|Publication number||USRE39868 E1|
|Application number||US 10/330,955|
|Publication date||Oct 9, 2007|
|Filing date||Dec 27, 2002|
|Priority date||Sep 16, 1993|
|Also published as||US6419265|
|Publication number||10330955, 330955, US RE39868 E1, US RE39868E1, US-E1-RE39868, USRE39868 E1, USRE39868E1|
|Inventors||David S. Breed|
|Original Assignee||Automotive Technologies International, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (100), Non-Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (2), Classifications (12), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S: patent application Ser. No. 08/101,017 filed Sep. 16, 1993 now U.S. Pat. No. 5,842,716.
This invention relates to self-contained airbag systems and more particularly to self-contained side impact airbag systems.
Self-contained airbag systems contain all of the parts of the airbag system within a single package, in the case of mechanical implementations, and in the case of electrical or electronic systems, all parts except the primary source of electrical power and, in some cases, the diagnostic system. This includes the sensor, inflator and airbag. Potentially these systems have significant cost and reliability advantages over conventional systems where the sensor(s), diagnostic and backup power supply are mounted separate from the airbag module. In mechanical implementations in particular, all of the wiring, the diagnostic system and backup power supply are eliminated. In spite of these advantages, self-contained airbag systems have only achieved limited acceptance for frontal impacts and have so far not been considered for side impacts.
The “all-mechanical” self-contained systems were the first to appear on the market for frontal impacts but have not been widely adopted partially due to their sensitivity to accelerations in the vertical and lateral directions. These cross-axis accelerations have been shown to seriously degrade the performance of the most common all mechanical design that is disclosed in Thuen, U.S. Pat. No. 4;580, 810. Both frontal and side impact crashes frequently have severe cross-axis accelerations.
Additionally, all-mechanical self contained airbag systems, such as disclosed in the Thuen patent, require that the sensor be placed inside of the inflator which increases the strength requirements of the inflator walls and thus increases the size and weight of the system. One solution to this problem appears in Breed, U.S. Pat. No. 4,711,466, but has not been implemented. This patent discloses a method of initiating an inflator through the use of a percussion primer in combination with a stab primer and the placement of the sensor outside of the inflator. One disadvantage of this system is that a hole must still be placed in the inflator wall to accommodate the percussion primer that has its own housing. This hole weakens the wall of the inflator and also provides a potential path for gas to escape.
Another disadvantage in the Thuen system that makes it unusable for side impacts, is that the arming system is sealed from the environment by an O-ring. This sealing method may perform satisfactorily when the module is mounted in the protected passenger compartment but it would not be satisfactory for side impact cases where the module would be mounted in the vehicle door where it can be subjected to water, salt, dirt, and other harsh environments.
Self-contained electrical systems have also not been widely used. When airbags are used for both the driver and the passenger, self-contained airbag systems require a separate sensor and diagnostic for each module. In contrast to mechanical systems the electronic sensor and diagnostic systems used by most vehicle manufactures are expensive. This duplication and associated cost required for electrical systems eliminates most of the advantages of the self contained system.
Sensors located in the passenger compartment of a vehicle can catch most airbag-required crashes for frontal impacts, particularly if the occupants are wearing seatbelts. However, researchers now believe that there are a significant number of crashes which cannot be sensed in time in the passenger compartment and that this will require the addition of another sensor mounted in the crash zone (see, for example, Breed, D. S., Sanders, W. T. and Castelli, V. “A Critique of Single Point Sensing”, Society of Automotive Engineers Paper No. 920124). If true, this will eventually eliminate the use of self-contained airbag systems for frontal impacts.
Some of these problems do not apply to side impacts mainly because side impact sensors must trigger in a very few milliseconds when there is no significant signal at any point in the vehicle except where the car is crushing or location rigidly attached to this crush zone. Each airbag system must be mounted in the crush zone and generally will have its own sensor. Self contained airbag systems have heretofore not been used for occupant protection for side impacts which is largely due to the misconception that side impact sensing requires the use of elongated switches as is discussed in detail in U.S. Pat. No. 5,231,253, incorporated by reference herein. These elongated prior art side impact crush-sensing switches are not readily adaptable to the more compact self-contained designs. The realization that a moving mass sensor was the proper method for sensing side impacts has now led to the development of the side impact self contained airbag system of this invention. The theory of sensing side impacts is included in the '253 patent referenced above.
