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Title:
ADAPTIVE THROTTLE SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/142037
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An adaptive throttle control apparatus to control engine throttle valve is disclosed. The apparatus comprises throttle motor; a planetary gear train that receives input from the motor coupled to sun gear of the gear train for motorized actuation of the throttle valve. Output to throttle valve is provided from planetary carrier of the gear train through a flexible cable. ECU of the engine controls throttle motor for actuation of the throttle valve during motorized mode of operation to achieve required vehicle performance parameters based on inputs from plurality of sensors. The gear train gets inputs from accelerator pedal as well, which is connected to ring gear of the gear train through another flexible cable for manual mode of operation which gets overriding priority over motorized mode. A screw-nut type locking mechanism is also provided to have flexibility to switch between manual and motorized control of throttle valve.

Inventors:
QUAZI, Mohammed Suhail (Plot No. 35 & 36 Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park, Phase 1, MIDC, Hinjewadi, Pune, Maharashtra 7, 411 057, IN)
KOTHAMACHU, Vikram (Plot No. 35 & 36 Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park, Phase 1, MIDC, Hinjewadi, Pune, Maharashtra 7, 411 057, IN)
POTDAR, Milind Manohar (Plot No. 35 & 36 Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park, Phase 1, MIDC, Hinjewadi, Pune, Maharashtra 7, 411 057, IN)
Application Number:
IB2018/060089
Publication Date:
July 25, 2019
Filing Date:
December 14, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KPIT TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED (Plot No. 35 & 36, Rajiv Gandhi Infotech Park Phase 1, MIDC, Hinjewadi, Pune, Maharashtra 7, 411057, IN)
International Classes:
F02D9/10; F02D11/10
Foreign References:
JPS62129529A1987-06-11
US4526060A1985-07-02
EP0427410A21991-05-15
US4809656A1989-03-07
US4192398A1980-03-11
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KHURANA & KHURANA, ADVOCATES & IP ATTORNEYS (E-13, UPSIDC Site-IV, Behind-Grand Venice,Kasna Road, Greater Noida, National Capital Region, Uttar Pradesh 0, 201310, IN)
Download PDF:
Claims:
We Claim:

1. An apparatus to control a throttle valve of an engine of a vehicle, the apparatus comprising:

a throttle motor;

a planetary gear train operatively coupled between the throttle motor and the throttle valve for receiving inputs from the throttle motor for motorized actuation of the throttle valve; wherein the throttle motor receives input from an engine control unit (ECU) of the engine to control the actuation of the throttle valve.

2. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the planetary gear train is also adapted to receive input from an accelerator pedal of the vehicle for manual control of the throttle valve.

3. The apparatus as claimed in claim 2, wherein the planetary gear train comprises:

a sun gear operatively connected to the throttle motor;

a ring gear operatively connected to the accelerator pedal; and a planetary carrier to carry a planetary gear set having a plurality of planetary gears, wherein the planetary carrier is operatively connected to the throttle valve; and wherein the locking mechanism is operatively coupled to the sun gear.

4. The apparatus as claimed in claim 3, wherein the ring gear and the planetary carrier are operatively coupled to the accelerator pedal and the throttle valve respectively through cables.

5. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the apparatus further includes a locking mechanism adapted to constrain rotation of the planetary gear train so as to limit the actuation of the throttle valve,

6. The apparatus as claimed in claim 5, wherein the locking mechanism is a screw-nut type locking mechanism, and comprises a threaded drive shaft connected to the sun gear, and a guided nut operatively coupled with the drive shaft for a linear movement as the drive shaft rotates, and wherein the guided nut is enclosed in a guiding bush that constrains the linear movement of the guided nut beyond a defined distance.

7. The apparatus as claimed in claim 6, wherein the guiding bush is adapted to constrain rotation of the drive shaft and thereby rotation of the sun gear after a defined number of revolutions; wherein the defined number of revolutions correspond to number of rotation of the sun gear or the throttle motor required to reach Wide Open Throttle position.

8. The apparatus as claimed in claim 6, wherein the locking mechanism comprises a locking mechanism home switch to detect the guided nut reaching a position that corresponds to closed position of the throttle valve; and wherein the locking mechanism home switch provides input to the ECU to stop further rotation of the throttle motor.

9. The apparatus as claimed in claim 3, wherein the ECU receives input from an accelerator pedal home switch operatively connected to the accelerator pedal to detect positioning of the accelerator pedal.

10. The apparatus as claimed in claim 9, wherein in case when the accelerator pedal is in the actuated position, the ECU, based on input from the accelerator pedal home switch, halts operation of the throttle motor to allow manual actuation of the throttle valve through the ring gear.

