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System and Method for Controlling Volume in an Automobile Sound System Disclosure Number: IPCOM000030390D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Aug-09
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Aug-09
Document File: 3 page(s) / 46K

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The invention described below provides a system to intelligently control the sound system within an automobile according to environmental changes and indirect actions by the driver or passenger(s), so that the occupants benefit from a simplified routine, and have fewer distractions, and achieve potentially safer driving conditions.

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System and Method for Controlling Volume in an Automobile Sound System

    In today's driving environment situations arise where the driver interacts with external conditions in relation to the automobile. The greater the tasks required, the more attention or concentration is needed from the driver. Simplifying the number of tasks required of a driver can provide a simplified and safer driving experience. One of the tasks that draws a driver's attention away from other critical items is that of changing the volume of the stereo. For purposes of simplification we will expand the term stereo to include FM and AM radio stations, XM satellite radio channels, cassette tapes, CDs, DVD-audios, MP3's, phone systems attached to the speakers and any other sound related device that uses the automobile's audio speakers. This invention describes a system that is aware of certain internal and external events which, in turn, trigger automatic adjustments to the stereo's speaker volume. These events include such things as rolling down or up a window, speed and acceleration or deceleration, and a vehicle's geographical proximity to known places. This information, either separately or combined, can be used to appropriately adjust the speaker volume.

    In addition, this invention includes the concept of a profile or preference stored within the vehicle or accessible (wireless) from within the vehicle. The profile is unique to each driver and can fall back to a default profile when the driver's identity can not be determined. The profiles would contain all the logic and preferences of the user as well as instructions on when to adjust the volume and to what degree, according to predefined triggers. The advantages of using this system are in driver safety, in that, profiles for repeated behaviors can be established such that the vehicle audio volume is adjusted automatically, thus freeing the driver from repeated manual changes which take the drivers attention off of the road. Additionally, this invention addresses the important issue of public nuisance noise, by reducing volume under conditions where loud noises disrupt public peace.

    This volume control system effectively removes the need to manually reach over to the volume control knob or control mechanism on the steering wheel or any other place and still gain the desired effect. This also negates the need for the driver's eyes to move away from traffic details to the dashboard or steering column and could thus create a safer driving environment. Drivers will habitually reach down to reduce the volume of the radio in situations where they are stopping and rolling down the window. This often occurs at a fast food or banking drive-through window, when speaking to someone outside the vehicle, or at places such as toll booths and ticket gates. This system disclosed here would monitor the state of the window and the vehicle's speed and, in the case of a drive-through window, it would correlate deceleration t...