In electromechanical and electronic self-contained modules, the backup power supply and diagnostic system are frequently mounted apart from the airbag system. If a wire is severed during a crash but before the airbag deploys, the system may lose its power and fail to deploy. This is more likely to happen in a side impact where the wires must travel inside of the door. For this reason, mechanical self-contained systems have a significant reliability advantage over conventional electrical systems.
Finally, the space available for the mounting of airbag systems in the doors of vehicles is frequently severely limited making it desirable that the airbag module be as small as possible. Conventional gas generators use sodium azide as the gas generating propellant. This requires that the gas be cooled and extensively filtered to remove the sodium oxide, a toxic product of combustion. This is because the gas in exhausted into the passenger compartment where it can burn an occupant and is inhaled. If the gas is not permitted to enter the passenger compartment; the temperature of the gas can be higher and the products of combustion can contained toxic chemicals, such as carbon dioxide.
These and other problems associated with self contained airbag systems are solved by the invention disclosed herein.
This invention is primarily concerned with a novel self-contained airbag system for protecting occupants in side impacts. This is accomplished by using the sensors described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,231,253 referenced above, along with other improvements described in detail below. This invention is secondarily concerned with applying some of the features of the novel side impact system to solving some of the problems of prior art all mechanical airbag systems discussed above.
The sensitivity to cross axis accelerations of current all mechanical airbag systems, for example, is solved in the present invention, as discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,233,141, incorporated by reference herein, through the substitution of a hinged sensing element for the ball sensing mass in the Thuen patent.
The problems resulting from the hole in the inflator wall when a percussion primer is used as in Breed, U.S. Pat. No. 4,711,466, are solved in the present invention through the placement of sensitive pyrotechnic material in a cavity adjacent to the outside wall of the inflator and then using shock from a stab primer to initiate the pyrotechnic material and thus the inflator. An alternate solution, as discussed below, is to make the size of the hole created in the inflator by the action of the stab primer small so that the total quantity of gas which escapes into the sensor is small compared with the quantity of gas used to inflate the airbag.
Finally, in the self-contained airbag system disclosed herein, provision is made to exhaust the gas outside of the passenger compartment, into the vehicle doors, or other side areas of the vehicle. This permits the use of higher gas temperatures and alternate propellant formulations, such as nitro-cellulose, which produce toxic combustion products. Both of these changes reduce the size, weight and cost of the system.
Briefly, the self-contained airbag system of this invention consists of a sensor having a movable sensing mass, means to sense the position of the sensing mass to determine if the airbag should be deployed, a sealed housing, a gas generator for producing the gas to inflate the airbag, an airbag, and mounting hardware.
The principal objects and advantages of this invention are:
Other objects and advantages will become apparent from the discussion below.
In one embodiment of a side impact airbag system for a vehicle, the airbag system comprises a system housing defining an interior space and arranged on the first side of the vehicle alongside at least a portion of a passenger compartment of the vehicle, one or more inflatable airbags arranged in the interior space of the system housing such that when inflating, the airbag(s) is/are expelled from the system housing into the passenger compartment, and inflator means arranged at least partially within the interior space of the system housing for inflating the airbag(s). The inflator means comprise an inflator housing containing propellant. The airbag system also includes a crash sensor for initiating inflation of the airbag(s) via the inflator means upon a determination of a crash requiring inflation thereof The crash sensor comprises a sensor housing arranged within the system housing, proximate thereto and/or mounted thereon, and a sensing mass arranged in the sensor housing to move relative to the sensor housing in response to accelerations of the sensor housing resulting from the crash into the first side of the vehicle. Upon movement of the sensing mass in excess of a threshold value, the crash sensor initiates the inflator means to inflate the airbag(s). The threshold value may be the maximum motion of the sensing mass required to determine that a crash requiring deployment of the airbag(s) is taking place.