11. The apparatus as claimed in claim 10, wherein in case the accelerator pedal is in a released position, the ECU, based on input from the accelerator pedal home switch, enables operation of the throttle motor to allow the motorized actuation of the throttle valve through the sun gear.

12. The apparatus as claimed in claim 11, wherein the ECU receives further inputs from a plurality of sensing devices comprising any or a combination of a speed sensor, a brake switch, a desired speed determination unit and a throttle position sensor.

3. The apparatus as claimed in claim 12, wherein the throttle position sensor is operatively connected to the throttle valve to detect instantaneous position of the throttle valve.

Description:
ADAPTIVE THROTTLE SYSTEM

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present disclosure relates to the field of automobiles. In particular, it pertains to an apparatus to control a throttle valve of an engine of a vehicle. More specifically, the present disclosure provides an electro mechanical throttle control unit that allows a sensor based motorized operation using a throttle motor based on input provided by Engine Control Unit, as well as manual mode of operation using mechanical connection between accelerator pedal and the throttle.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Background description includes information that may be useful in understanding the present invention. It is not an admission that any of the information provided herein is prior art or relevant to the presently claimed invention, or that any publication specifically or implicitly referenced is prior art.

[0003] Until recently, throttle control systems used on vehicles were almost always very straightforward with accelerator pedal of the vehicle connected mechanically to the engine throttle such that pressing down on the accelerator pedal caused the throttle to open. With advent of electronic controls, it became possible to electronically link the accelerator pedal with the throttle through a computer that can, in addition to accelerator position, use a variety of other information to determine the best course of action. Rather than simply opening or closing the throttle as a direct response to the position of the pedal, the computer may analyze the current speed of the vehicle, the temperature of the engine, the altitude, and other factors before opening or closing the throttle thus enabling operation of the throttle with a much higher degree of efficiency than vehicles that use traditional throttle controls.

[0004] Electronic Throttle Control has been desirable in another respect also. With ever-increasing number of vehicles on roads, the driving pattern in heavy traffic has frequent interruptions increasing cognitive load on drivers in respect of their primary task of driving, leading to driver’s fatigue and consequent inattentiveness causing accidents. This is borne out by a study report that shows that 75% of all collisions occur at speeds less than 25 mph in so- called city driving environments.

[0005] With the increasing traffic situations, especially in city traffic, the frequent start and stop of the vehicle, causes fatigue to the driver. Also, with the inching traffic in city conditions, the chances of collision and accidents increase. There is a need for an automated motorized throttle control for such and other traffic conditions. With an automated throttle control, the driver can sit back and relax while the throttle is operated in an automated mode. This provides the driver relief from fatigue of accelerating/driving in the frequent start and stop traffic conditions in various scenarios.

[0006] In spite of seriousness of the situation, many vehicles in the developing countries do not have commonly required active safety systems in terms of automated throttle control. There is also a lack of motorized throttle control solution which can be easily adopted in the existing throttle system of the vehicle.

[0007] Many of the modern vehicles are now equipped with electronic throttle control system where the throttle plate is driven by electronically controlled DC motor based on input from accelerator pedal position sensor, vehicle speed sensor, throttle position sensor etc. However, such systems tend to be costlier and also require modifications to the conventional throttle mechanism, and therefore can be integrated with vehicles only during production of the vehicle at manufacturers’ facilities.

[0008] Thus, there is a need in the art to provide an adaptive throttle system that can be retrofitted in existing vehicles with least modifications, and combines both the manual and automated/motorized operation modes of a throttle to prevent collisions, particularly in city driving environments. There is a need for a self-actuating throttle system, which actuates based on the inputs from the ECU and does not need any manual actuation. Also, there is a need for a simple and cost efficient adaptive throttle systems, which can save lives and reduce occurrence of accidents.

[0009] All publications herein are incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each individual publication or patent application were specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference. Where a definition or use of a term in an incorporated reference is inconsistent or contrary to the definition of that term provided herein, the definition of that term provided herein applies and the definition of that term in the reference does not apply.

[0010] In some embodiments, the numbers expressing quantities of ingredients, properties such as concentration, reaction conditions, and so forth, used to describe and claim certain embodiments of the invention are to be understood as being modified in some instances by the term“about.” Accordingly, in some embodiments, the numerical parameters set forth in the written description and attached claims are approximations that can vary depending upon the desired properties sought to be obtained by a particular embodiment. In some embodiments, the numerical parameters should be construed in light of the number of reported significant digits and by applying ordinary rounding techniques. Notwithstanding that the numerical ranges and parameters setting forth the broad scope of some embodiments of the invention are approximations, the numerical values set forth in the specific examples are reported as precisely as practicable. The numerical values presented in some embodiments of the invention may contain certain errors necessarily resulting from the standard deviation found in their respective testing measurements.

