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 BACK-VISION SYSTEM FOR VEHICLES
 Inventor: Luis Leon Lamata Cortes. Badajoz. Spain
 Assignee: Idesa Accesorios, S.A., Barcelona,
 Appl. No.: 592^86
 PCT Filed: Jun. 2, 1995
 PCT No.: PCT/ES95/00068
§371 Date: Apr. 9, 1996
§ 102(e) Date: Apr. 9, 1996  PCT Pub. No.: W095/33634
PCT Pub. Date: Dec. 14, 1995
 Foreign Application Priority Data
Jun. 3, 1994 [ES] Spain 9401265 U
 Int CI.6 H04N 7/18
 U.S. CI 348/143; 348/148; 348/151
 Field of Search 348/143, 148.
348/151, 118. 117; 340/435. 436, 901;
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
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4,843,463 6/1989 Michetti 358/108
4.964,712 10/1990 Anderson 350/615
5,027,200 6/1991 Petrossian et al 358/103
5,111,289 5/1992 Lucas et al 358/108
5,121,200 6/1992 Choi 358/103
5243,417 9/1993 Pollard 358/103
5,264,962 11/1993 Kho 359/362
5,289,321 2/1994 Secor 359/896
5,574,443 11/1996 Hsieh 340/901
[ii] Patent Number: 5,760,828  Date of Patent: Jun. 2, 1998
Patent Abstracts of Japan, vol. 16. No. 94 (M-1219) 9 Mar. 1992.
Patent Abstracts of Japan, vol. 11. No. 400 (E-569) 26 Dec. 1987.
Patent Abstracts of Japan, vol. 10. No. 134 (M-479) 17 May 1986.
Patent Abstracts of Japan, vol. 18. No. 503 (M-1677) 21
Primary Examiner—Tommy P. Chin
Assistant Examiner—Anand Rao
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Ladas & Parry
Back-vision system for vehicles which comprises a microcamera (6) with its corresponding control unit (13) and power-supply source, a housing for the microcamera (6). formed by an external casing (1) and an internal box (2) joined to the external casing (1) and in communication with it. into which the microcamera (6) is introduced, the objective of which microcamera is focused towards the outside through an opening in the external casing (1), and a monitor (21) on which the images picked up by the microcamera (6) can be seen. By placing a microcamera (6) in its corresponding housing in a suitable manner on one of the sides of the vehicle and. optionally one microcamera and its housing on each side, improved back-vision is obtained.
6 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
BACK-VISION SYSTEM FOR VEHICLES
SUBJECT OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a novel external backvision system for motor vehicles of all types, such as cars, trucks, buses, caravans, etc.. and including, in addition, competition vehicles.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
External rear-view rnirrors of the state of the art involve a number of limitations which reduce and even cancel out the necessary periodical information which the driver requires of them. Such drawbacks are the existence of a blindspot in which vision is impossible; non-operation of the rnirrors in rainy weather; loss of the necessary front vision when looking in the mirrors; vulnerability to changes in adjustment or breakages caused by acts of vandalism, accidents and the like; dazzling caused by the headlamps of following vehicles at night or by the sun in certain situations such as, for example, when driving away from the sun at dusk; parking difficulties caused by the lack of reference to the ground; difficulties in looking in the rnirrors on account of trailers and caravans during certain maneuvers; and. finally, the aerodynamic resistance which external rearview mirrors cause and which, to a greater or lesser degree, translates into an increase in fuel consumption.
Many of these drawbacks are exacerbated in the case of competition vehicles, particularly in respect of the blindspot, speed of looking in the mirror, nonoperation in adverse weather conditions and the resistance which conventional rear-view mirrors offer to forward progress. In connection with this latter aspect, it must be taken into account that the aerodynamic resistance increases with the square of the velocity and. therefore, in vehicles moving at over 300 km/h. such as F-ls, prototypes, etc., the rear-view mirrors account for a considerable resistance to forward progress which translates into lower speed and greater consumption.
There are known video cameras in the state of the art which make it possible to pick up images and sound and to store them on a tape for subsequent reproduction on monitors or television screens or, alternatively, to display what is being filmed at the very instant this is taking place. With the development of the technology and for specific purposes, models of cameras have been developed which are smaller in size than traditional cameras but which, nevertheless, offer the same levels of performance: these are known as microcameras and are intended for very different uses, including, in particular, security (CCTV), medicine, observing nature, sports broadcasts and other shots in locations with limited access. However, to date, no use has been found for them in the field of back-vision in vehicles nor, of course, have the problems involved in such an application been solved.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
All the drawbacks mentioned above are totally or at least very substantially eliminated with the rear-view system for vehicles of the present invention, which takes advantage of the potential of video cameras for back-vision in motor vehicles.
The present invention therefore relates to a back-vision system for vehicles, which comprises a microcamera, its control unit, the corresponding monitor and the housing for the microcamera which is composed of the assembly formed by an external casing with an opening to permit focusing of
the objective of the microcamera and an internal box in communication with said external casing and open, in a preferred embodiment, on the side opposite it to allow the introduction of the microcamera. This assembly is finished 5 off, in a preferred embodiment, by a cover which enables the internal box to be closed on the side opposite the external casing and, in addition, a glass pane to be fitted in the closure of the said opening. Preferably, the space around the microcamera. inside the assembly formed by the external 10 casing and the internal box. is filled with an insulating material and. as has just been pointed out. the opening of the external casing is closed by means of a glass pane for protecting the microcamera. All the aforesaid elements form a system which permits back vision on one of the sides of the 15 vehicle. However, a second external casing may be installed on the opposite side of the vehicle together with, as appropriate, a second glass pane, a second internal box. a second microcamera. a second cover and a second control unit for the second microcamera, so as to enjoy visibility on 20 this second side also. In this case, the same monitor may be used to receive the images from both microcameras or, alternatively, two monitors may be installed.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The present invention will be better understood with reference to the appended drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 shows a plan view of a longitudinal section of the housing of the microcamera in one embodiment of the 30 present invention, with the microcamera installed in it and the cover which finishes it off fitted, as well as of the housing of the control unit of said microcamera.
FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of the housing of the microcamera. which is still not fitted. 35 FIG. 3 shows a side, perspective view of a vehicle with the back-vision system of the present invention installed.
FIG. 4 shows a view of the dashboard of a vehicle equipped with the back-vision system of the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED
FIGS. 1.2 and 3 of the drawings show the housing of the 45 microcamera corresponding to the left hand side of the vehicle. It will easily be understood that the back-vision system for vehicles of the present invention is equally applicable to the right hand side of the vehicle and the detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the 50 present invention which is given below is valid both for a situation in which the housing for the microcamera is placed on the left hand side of the vehicle and for a situation in which it is placed on the right. In a preferred embodiment of the back-vision system for 55 vehicles of the present invention, and as illustrated in FIG. 1. a microcamera (6) is housed inside an assembly formed by an external casing (1) and an internal box (2) joined to the external casing (1) and open on the side on which it is joined to the casing.
60 The external casing (1) has an aerodynamic shape and is joined to the lateral surface (17) of the body of the vehicle or, alternatively, forms an integral part of the body. Preferably, the position of the external casing (1) will correspond to the front upper lateral zone of the body of the
65 vehicle (front left fender) as shown in FIG. 3. in a position which is somewhat further forward, therefore, than conventional external rear-view mirrors. The assembly formed by