The crash sensor may be an electronic sensor and the movement of the sensing mass is monitored. The electronic sensor generates a signal representative of the movement of the sensing mass that may be monitored and recorded over time. The electronic sensor may also include a microprocessor and an algorithm for determining whether the movement over time of the sensing mass as processed by the algorithm results in a calculated value that is in excess of the threshold value based on the signal.
In some embodiments, the crash sensor also includes an accelerometer, the sensing mass constituting part of the accelerometer. For example, the sensing mass may be a micro-machined acceleration sensing mass in which case, the electronic sensor includes a micro-processor for determining whether the movement of the sensing mass over time results in an algorithmic determined value which is in excess of the threshold value based on the signal. In the alternative, the accelerometer includes a piezo-electric element for generating a signal representative of the movement of the sensing mass, in which case, the electronic sensor includes a micro-processor for determining whether the movement of the sensing mass over time results in an algorithmic determined value which is in excess of the threshold value based on the signal.
The inflator means may be any component or combination of components which is designed to inflate an airbag, preferably by directing gas into an interior of the airbag. One embodiment of the inflator means may comprise a primer. In this case, the crash sensor includes an electronic circuit including the accelerometer and the primer such that upon movement over time of the sensing mass results in a calculated value in excess of the threshold value, the electronic circuit is completed thereby causing ignition of the primer.
The system housing may comprise a mounting plate having a bottom wall and flanged side walls, the bottom wall having an aperture, whereby the inflator housing is arranged in the aperture. The system housing may be arranged inside a door of the vehicle or between inner and outer panels not associated with a door of the vehicle.
The airbag system may also include a capacitor arrange within the system housing to supply power to initiated deployment of the airbag system and an electronic diagnostic system arranged within the system housing to permit diagnoses of a fault within the airbag system.
Another embodiment of an airbag safety restraint system for a vehicle including an electronic crash sensor comprises an inflatable airbag having an interior, and an inflator assembly having an inflator housing, an ignitable gas generating material contained in the inflator housing and at least one passage extending between the gas generating material and the interior of the airbag such that upon ignition of the gas generating material, gas is generated and flows through the at least one passage into the interior of the airbag to inflate the airbag. The electronic crash sensor causes ignition of the gas generating material upon a determination of a crash requiring inflation of the airbag and comprises a sensor housing, a sensing mass arranged in the sensor housing to move relative to the sensor housing in response to accelerations of the sensor housing resulting from the crash whereby a signal representative of the movement of the sensing mass is generated, and a micro-processor comprising an algorithm for determining whether the movement of the sensing mass over time results in a calculated value which is in excess of a threshold value based on the signal. If the movement over time of the sensing mass results in a calculated value that is in excess of the threshold value, the micro-processor causes ignition of gas generating material and thus inflation of the airbag.
The sensor housing may be mounted proximate to the inflator housing. The crash sensor may include an accelerometer whereby the sensing mass constitutes part thereof, e.g., a micro-machined element, or the accelerometer may include a piezo-electric element. The inflator assembly may include a primer for igniting the gas generating material whereby the crash sensor includes an electronic circuit including the accelerometer and the primer such that upon movement of the sensing mass over time resulting in a calculated value in excess of the threshold value, the electronic circuit is completed thereby causing ignition of the primer.
