SUMMARY OF VWiP PORTFOLIOS AS THEY APPLY TO
(SEMI) & AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES
When NASCAR race cars draft one-another, a dramatic increase in fuel efficiency results. That is because two cars are pushing aside all of the air that, before, one car had done. The workload of pushing away all of that air is now split between the two cars costing each car 1/2 of the energy. The same principal applies to trucks on the highway. When they are allowed to follow closely to one-another a dramatic increase in fuel efficiency results. Multiply this fuel efficiency or “savings” by millions of trucks and you can see the impact this would have on our economy.
Technology is used to increase the safety margins needed to accomplish this goal. VWiP patents 7,529,609, 8,000,871, and 8,903,617, along with three more pending applications, directly apply to the communications between vehicles which will be required to meet these safety and technology issues.
Autonomous vehicles may rely upon GPS GNSS based navigation systems in determining their location where precision would be considered critical. Since such signals may become weak in certain areas and especially in urban and heavily forested landscapes, backup systems which supplement GPS based location information would be desirable. One type of system so-called, “dead-reckoning (DR)” has already seen it’s implementation.
Until recently DR systems partially relied upon vehicle originated wheel tick information in determining speed and distance. Stand alone or autonomous DR systems only recently made their market entrance and are now considered state-of-the-art. These autonomous systems no longer suffer from errors associated with tire wear and slippage.
VWiP Patent # 7,239,953 with an Oct, 5 2004 priority date describes an absolute acceleration sensor which combines accelerometers with gyroscopes to determine actual acceleration independent of gravitational acceleration. The specification discusses a number of uses including dead-reckoning backup for GPS based navigation systems. A number of continuations and continuations-in-part (CIP) have been filed on the ‘953 patent and many have issued. New DR entries, using accelerometer/gyroscope combinations in determining accelerations net of gravitational artifacts, would infringe upon at least one of the claims within ‘953 along with additional, more specific, claims which appear in subsequent applications. One leading component supplier announced their new fully autonomous DR system earlier this year.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced it’s intention to mandate J2735 to be incorporated into passenger vehicles and light trucks in calendar year 2016. Autonomous vehicles will be included within the initial rounds of the mandate. Nine of the issued patents in this portfolio along with a number of applications relate to aspects of this J-Spec. Twelve major categories relating to J2735 are listed in the table below within the left hand column. Our corresponding issued patents with coverage within these categories are listed within the column on the right.
Type of Data:
GPS Location (1)
Transmission State (5), Brake/Throttle Status (6)
Steering Wheel Angel (7)
Path History (8)
Path Prediction (9)
Utilization of Data:
Transmission / Alerting (Tx), (10)
Receiving of data (Rx), (11)
Method of Acquisition (12)
7,239,953, 7,529,609, 8,428,839, 8,532,896, 8,571,776, 8,725,380, 9,381,902
7,529,609, 8,000,871, 8,428,839, 8,532,896, 8,571,776 8,725,380, 9,123,249, 9,381,902
7,529,609, 8,000,871, 8,428,839, 8,532,896, 8,571,776, 9,123,249
7,239,953, 8,428,839, 8,532,896, 9,123,249, 9,381,902
These portfolios also have international and PCT coverage in issued and pending patents (CA-2,667,289, EP-7839779.1, JP-2009-534636 and MX-281617 A209/004431). Also these patents apply to the major categories which will be required by Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Specification J2735 (J-Spec), Dedicated Short Range Communication System (DSRC) Basic Safety Message (BSM) sometimes referred to as “Surface Vehicle Standard J2735”. The Basic Safety Message (BSM) is one of a set of messages defined in the standard J2735. Autonomous vehicles are not exempt from this proposed mandate and therefore will need to comply.
The SAE Standard J2735 does not specify how acceleration data is acquired, monitored and computed, but it does require the acceleration data to be provided in the messages sent between vehicles in all three (X, Y & Z) planes, with a resolution of 0.01 Gravities. Only two methods exist for acquisition of acceleration data with such fine resolution within moving vehicles. VWiP patents 7,239,953, 7,529,609, 8,428,839, 8,532,896, 8,571,776, 8,725,380, 9,381,902 specify and claim priority of methods and techniques of acquiring such acceleration data.
