive functions, reaction capacity, memory potential and physio-psychic state are ascertained. Preferably it is possible in a manner described in detail below to carry out a CFF test of a particular kind so as to apprehend all factors simultaneously.

The invention will now be described in detail by way of an embodiment of a safety system in accordance with the invention. 3

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The FIGURE is a blocked diagram of a preferred embodiment of a system according to the present invention. i

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT The system, as already mentioned, has as essential component an optional number of keys which in the case of the embodiment are perforated cards. Each contains in a coded form a number corresponding to the normal flicker merging frequency of the person who owns the card. The automaticv safety system has a reader, in the present case a card reader 2, which reads and forwards the coded signal contained in the card 1 to a comparison circuit 4. An oscillator 3 acts to control the different circuits of the automatic safety system. A unit 5 denoted collectively as a logic unit or network, controls the entire action of the system by means of gates, or similar switching elements in known manner and only as required. In reality no actual logic blocks of the kind shown exists, the logic functions being gathered into a block diagram in the drawing only for the sake of clarity.

The circuit-includes a transducer 6 which divides the frequency of the oscillator 3 in the present embodiment in the ratio of 256:1, so that at the output thereof an impulse signal appears with a periodicity of about 6 minutes. 7

There is also a 3-minute timer 7 which after each half-period of the output signal of the transducer 6 forwards an impulse to the logic unit 5. This time signal permits another start after a successful start within 3 minutes, even when the ignition key of a vehicle in which the automatic safety system is installed, has been removed. It is,however, a condition that the card 1 was left in the reader 2.

The output signal frequency of the counter 7 is further reduced in a further 30 -minute counter 8, so that at the output thereof an impulse appears withaperiodicity of about 60 minutes. After each half-periodof the signal, ie at intervals of about 30 minutes, an output signal is transmitted to the logic unit 5.

A counter 9 counts the number of successively effected tests. If in the embodiment shown, this counter reaches the position No. 3, then it transmits an output impulse to the counter 8, which now during the following'30 minutes transmits a suppression signal to the logic unit 5, which blocks the automatic safety mechanism for this period against any further attempt.

The automatic mechanism has a start button contact 10 which, when the counter 9 is actuated, is moved forward by one position, and a starting signal is transmitted to the logic unit 5 for a purpose explained hereinafter. The actuation of the button 10 has been made difficult by mechanical cut-outs, so that only a calm concentrated manipulation can operate it. inadequately controlled actuation of the button 10 transmits a signal to the logic unit 5 which denotes the test as failed and prevents the starting of the vehicle.

The starting signal is transmitted via a delay circuit 11 which between each test causes a different delay of between and seconds and renders it impossible to ascertain the basic CFF by means of a stop-watch or like aid. 7

The regulator 12 automatically regulates the frequency of an oscillator 13. The regulator uses a sliding analog voltage regulator including an operational amplifier, which causes a control voltage for the oscillator 13 to fall in a predetermined manner during the test, from a maximum to a minimum. The frequency of the oscillator 13 hence drops correspondingly from an upper limit frequency of 7 KHz by 200 Hz per second to a lower limit frequency of 2 KHz The output frequency of the oscillator 13 is divided in a transducer by a ratio 100:1 to a frequency of 70-20 Hz. The output signal of the transducer 14 has a rectangular impulse with a fixed ratio of 1:1 so that the impulse duration is always equal to the duration of the interval. This signal is amplified in an amplifier 15 the output of which feeds a flashinglamp or CFF.

The battery potential of the vehicle is applied via a contact 19 of the ignition switch to feed a stabilizer and voltage converter 16 which supplies a normal voltage Un and a special voltage Us. It also produces the necessary voltages for the operational amplifiers and all other circuit parts. The special voltage is used, for example, for feeding the 30 minute cut-out.

A relay amplifier 17 is provided for actuating contacts 20 in the ignition and starter circuit. The relay amplifier 17 may in special cases be switched on via an emergency switch 18, so that in the cases in which a normal start would take up too much time, or which for other reason would not be desirable, the vehicle may be started directly. A further contact 21 is coupled with the emergency switch 18, which triggers off an alarm, such as a warning flasher installation, or the horn of the car. in