Yet another embodiment of an airbag safety restraint system for a vehicle including an electronic crash sensor comprises, in addition to the inflatable airbag and inflator assembly described immediately above, a sensor housing, and an accelerometer arranged in the sensor housing and including a sensing mass movable relative to the sensor housing in response to accelerations of the sensor housing resulting from the crash. The accelerometer is arranged to generate a signal representative of the movement of the sensing mass over time. The crash sensor is arranged to cause ignition of the gas generating material if the movement over time of the sensing mass represented by the signal results in a calculated value that is in excess of a threshold value. The sensor housing may mounted proximate to or directly on the inflator housing. The sensing mass may be a micro-machined element. The accelerometer may also include a piezo-electric clement for generating the signal. In another basic embodiment of the side impact airbag system in accordance with the invention, the system includes a system housing defining an interior space and which is arranged on the side of the vehicle alongside at least a portion of a passenger compartment of the vehicle, a sensor housing, a sensing mass arranged in the senor housing to move relative to the sensor housing in response to accelerations of the sensor housing in excess of a predetermined threshold value resulting from impact into the first side of the vehicle, one or more inflatable airbags arranged in the interior space of the system housing such that when inflating, the airbag(s) is/are expelled from the system housing into the passenger compartment, and inflator means arranged at least partially within the interior space for inflating the airbag(s). The inflator means comprise an inflator housing containing propellant and the sensor housing is coupled to the inflator housing. The system also includes initiation means arranged in the sensor housing responsive to the movement of the sensing mass upon acceleration of the sensor housing for initiating the inflator means to inflate the airbag(s) and expel the same from the system housing into the passenger compartment.
The system housing may comprise a mounting plate having a bottom wall and flanged side walls, the bottom wall having an aperture in which the inflator housing is arranged. The inflator housing may include a first flanged housing section and a second housing section, the first housing section being arranged in the aperture such that a flanged portion of the first housing section abuts against the bottom wall, the sensor housing is connected to the first housing section. The sensor housing may comprise a top cover adapted to be situated most proximate an exterior of the vehicle and opposed wall portions cooperating to define a sealed interior space whereby the sensing mass is arranged in the interior space of the sensor housing. The initiation means may comprise a biasing spring arranged in the interior space of the sensor housing and releasably restrained by the sensing mass and a firing pin arranged in connection with the biasing spring.
In some embodiments, the sensor housing further comprises a bottom cover having an orifice arranged such that when the biasing spring is released from the sensing mass upon acceleration of the sensor housing, the firing pin passes through the orifice. In this case, the inflator means further comprise a stab primer located in the inflator housing adjacent the orifice and in a position to be impacted by the firing pin.
In the alternative, the stab primer is arranged in the interior space of the sensor housing in a position to be impacted by the firing pin when the biasing spring is released from the sensing mass upon acceleration of the sensor housing whereby initiation of the stab primer creates a shock which is transmitted through the sensor housing to the inflator assembly. The inflator assembly includes a shock sensitive pyrotechnic mix that ignites upon impact by the shock created upon initiation of the stab primer. The sensor housing thus may comprises a solid bottom cover arranged alongside the inflator housing.
The sensing mass may be pivotally coupled to the sensor housing to enable the mass to pivot about a vertical axis in response to accelerations of the sensor housing in excess of the predetermined threshold value resulting from impact into the side of the vehicle. The sensing mass may be substantially planar and square. The sensing mass may be arranged in the sensor housing for movement relative to the sensor housing only in response to accelerations of the sensor housing caused by the impact into the side of the vehicle.
Sealing means may be provided for hermetically sealing the sensor housing to prevent passage of moisture and contaminants into or out of the sensor housing. In one embodiment, the sealing means comprise a member cooperating at least with the inflator housing to surround the sensor housing within a closed, hermetically sealed compartment. When the inflator housing has first and second housing sections, the member may comprise a tubular section surrounding the first housing section of the inflator housing and a spherical section sealing an end of the tubular section and being situated over the sensor housing.
The sensor housing may comprise a side wall, a hinge for pivotally attaching the sensing mass to the side wall, and a releasable firing pin restrained by the mass. The inflator means are initiated by movement of the firing pin. The system housing is mounted such that upon a side impact causing acceleration of the sensor housing in excess of the predetermined threshold value, the sensing mass pivots about the hinge causing release of the firing pin, and thus initiating the inflator means to inflate the airbag(s). This sensing mass may also be cantilevered where the attachment to the wall performs the function of a hinge as in certain micro-machined accelerometer designs.