[0011] As used in the description herein and throughout the claims that follow, the meaning of“a,”“an,” and“the” includes plural reference unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Also, as used in the description herein, the meaning of“in” includes“in” and“on” unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.

[0012] The recitation of ranges of values herein is merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range. Unless otherwise indicated herein, each individual value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g.“such as”) provided with respect to certain embodiments herein is intended merely to better illuminate the invention and does not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element essential to the practice of the invention.

[0013] Groupings of alternative elements or embodiments of the invention disclosed herein are not to be construed as limitations. Each group member can be referred to and claimed individually or in any combination with other members of the group or other elements found herein. One or more members of a group can be included in, or deleted from, a group for reasons of convenience and/or patentability. When any such inclusion or deletion occurs, the specification is herein deemed to contain the group as modified thus fulfilling the written description of all Markush groups used in the appended claims.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0014] An object of the present disclosure is to provide an automated throttle control system.

[0015] An object of the present disclosure is to provide an automated throttle control system that can be retrofitted in existing vehicles having conventional throttle control without any modifications or minimum modifications to throttle valve. [0016] Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a throttle control system that can work in manual as well as motorized control mode.

[0017] Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a sensor based throttle system which can be operated in the manual mode or in the motorized mode.

[0018] Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a throttle control system that provides an overriding priority to manual mode of operation.

[0019] Yet another object of the invention is to improve road safety and reduce driver fatigue by providing a motorized throttle control.

[0020] Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a simple and efficient solution for throttle control meeting above stated objectives.

[0021] Still another object of the present invention is to provide a low cost solution for throttle control meeting above stated objectives.

[0022] Still another object of the present invention is to provide an adaptive throttle control system which could be retrofitted into any existing automobiles or could be installed in the automobile at the time of its manufacture.

SUMMARY

[0023] Aspects of the present disclosure provide an adaptive throttle control system that can be retrofitted on automobiles with conventional throttle systems with minimal modifications, thus enabling drivers of such automobiles to drive these vehicles without fatigue. More specifically, the present invention relates to a sensor based throttle system that can be accommodated in any conventional automobile, and allows manual or automated control of the throttle depending on requirement.

[0024] In an aspect, the disclosed throttle control system for an engine of a vehicle comprises a throttle motor; a planetary gear train operatively coupled between the throttle motor and the throttle valve for receiving inputs from the throttle motor for motorized actuation of the throttle valve; and a locking mechanism that is adapted to constrain rotation of the planetary gear train so as to limit the actuation of the throttle valve. The throttle motor receives inputs from an engine control unit (ECU) of the engine to control the actuation of the throttle valve.

[0025] In an aspect, the planetary gear train, in addition to getting inputs from the throttle motor, is adapted to receive input from an accelerator pedal of the vehicle as well for manual control of the throttle valve. [0026] In an aspect, the planetary gear train comprises: a sun gear operatively connected to the throttle motor; a ring gear operatively connected to the accelerator pedal; and a planetary carrier that carries a planetary gear set, operatively connected to the throttle valve. Further, the locking mechanism is operatively coupled to the sun gear to constrain rotation of the sun gear that is rotated by the throttle motor, and thereby of the planetary gear train so as to limit the actuation of the throttle valve.

[0027] In an aspect, the ring gear and the planetary carrier are operatively coupled to the accelerator pedal and the throttle valve respectively through cables.

[0028] In an aspect, the locking mechanism is a screw-nut type locking mechanism, and comprises a threaded drive shaft connected to the sun gear, and a guided nut operatively coupled with the drive shaft for a linear movement as the drive shaft rotates. The guided nut is enclosed in a guiding bush that constrains the linear movement of the guided nut beyond a defined distance.

[0029] In an aspect, the guiding bush is adapted to constrain rotation of the drive shaft and thereby rotation of the sun gear after a defined number of revolutions that correspond to number of rotation of the sun gear or the throttle motor required to reach Wide Open Throttle position. Thus, opening of the throttle valve beyond the Wide Open Throttle position is prevented.

[0030] In an aspect, the locking mechanism comprises a locking mechanism home switch to detect the guided nut reaching a position that corresponds to closed position of the throttle valve; and wherein the locking mechanism home switch provides input to the ECU to stop further rotation of the throttle motor.

