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Vehicle Seat Obstacle Detection System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000039940D
Publication Date: 2005-Feb-01
Document File: 6 page(s) / 38K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A system is being developed to detect an obstacle located at a particular location by measuring the rotational speed associated with an object that has a component moving toward the obstacle. In one application, the system is employed in a vehicle as part of a second or third row power folding seat. The system detects an obstacle located on the seat cushion of the power folding seat through the use of a sensor that measures the rotational speed of the seat back of the power folding seat as the seat back folds toward the obstacle. An obstacle is identified when the sensor detects an abnormal decrease in the speed of the folding (or unfolding) seat back. The foregoing example is exemplary only as the system can also be used in non-automotive environments. The system could be used to detect an obstacle located on the base of any power folding object located within a vehicle, within any row of a vehicle or located in an environment other than the inside of a vehicle.

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Vehicle Seat Obstacle Detection System

Abstract

    A system is being developed to detect an obstacle located at a particular location by measuring the rotational speed associated with an object that has a component moving toward the obstacle. In one application, the system is employed in a vehicle as part of a second or third row power folding seat. The system detects an obstacle located on the seat cushion of the power folding seat through the use of a sensor that measures the rotational speed of the seat back of the power folding seat as the seat back folds toward the obstacle. An obstacle is identified when the sensor detects an abnormal decrease in the speed of the folding (or unfolding) seat back. The foregoing example is exemplary only as the system can also be used in non-automotive environments. The system could be used to detect an obstacle located on the base of any power folding object located within a vehicle, within any row of a vehicle or located in an environment other than the inside of a vehicle.

    One advantage of the system is that it uses the variation in the rotational speed of a rotating motor that is located within the power folding seat. Use of the rotational speed to detect an obstacle alleviates the need to add an additional sensor (e.g., a pressure or capacitive sensor) to a pre-existing power folding seat system. A second advantage of the system is that it enables a user to perform automatic activation of the power folding seat function while reducing the chances that an obstacle located on the seat cushion could be harmed while the power folding seat folds. A third advantage of the system is that the automatic activation functionality of the system has been designed such that automatic activation can be performed from a remote location through the use of a keyfob or from within the vehicle by simply pressing and releasing a switch, as opposed to pressing and holding the switch during the entire time that the seat is folds or unfolds.

Description of the Innovation

Background

    Conventional power folding seat systems, such as the system described in U.S. patent application publication number US 2004/0195892, entitled "Power Folding Seat" exist.

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However, these systems often do not have obstacle detection systems. Further, systems which have obstacle detection systems use sensors that detect the presence of an obstacle by measuring the pressure exerted on a seat cushion (e.g. capacitive or pressure sensors) by an obstacle. For instance, a sensor can measure the pressure exerted on a seat cushion and determine that an obstacle is located on the seat cushion if a certain amount of downward pressure is exerted on the seat cushion. The vehicle seat obstacle detection system disclosed in this publication differs from these systems because it uses a sensor to measure rotational speed of the seat back of the power folding seat instead of using a sensor to measure pressure exerted by an object on the seat cus...