In some embodiments, crush detecting means are provided for preventing movement of the sensing mass in response to accelerations of the sensor housing in excess of the predetermined threshold value resulting from impact into the first side of the vehicle until crush of the first side of the vehicle is detected. Thus, the sensor will actuate only upon crush of the vehicle and a sufficient velocity change. The crush detecting means comprise a sensor can surrounding the senor housing and including an outer cover and a tubular wall defined an interior space in which the sensor housing is situated. The crush detecting means may also include a spherical pusher member adapted to receive a force from the outer cover upon crush of the first side of the vehicle, a first lever adapted to be pushed by the pusher member and hingedly mounted at one end thereof to the sensor housing to enable it to rotate about an attachment point to the sensor housing, and a second lever hingedly connected at a first end to the first lever and pivotally connected to the sensor housing. The second lever has a second end extending through an aperture in a wall of the sensor housing and restraining the sensing mass from movement whereby rotation of the second lever causes the second end of the second lever to pull out of the sensor housing.
The vehicle may include a pusher plate arranged in a side door on the first side of the vehicle whereby the system housing is arranged alongside at least a portion of the pusher plate.
In certain embodiments, the initiation means comprise a first electrical spring contract biased against the sensing mass and a second electrical contact arranged on the top cover of the sensor housing whereby upon movement of the sensing mass, the first contact is caused to engage the second contact and complete an electrical circuit.
As to mounting of the system housing, the system housing is mounted such that the sensor housing is usually closer to an exterior of the side of the vehicle than the inflator housing and thus more forwardly in a side impact crash direction than the inflator housing. The system housing may be arranged inside a door of the vehicle or between inner and outer panels of a section other than the door of the vehicle.
The invention will be described with reference to the following non-limiting drawings in which:
Referring to the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numerals refer to the same or similar elements,
As shown in
The sensing mass 141 is connected to the housing 101 of sensor assembly 140 through a hinge 145 at one end whereby the opposed end is unrestrained so that the sensing mass 141 rotates about the hinge 145. In view of the mounting of the airbag system 100 on the side of the vehicle, hinge 145 defines a rotation axis which is perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of travel of the vehicle (x) as well as perpendicular to a direction (y) transverse to the longitudinal direction of travel of the vehicle, i.e., it is a vertical axis (z).
The sensor housing 101 includes opposed housing wall portions 146 and 148, a top cover 150 and a bottom cover 151 which is connected to, mounted on or the same part as a top cover 121 of the inflator assembly 120. The sensor housing 101 is filled with air and sealed (when appropriately mounted to the inflator assembly 120 whereby a small orifice 127 in bottom cover 151 is closed by the inflator assembly 120) so to maintain a constant air density regardless of the ambient temperature or pressure. The sensor housing walls 146,148 and sensing mass 141 are preferably molded along with the hinge 145 in a single insert molding operation to provide a careful control of the dimensions of the parts and particularly of a clearance 152 between the walls 146,148 and the sensing mass 141 for the reasons described below.
The inflator assembly 120 comprises a stab primer 122, igniter mix 130 associated with the stab primmer 122, one or more propellant chambers 123 containing propellant 124 and a series of cooling and filtering screens 125. In the particular design shown in
During operation of the device, sensing mass 141 rotates relative to sensor housing 101 in the direction of the arrow (shown in
In the embodiment shown in
In the particular design shown in
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that since the airbag system 100 is designed to activate in side impacts, the sensing mass 141 is arranged for movement in a direction perpendicular to the sides of the vehicle, i.e., perpendicular to the longitudinal direction of travel of the vehicle, or in a pivoting movement about a vertical pivot axis. In this manner, the acceleration of the sensor housing 101 inward into the passenger compartment resulting from a crash into the side of the vehicle, will cause the sensing mass 141 to move or pivot outward toward the impacting object thereby releasing its hold on the biasing spring 142.