The VWiP V2V patents center around methods of acquisition and utilization of acceleration and deceleration data. The specification J2735 requires manufacturers to acquire acceleration data to a resolution of 0.01 Gravities, in all three planes, longitudinal, lateral and vertical. The J-Spec requires broadcasting this data to proximate vehicles. To acquire acceleration data within the lateral and vertical planes and with such tolerance, a accelerometer/gyroscope combination sensor is required of the type which is patented by VWiP within ‘953. To acquire acceleration data within the longitudinal plane with such tolerance, the ‘953 type sensor can be used or a second type which analyzes pulse width data from periodic wave forms produced by Hall Effect and other vehicle speed sensors (VSS) can be used. VWiP has patented acceleration data acquisition methods from both types.
J2735 requires longitudinal acceleration to be broadcast via radio frequency to proximate vehicles so that those vehicles can determine the risk of a rear-end collision and if such risk is deemed eminent; The J-Spec calls for proximate vehicles to receive such RF signal and process the data in anticipation of alerting the driver of the proximate vehicle with an alerting device within the proximate vehicle. VWiP patents 7,529,609, 8,000,871, 8,428,839, 8,532,896, 8,571,776 8,725,380, 9,123,249 specify and claim priority over known methods of acquiring acceleration data and transmitting such data via RF signal to proximate vehicles in anticipation of the proximate vehicles determining the level of risk of rear-end collisions.
VWiP Patents 7,529,609, 8,571,776 specify and claim priority over known methods relating to receiving RF signals containing acceleration data for the purpose of determining and alerting drivers of proximate vehicles of the risk of a rear-end collision.
TRANSMISSION STATE, BRAKE/THROTTLE STATUS
The J-Spec calls for including within the basic safety message (BSM), state and status of the transmission, brake and throttle. Such data is to be broadcast via RF to proximate vehicles. VWiP patents 7,529,609, 8,000,871, 8,428,839, 8,532,896, 8,571,776 8,725,380, 9,123,249, 9,381,902 specify and claim priority over known methods relating to acquisition and transmitting of transmission state, brake and throttle status data.
EMERGENCY ELECTRONIC BRAKE LIGHTS (EEBL)
EEBL is included within the J-Spec to be mandated along with BSM. EEBL consists of visually alerting following drivers of a potential “rapid” slowing or stopping event. This serves as a redundant system to the RF transmission of similar acceleration data. EEBL activates rear facing lighting schemes upon specific levels of deceleration. Current threshold levels of 0.3 and 0.4 Gravities have been discussed. Autonomous vehicles are not exempt from being required to implement EEBL. As currently specified within the J-Spec, VWiP patents 7,239,953, 7,529,609, 8,000,871, 8,428,839, 8,532,896, 8,571,776, 8,725,380 specify and claim priority over current methods of implementation of EEBL. A separate paper entitled VWiP EEBL is attached which details claims contained within these patents which directly apply. The Company is producing this product and is available for evaluation.
FORWARD COLLISION WARNING
VWiP is developing technology and has created a patent portfolio relating to the prevention of forward collisions. Autonomous vehicles will benefit from this technology which measures the speed of a primary vehicle and distance to a lead vehicle using a laser or radar range finder. This technology then compares the ratio of the two data sets to known “safe” following distances (predetermined range) for such speed range and if the result falls outside of the predetermined range, action is taken. VWiP patents 8,903,617 and 8,954,251 specify and claim priority over this technology.
CURVE SPEED WARNING
VWiP has developed prototypes and has created a patent portfolio relating to curve speed warning alerts (CSW). Autonomous vehicles will benefit from this technology which measures absolute lateral acceleration using gyroscope-accelerometer combinations and compares that data to preset warning thresholds of lateral acceleration limits associated with roll-over or other significant incident. Upon approaching such a limit action is taken to mitigate such an event. This technology will provide autonomous vehicles with redundancy to GPS CSW systems, which offer similar features especially in bad weather or gray reception areas, and provides real time warning with no latency. VWiP patents 8,315,769 and 8,682,558 specify and claim priority over this technology.
VWiP is at market with technology it has developed and has created a patent portfolio relating to techniques surrounding shutting off engines that have been idling for too long in order to conserve energy. Autonomous vehicles may benefit from this technology which continually samples key inputs necessary to determine when it is safe to shut down an idling engine. VWiP patents 8,437,935 and 9,217,380 specify and claim priority over this technology.
VWiP has developed technology and has created a patent portfolio relating to preventing roll-over and other significant events associated increased lateral acceleration. Autonomous vehicles will benefit from this technology which measures absolute lateral acceleration using gyroscope-accelerometer combinations that automatically adjusts performance systems in order prevent incidents. Examples of such performance systems would include adjustment of brakes, accelerator position and suspension systems such as increasing stiffness of outside shock absorbers. VWiP patents 8,315,769 and 8,682,558 specify and claim priority over this technology.