[0031] In an aspect, the ECU receives input from an accelerator pedal home switch operatively connected to the accelerator pedal to detect positioning of the accelerator pedal.

[0032] In an aspect, in case when the accelerator pedal is in the actuated position, the ECU, based on input from the accelerator pedal home switch, halts operation of the throttle motor to allow manual actuation of the throttle valve through the ring gear.

[0033] In an aspect, in case the accelerator pedal is in a released position, the ECU, based on input from the accelerator pedal home switch, enables operation of the throttle motor to allow the motorized actuation of the throttle valve through the sun gear.

[0034] In an aspect, the ECU receives further inputs from a plurality of sensing devices comprising any or a combination of a vehicle speed sensor, a brake switch, a desired speed determination unit and a throttle position sensor. [0035] In an aspect, the throttle position sensor is operatively connected to the throttle valve to detect instantaneous position of the throttle valve.

[0036] Various objects, features, aspects and advantages of the inventive subject matter will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments, along with the accompanying drawing figures in which like numerals represent like components

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0037] The accompanying drawings are included to provide a further understanding of the present disclosure, and are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification. The drawings illustrate exemplary embodiments of the present disclosure and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the present disclosure.

[0038] FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary block diagram of the disclosed adaptive throttle control system showing functioning of the proposed system, in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure.

[0039] FIG. 2 illustrates an exemplary exploded view of the proposed adaptive throttle control system, in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

[0040] FIG. 3 illustrates an exemplary sectional view of the proposed adaptive throttle control system, in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0041] The following is a detailed description of embodiments of the disclosure depicted in the accompanying drawings. The embodiments are in such detail as to clearly communicate the disclosure. However, the amount of detail offered is not intended to limit the anticipated variations of embodiments; on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the present disclosure as defined by the appended claims.

[0042] Each of the appended claims defines a separate invention, which for infringement purposes is recognized as including equivalents to the various elements or limitations specified in the claims. Depending on the context, all references below to the "invention" may in some cases refer to certain specific embodiments only. In other cases it will be recognized that references to the "invention" will refer to subject matter recited in one or more, but not necessarily all, of the claims. [0043] Various terms are used herein. To the extent a term used in a claim is not defined, it should be given the broadest definition persons in the pertinent art have given that term as reflected in printed publications and issued patents at the time of filing.

[0044] Embodiments of the present invention generally relate to the field of automobiles. In particular, the present invention relates to an adaptive throttle system for automobiles. More specifically, the present invention relates to a sensor based throttle control system that can be accommodated in any conventional automobile with minimal modifications, specifically without any modifications to the throttle valve of the engine. The system of the present invention provides the flexibility of configuring the throttle control system according to the driver’s requirement such as manual or motorized control using an electromechanical unit/device between accelerator pedal and throttle valve. This electromechanical unit controls the opening of an engine throttle valve thereby controlling the speed of the vehicle.

[0045] In an embodiment, electromechanical unit/device of the proposed throttle control system of the present disclosure comprises a planetary gear train, a screw-nut type locking mechanism and a throttle motor that powers the planetary gear train. The planetary gear train is adapted to receive two inputs and provide one output. First of the two inputs is from accelerator pedal of the vehicle, which is connected to a ring gear of the planetary gear train by a flexible accelerator cable. The second of the two inputs is from the throttle motor connected to a sun gear of the planetary gear train. A planetary carrier of the planetary gear train provides output and is connected to the throttle valve by another flexible cable.

[0046] In an embodiment, the locking mechanism is a screw-nut type locking mechanism configured with switches to enable a flexibility to switch between manual and motorized control of the throttle valve.

[0047] According to another embodiment of the present disclosure, in motorized mode of operation, the throttle motor is controlled by an ECU (Electronic Control Unit) of engine of the vehicle, wherein the ECU gets inputs from one or more sensors to measure the required vehicle parameters and provide a feedback to the throttle motor.

[0048] In another embodiment, the disclosed system provides overriding priority to manual control such that in an event of actuation/pressing of the accelerator pedal, the throttle motor brings back the throttle valve to home position so that the driver can exercise manual control through the accelerator pedal.

[0049] Referring to FIG. 1 illustrating an exemplary block diagram of the disclosed adaptive throttle control system for an engine of a vehicle showing functioning of the proposed system, the proposed electromechanical unit/apparatus for adaptive throttle control comprises a throttle motor 102 (alternatively referred to as motor l02);a planetary gear train 104 (alternatively referred to as gear train l04)anda locking mechanisml08. The planetary gear train 104 is operatively coupled between the throttle motor 102 and the throttle valve 106 to transfer rotational motion of the throttle motor 102 to the throttle valve 106 for motorized actuation of the throttle valve 106. The locking mechanism 108 is adapted to constrain rotation of the planetary gear train 104 so as to limit the actuation of the throttle valve 106. The throttle motor 102 receives inputs from an engine control unit (ECU) 110 of the engine to control the actuation of the throttle valve 106.