The all-mechanical system as depicted in
The sensor-initiator is shown generally as 600 in FIG. 6. In a similar manner as described above, sensing mass 641 rotates in sensor housing 630 during a crash against the force provided by a cantilevered biasing spring 662 until a D-shaft 658 has rotated sufficiently to release a firing pin 636. Once released, firing pin 636 is propelled by firing pin spring 635 and impacts primer 691 to initiate deployment of the airbag. A washer containing an orifice 692 is provided in the top of primer 691 to minimize the leakage of inflator gases from the inflator 690 while the propellant is burning (FIG. 7). In this manner, the sensor does not have to be constructed of strong materials as discussed in the above referenced patent.
In one configuration of a self-contained system, the sensor assembly and the airbag and inflator assembly are kept separate until mounted onto the vehicle. In this case, the sensor is mounted using an appropriate apparatus (not shown) to the steering wheel after the wheel is mounted to the vehicle. Then, the airbag module is assembled to the steering wheel. In this case, the sensor is armed after it has been installed onto the vehicle through the use of arming screw 670. The inflator is only brought into contact with the sensor after the sensor has been mounted on the vehicle, thus minimizing the chance of an inadvertent actuation prior to installation. To arm the sensor, arming screw 670 is rotated after the sensor is mounted onto the steering wheel causing it to move downward in its housing 674. This removes the retaining cylinder 673 from blocking the motion of locking ball 675 that removes a lock on the firing pin. As long as ball 675 remains locking the firing pin 636, rotation of the mass 641 will not releases the firing pin and the sensor is unarmed. Additional apparatus, not shown, can be used to prevent the assembly and disassembly of the sensor from the steering wheel unless the arming screw 670 is in the unarmed position. Also, interference between the head 680 of the arming screw 670 and the surface 693 of the inflator 690 prevents assembly of the inflator and airbag module to the steering wheel until the sensor has been armed. Thus, in this very simple manner, an inexpensive all-mechanical airbag system can be made using standard inflator designs with minor modifications.
Levers 971 and 973 are joined together by hinge 978 and can be made from a single piece of material. In this case, the hinge would be formed either by a coining or stamping operation or by a milling operation. Naturally, the two levers need not be joined together.
This provides a sensor system that requires the occurrence of two environments that are always present in a crash, crush and velocity change. The crush sensing outer cover 951 is designed to respond and arm the sensor when impacted from any reasonable direction by an impact plate (not shown) which is likely to occur in a crash. For many vehicles, the crush may not reach the sensor at the time that deployment is required. In the case where two systems are used on each side of the vehicle, for example, and an impact occurs at the A-pillar, the rear seat system may not experience crush in time. The arming system shown in
The motion of the sensing mass 941 is damped by the requirement that air must flow between the sensing mass and the housing in the manner described in more detail in the '253 patent referenced above. Naturally, other damping methods such as magnetic damping could also be used.
In the case of
The term hermetic seal as used herein means a seal which will not permit the passage of any significant amount of moisture or other contaminants into the interior of the self-contained airbag module and further will not permit the passage of gas into or out of the sensor housing of sufficient quantity as to change th gas destiny by more than about 5% at any time over the life of the vehicle. Each vehicle manufacturer has a accelerated life test that can be used along with appropriate sensor testing equipment to test the sensor seals according to this definition. Typical O-ring seals are not hermetic by this definition however properly designed plastic and metal welded seals and epoxy and urethane seals are hermetic.
In embodiments using an electronic sensor, the inflator may include a primer which is part of an electronic circuit including the accelerometer such that upon movement over time of the sensing mass results in a calculated value in excess of the threshold value, the electronic circuit is completed thereby causing ignition of the primer.
When the term electrical as used herein it is meant to include both electromechanical and electronic systems.
In a basic configuration, the diagnostic monitoring circuit 1560 checks that there is sufficient voltage on the capacitor to initiate the inflator in the event of an accident, for example, and either of wires 1501, 1502, 1503 or 1504 are severed. In this case, the diagnostic internal to the self-contained module would not be necessary. In more sophisticated cases, the diagnostic module 1542 could check that the squib resistance was within tolerance, that the sensor calibration was correct (through self testing) and that the arming sensor has not inadvertently closed. It could also be used to record that the arming sensor, discriminating sensor and airbag deployment all occurred in the proper sequence and record this and other information for further investigative purposes. In the event of a malfunction, the diagnostic unit could send a signal to the monitoring circuitry that may be no more than an indication that the capacitor was not at full charge.