To start the vehicle the driver inserts his personal punchcard 1 into the card reader 2, which transmits a coded signal in accordance with his personal CFF to the comparison circuit.'All information data which may still be existing from an earlier actuation are hereby cancelled, except for the blocking functions of the circuits 7 and 8. When the card 1 is briefly pressed completely into the reader 2 with a definite pressure, the reading operation is activated, which in the case of the punched card, iseffected by lamps and photo-diodes. The automatic system is now prepared for a first test. For this purpose a button is depressed, causing the counter 9, the logic Sand the delay 11 of the regulator 12 and the oscillator 13 to be switched on; the lamp CFF commences to flicker at its maximum frequency, if the button was correctly actuated, thus testing certain muscular motive functions of the person concerned. The flicker frequency is chosen'to be initially so high that no person can see the flicker, but gain the impression of a continuous light. The frequency now drops at a predetermined rate. As soon as the flicker of 5 the light is first noticed, the button 10 is released immediately, and the regulator 12 and the oscillator 13, this time without any delay, remain in the states attained, i.e. the oscillator frequency does not change. If the button is released too slowly, which indicates poor reaction ability, then the frequency drops further, which leads to failure of the test. The output frequency of the transducer 14 or the flicker frequency is continuously transmitted to the comparison circuit 4 where it is converted into digital form and compared with the digital information introduced from the reader 2. If the flicker frequency attained in this manner at the instant of releasing the button 10 corresponds with sufficient accuracy to the basic CFF derived from the card 1 for the person in question, it means that the person in question is in possession of his normal capacity; the comparison circuit 4 transmits a corresponding signal to the logic 5, which in turn actuates the relay amplifier l7 and causes the closure of the contacts in the ignition and starter circuit. The vehicle may now be started.

If, however, the comparison of the test flicker frequency does not agree closely with the basic CFF fed by the card, then no signal is transmitted to the logic 5 and the relay amplifier 17 and the circuit is reset to the original state. Whether the frequency has dropped too low owing to a slow reaction, or owing to the dropping of the personal CFF, makes no difference. The dropping of the flicker frequency to below the permissible limit indicates that, seen as a whole, there is lack of vigilance.The test may now be recommenced in the manner described. If the driver succeedsin setting a flicker frequency within the limit range with this second test, then the vehicle may be started in the manner described. If the second attempt also fails, then a third attempt may be made. If this also fails, then on releasing the button 10 the counter 9 transmits a start signal to the thirty minute counter 8, which via the logic 5 puts the automatic safety device out of action for 30 minutes, so that during this time no new attempt can start the vehicle engine.

If the engine of the vehicle is switched off at a level crossing barrier, then despite the opening of the ignition switch the stabiliser and voltage transformer 16 are still supplied from the car battery via a separate constantly connected lead so that the circuits of the automatic system remain live. more particularly the relay amplifier 17 remains in its operational state, so that the controlled contacts prepare the ignition circuit and the starter circuit, and these circuits can immediately be closed by means of the ignition switch. After about 3 minutes, however, the counter 7 disconnects the relay amplifier'17 which becomes ineffective and the vehicle can be started only after a renewed successful carryingout of a test. A- condition that the circuit remains in readiness to start during 3 minutes is that the card 1 remains in the card reader 2. V

The above-described automatic safety system may be used in substantially the same form for safeguarding any other conveyance or any installation. In all cases it is a question of permitting the starting or use of the installation only when the operator has successfully passedhis individually adapted test. Depending upon the degree of personal fitness demanded of the operator, the range of frequency in which the test is to be considered as passed, may be selected to be wider or narrower. In the automatic safety system described for automotive vehicles this range, may be 5 Hz, i.e. the frequency set may be 2.5 Hz below or above the nominal frequency fed by the card 1. More or less than three attempts may be allowed, as predetermined by adjust ment of the counter 9. The determination of the personal CFF may be effected in any suitable manner. It would be possible, for example, for the person being tested to select this frequency by means of a potentiometer and then by depressing a button, transmit the comparison result to the logic, where it is decided as to whether this comparison result is to be positively or negatively evaluated and as to whether starting is to be allowed or refused.

As shown from the above description, the test provided by the automatic safety system gives simultaneous investigation of several factors. By means of the button the muscular motive functions is tested, the automatically controlled drop of the flicker frequency gives a reaction test since at the first sign of flickering the actuating button has to be released to prevent excessive dropping of the frequency, the separators memory and observation are tested in that an indication consisting of a flickering illuminated disc in a ring of varying luminous intensity has to be recognised, and the physio-psychic state is tested by ascertaining the CFF. The method of operation of the CFF test by means of an automatic safety system operated in a manner partly manually, partly automatically, provides the simultaneous testing of all essential functions of the operator for ascertaining his vigilance. Hence the tests as far as necessary, are suited to individual circumstances. in the embodiment it is assumed that only the basic CFF to be tested. It is, however, also possible for other test conditions to be included. For example, the speed at which the frequency of the luminous indication drops may be predetermined by means of the card 1, so that individual reaction speeds are required from different persons. Means for testing muscular motive functions may also be adjustable and set by means of the card 1, or a suitably coded key be used by each individual.

