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System for Smarter Transportation Within Buildings

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000207979D
Publication Date: 2011-Jun-17
Document File: 3 page(s) / 28K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a system and method for improving the operation of personal transportation systems (e.g., elevators) particularly for enhancing safety and reducing energy. The system employs a pattern detector unit (PDU) and automated signal-sending unit (SSU) to optimize these tasks.

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System for Smarter Transportation Within Buildings

Although this invention could be applied more broadly, the primary use case demonstrated for the sake of familiarity will be its use with an elevator. An elevator is a mechanism for vertical transport that efficiently moves people or goods between floors of a building, vessel, or other structure. Elevators are generally powered by electric motors that either drive traction cables or counterweight systems, such as a hoist, or pump hydraulic fluid to raise a cylindrical piston, such as a jack.

Elevators are not immune to failure. Depending on the circumstances, individuals may become trapped in elevators for extended periods of time. A method is required to prevent these out-of-the-norm situations from persisting. Usage data may be analyzed for patterns and outlier situations escalated to ever-increasing management systems, eventually calling public safety rescue personnel.

It is known for elevators to have alarm call buttons. These buttons ring a bell and alert maintenance or other staff in the building that some form of distress is presently occurring in the elevator. However, some buildings are not staffed by maintenance personnel at all times. A solution is needed that can assist passengers in duress at all times. Known solutions (e.g., the trouble bell) could be modified to send a signal to a third party management company; however, without a system to prevent accidental or purposeful false alarms, the cost to dispatch individuals may exceed the benefit of having such a system.

Note that legislation in some U.S. states requires that elevators be provided with various signaling devices. These devices might be an audible signaling device, operable from the emergency stop switch, or a means of two-way conversation between the car and a readily accessible point outside the hoist-way that is available to emergency personnel (e.g., an intercom, telephone, etc.). If the audible signaling device or the means of two-way conversation are connected to the building power supply, they should automatically transfer to a source of emergency power after the normal power supply fails.

This invention focuses on both elevator safety and energy conservation. For example, one aspect of the proposed invention detects and assists those trapped in an elevator. In one embodiment, analysis of door openings and closures are correlated against time-of-day and elevator position. Also, the usage pattern of other elevators in the same bank can provide sufficient data to perform pattern analysis. Based on a mathematical analysis of such usage patterns, danger situations (or forecasted danger situations) may be determined. This may be helpful in situations for which traditional alarms or communication systems are insufficient, when handicapped people or children are using elevators, etc.

As an additional feature, the system may provide a load-based power saving mechanism that turns off cars within a bank of e...