A substantial improvement in the reliability of the system is achieved by placing the diagnostic module and backup power supply within the self contained airbag system particularly in the case of said impacts where the impact can take place at any location over a wide area. An impact into a narrow pole at the hinge pillar, for example, might be sufficient to sever the wire from the airbag module to the vehicle power source before the sensor has detected the accident.
Most of the advantages of placing the sensor, diagnostic and backup power supply within the self contained module can of course be obtained if one or more of these components are placed in a second module in close proximity to the self contained module. For the purposes of electromechanical or electronic self contained modules, therefore, as used herein, the terms “self contained module” or “self contained airbag system” will include those cases where one or more of the components including the sensor, diagnostic and backup power supply are separate from the airbag module but in close proximity to it. For example, in the case of steering wheel mounted systems, the sensor and backup power supply would be mounted on the steering wheel and in the case of side impact door mounted systems, they would be mounted within the door. In conventional electrical or electronic systems, on the other hand, the sensor, diagnostic module and backup power supply are mounted remote from the airbag module in a convenient location typically centrally in the passenger compartment such as on the tunnel, under the seat or in the instrument panel.
With the placement of the backup power supplying in the self contained module, greater wiring freedom is permitted. For example, in some cases for steering wheel mounted systems, the power can be obtained through the standard horn slip ring system eliminating the requirement of the ribbon coil now used on all conventional driver airbag systems. For side impact installations, the power to charge the backup power supply could come from any convenient source such as the power window or door lock circuits. The very low resistance and thus high quality circuits and connectors now used in airbag systems are not required since even an intermittent or high resistance power source would be sufficient to charge the capacitor and the existence of the charge is diagnosed as described above.
Herein, the terms capacitor, power supply and backup power supply have been used interchangeably. Also, other energy storage devices such as a rechargeable battery could be used instead of a capacitor. For the purposes of this disclosure and the appended claims, therefore, the work capacitor will be used to mean any device capable of storing electrical energy for the purposes of supplying energy to initiate an inflator. Initiation of an inflator will mean any process by which the filling of an airbag with gas is started. The inflator may be either pure pyrotechnic, stored gas of hybrid or any other device which provides gas to inflate an airbag.
Although several preferred embodiments are illustrated and described above, there are possible combinations using other geometries, materials and different dimensions for the components that can perform the same function. For example, the biasing spring need not be the same as the biasing spring in the case of the implementation shown in
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|GB1381999A||Title not available|
|GB2197973A||Title not available|
|GB2225660A||Title not available|
|1||"A Critique of Single Point Sensing", D. Breed et al., SAE Paper No. 920124, Feb. 1992.|
|2||"Airbag System for Side Impact Protection" of J.A. Olsson et al., 12th International Technical Conference on Experimental Safety Vehicles, Proceedings vol: 2, May 29-Jun. 1, 1989, pp. 976-983.|
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7454277 *||Dec 29, 2006||Nov 18, 2008||Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft||Airbag firing electronic system for vehicles|
|US20070108749 *||Dec 29, 2006||May 17, 2007||Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft||Airbag firing electronic system for vehicles|
|U.S. Classification||280/735, 280/731, 280/730.2|
|International Classification||B60R21/20, B60R21/21, B60R21/33, B60R21/16|
|Cooperative Classification||B60R21/33, B60R21/20, B60R21/21|
|European Classification||B60R21/33, B60R21/20|
|Feb 22, 2010||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Jul 18, 2010||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Apr 10, 2012||AS||Assignment|
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGIES INTERNATIONAL, INC.;REEL/FRAME:028023/0087
Owner name: AMERICAN VEHICULAR SCIENCES LLC, TEXAS
Effective date: 20120405