It is also possible for other factors to be taken into account and possibly personal abilities also, e.g. a perimetric test or colour recognition (green-amber-red).

We claim:

1. A method of safeguarding a device from being operated and used by persons of reduced capacity, whereby a person by correctly carrying out a capacity test on an automatic safety system coupled to the device cancels an inhibiting network of the device, the method comprising the steps of:

preceding a key in accordance with the personal normal capacity of the holder of the key;

inserting the key into a reader to program the automatic safety system to the personal characteristics of the key holder;

testing the muscular motive functions, the reaction ability, the memory potential and the physiopsychic state of the key holder; and

comparing the test results to the characteristics programmed into the automatic safety system to determine the state of the inhibited network.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein said testing step comprises:

pulsing a luminous indicator with a falling frequency;

testing the muscular-motive functions by providing a button for initiation of said drop in frequency by actuation when the first observation of said indicator is made,

testing reaction ability by measuring the time of release of the button upon reaching the programmed flicker-fusion frequency of the operator,

testing memory potential by providing a predetermined luminous indicator image, and

testing physio-psychic state by measurong the deviation of indicated flicker-fusion frequency from the operators programmed normal frequency.

3. A safety system for inhibiting operation of a device by persons of reduced capacity, comprising:

first means for providing an output responsive to the functional capabilities of an operator,

second means for comparing said output of said first means with a predetermined standard, third means adapted to inhibit operation of the device, said third means coupled with said second means and responsive to the output of said first means substantially meeting said predetermined standard to enable operation of the device, and

fourth means responsive to a coded key to preset said predetermined standard to characteristics individually associated with said key whereby each test performed is individualized to the operator whose key is used.

4. A system as recited in claim 3, wherein punched cards are provided as keys.

5. A system as recited in cliam 3, wherein said first means includes an oscillator of variable frequency and a luminous indication supplied with current by said oscillator to provide a flicker frequency signal, and said second means includes a comparison circuit comparing the flicker-merging frequency ascertained from an operator with a personal frequency derived from a code on said operators key.

6. A system as recited in claim 5, wherein said first means further includes control means having a start button causing said oscillator after actuation of said button to fall automatically from a maximum starting value, fall of said frequency being stopped when said button is released.

7. A system as recited in claim 6, including means for testing muscular-motive functions coupled with said button.

8. A system as recited in claim 3, further including a counter coupled to said first means for ascertaining the number of tests sequentially carried out, and locking means connected to disable the device, said counter on attaining a predetermined count actuating said locking means for a certain period.

.9. A system as recited in claim 8 further including a holding circuit for maintaining said locking means out of action during short breaks in the operation of said device.

10. A system as recited in claim 5, wherein said luminous indication is provided by a disc with having a flickering light with an annular adaptation light.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4072850 *Sep 10, 1975Feb 7, 1978Mcglynn Daniel RVehicle usage monitoring and recording system
US4664127 *Aug 28, 1985May 12, 1987Aisin Seiki Kabushiki KaishaVehicle-loaded heartbeat meter
US4723625 *Dec 16, 1985Feb 9, 1988Susan KomlosSobriety tester
US4854329 *Jul 21, 1987Aug 8, 1989Walruff James CApparatus and method for noninvasive testing of voluntary and involuntary motor response patterns
US5224566 *Apr 25, 1991Jul 6, 1993Stepanian Gary LDriving under the influence prevention, and methods of constructing and utilizing same
US6029102 *Jul 1, 1998Feb 22, 2000Elsman; James L.Driver control display system for a vehicle
US7658255 *Mar 8, 2004Feb 9, 2010Trocadero Consulting AbDevice for preventing a driver under the influence of drugs to use a motor vehicle
US8142331Mar 27, 2012Studio Allumage, Inc.Vehicle engine shutdown prevention system
US20060180378 *Mar 8, 2004Aug 17, 2006Stefan NordinDevice for preventing a driver under the influence of drugs to use a motor vehicle
US20080196963 *Jun 4, 2004Aug 21, 2008Margareta KarlssonMethod and Device For Controlling a Car
US20110237391 *Sep 29, 2011Radu Ioan BurdetiVehicle engine shutdown prevention system
U.S. Classification340/576, 180/272
International ClassificationA61B5/16, B60K28/06, B60L3/00, A61B5/18, B60K28/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61B5/161, B60K28/063, B60L3/00, A61B5/18
European ClassificationB60K28/06B, B60L3/00, A61B5/18, A61B5/16B