Distance-Measuring Parking Lights

 

Distance-Measuring Parking Lights

 

U.S. Patent 7,375,621

Manufacturing Licenses Available

      This is a technology announcement from HinesLab for vehicle backup lights which measure the distance to the wall.  The upper portion of the car's back-up lights project images onto the garage wall in view of the rear window or video camera.  This prevents damage to the car and wall, and prevents leaving the vehicle protruding in the driveway being overly cautious.

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      The system uses the vehicle's modified backup lights as optical projectors, so that the images are projected from opposite sides of the rear of the vehicle at a slight diagonal onto the garage wall.  The images appear to slide horizontally over each other as the vehicle approaches the wall, with the vertical indicator crossing the horizontal scale to indicate the distance from the car to the wall.


 

How it works:

      One image is a horizontal scale with distance markings, projected from one of the backup lights.  The second image is a vertical line projected from the opposite backup light.  As the driver backs up, the images slide over each other on the garage wall.  The position where the vertical line intersects the numerical scale indicates the distance to the wall.


 

The driver's experience:

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      Top view of car backing toward a wall.  Horizontal distance scale and vertical index are projected along white lines.  Black arrows indicate the video camera's field of view.

 

      The images of the scale are projected from one tail light, and superimposed with the vertical line projected from the opposite tail light.  The driver sees this directly when looking out the rear window (as in the top portion of the drawing below).  Alternately, a rear-mounted video camera can photograph the projected pattern (as in the bottom of the drawing below) for display on a video screen for the driver.

 

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      The garage wall with the car at a distance of 4.5 ft.  The top area is visible to the driver out the rear window.  The lower area is visible to the video camera and is reversed left-to-right to read correctly in the driver's video display.

 

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      The technique can be applied to loading docks where the projectors are stationary and the images are projected on the back of moving trucks.  The scale can be adjusted to indicated the distance from the truck to the edge of the loading dock, rather than from the projectors.

 

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      The system is particularly useful when parking airplanes because the nose of the plane is not visible to the pilot.  The scale indicates the distance from the wall to the tip of the plane nose, rather than from the projectors.

 

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      The distance-measuring projector can be packaged in a simple enclosure that can be bolted on the back of a car, truck or trailer.  The optical projectors are behind the holes shown on both ends.  The video camera is behind the hole in the center.  The electrical wires are 12V power in, and video out.  The "L" bracket is used for mounting to the vehicle.


 

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Hines' original lab notebook entries for this invention.


 

      This distance-measuring technique is HinesLab patented technology.  This is not a product for sale to end users.  HinesLab seeks a licensee.  Car companies and manufacturers of after-market auto parts, please contact Steve Hines by email, or at 818-507-5812.

Glendale, California, USA