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Automotive Fuel Level / Gas Station Proximity Alert System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000240370D
Publication Date: 2015-Jan-27
Document File: 4 page(s) / 56K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a function that monitors the current fuel level in real time and alerts the driver through audio/visual cues when the vehicle needs fuel. The system also monitors the availability of fuel at certain gas stations, and can indicate when a station is not an option for refueling because the gas supply is low.

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Automotive Fuel Level / Gas Station Proximity Alert System

Road trips require a driver to evaluate gas station availability vs. the amount of fuel remaining in the vehicle's fuel tank. When a driver miscalculates the distance to the next gas station in relation to the amount of fuel required to reach that station, the vehicle runs out of fuel and the driver is stranded. In another case, the driver properly calculates the distance to the next gas station, but the next gas station has no fuel, which leaves the driver stranded.

In an example of the problem, a driver is on a road trip. The driver enters a town with gas availability and notices that the gas tank is currently half-full. The driver analyzes the situation by comparing the distance range (e.g., 150 miles, provided by the vehicle's onboard computer) versus the posted distance to the next gas station (e.g., 100 miles). The driver determines that the vehicle has enough gas to make it to the next location and decides not to fill up at this point. The driver continues to the next gas station 100 miles away, to discover that the station is out of fuel. Now, the driver has 50 miles left of driving range, but the next gas station is 200 miles away. The driver is stranded without enough fuel.

New automobile computers provide the driver with a distance range approximation depending on the current fuel level. Existing applications can notify the driver of the closest gas stations. There are also signs along the road stating the distance to the next gas station. Some gas companies have real-time status updates on gas availability, but this is not common practice. (When it does become common practice, then the novel system presented herein will have even more value.)

None of the current solutions directly solves the problem; the solutions must be applied in conjunction. Currently, nothing exists to provide the driver the luxury of both solutions in one seamless/effortless package.

The novel contribution is a function that monitors the current fuel level in real time and alerts the driver through audio/visual cues when the vehicle needs fuel. This function can be factory-installed because vehicles equipped with navigation already have all the hardware necessary to execute this function. The system requires no external devices or software (except to become backward compatible with older vehicle models).

In an example embodiment of the novel fuel level/gas station proximity alert system, the driver enters a town that has gas availability; the vehicle has half a tank of gas. Upon entering, an alarm goes off on the media center in the car followed by a verbal message, "Refuel at this point, the next gas availability is outside of your driving range". The function assesses that the vehicle can make it to the next gas station; however, the station does not have fuel available; therefore, it disregards the option to wait t...