[0050] In an aspect, the planetary gear train 104 is also adapted to receive input from an accelerator pedal 112 of the vehicle for manual control of the throttle valve 106.

[0051] In an embodiment, Electronic Control Unit (ECU) 110 receives input from various sensors including but not limited to a desired speed 120, a vehicle speed sensor 122, a brake switch 124, a throttle position sensor 118 connected to the throttle valve 106, a locking mechanism home switch 116 and an accelerator pedal home switch 114. The output of the ECU 110 is adapted to consider the inputs provided by various vehicle sensors as well as speed and distance required in order to avoid a collision, and provide an output to the motor l02to control opening of the throttle valve 106 in motorized mode.

[0052] According to yet another embodiment of the present invention, the accelerator pedal home switch 114 is adapted to detect if the accelerator pedal is in an actuated position (i.e. accelerator pedal pressed by driver of the vehicle) or a released position (i.e. accelerator pedal not pressed by driver of the vehicle). During motorized mode, if the ECU 110 receives a signal from the accelerator pedal home switch 1 Vindicating that the accelerator pedal 1 l2has been actuated/pressed, the ECU110 instructs the motor 102 to close the throttle valve 106, which results in control going back to the driver. Thus, the disclosed adaptive control system provides overriding priority to the manual mode over the motorized mode.

[0053] In an embodiment, the accelerator pedal home switch 114 is positioned at a suitable position in the planetary gear train 104 (to be described against FIGs, 2 and 3) such that it provides input regarding the accelerator pedal 112 being in actuated/pressed position or a released position, as well as works as a physical stop for the corresponding part of the planetary gear train 104 to rest against and prevent its rotation when the throttle valve 106 is being actuated by the motor 102.

[0054] In an embodiment, the locking mechanism home switch H6is placed at the initial position of the locking mechanism 108 and provides input to the ECU 110 regarding home position of the locking mechanism 108. When the locking mechanism home switch 116 is pressed, the motor 102 gets a signal to stop further rotation giving control back to the driver for manual mode of operation.

[0055] In an embodiment, the accelerator pedal home switchl l4 and the locking mechanism home switch 116 positioned in respective positions in the planetary gear train 104 and the locking mechanism 108, serve dual purposes of acting as physical stops as well as signaling the ECU 110 of respective positions of the accelerator pedal 112 and the locking mechanism 108.

[0056] Referring to FIGs 2 and 3 where exploded and sectional views respectively of the disclosed throttle control system are illustrated, the planetary gear train 104 comprises a sun gear 202; a ring gear 204 fixed on a ring gear holder 2l6;a planetary carrier comprising a planetary carrier right 206-1 and a planetary carrier left 206-2 (collectively referred to as planetary carrier 206) that are held on a planet carrier holder 2l8;a set of planetary gears such as planetary gears 208-1 and 208-2 mounted on the planetary carrier 206. The Planetary gear train 104 is supported on bearings 224.

[0057] In an embodiment, the planetary gear train 104 can be a single or compound gear train based on torque requirement to open the throttle valve 106.

[0058] In an aspect, the planetary gear train 104 receives two inputs, one from the accelerator pedal 112 connected to the ring gear 204 by a flexible accelerator cable (not shown here), and other from the motor 102, which is connected directly to the sun gear 202. The planet carrier holder 218, serves as the output of the planetary gear train 104 and is connected to the throttle valve 106 via another flexible cable such as a throttle cable (not shown here). A cable stopper 222 prevents rotation of the planet carrier holder 218/planetary carrier 206 beyond a point.

[0059] In an embodiment, the accelerator pedal home switch 114 is located alongside the ring gear 204 such that it provides input regarding the accelerator pedal 112 being in actuated/pressed position or a released position, and work as a physical stop for the ring gear 204 and prevent its rotation when the planetary gear train 104 is being actuated by the motor 102

[0060] In an embodiment, the locking mechanism 108 is a screw-nut type locking mechanism that consists of a threaded drive shaft 210 connected to the sun gear 202 and a guided nut 226 that is enclosed in a guiding bush 212. The locking mechanism 108 constrains rotation of the sun gear 202 after a fixed number of revolutions. Besides constraining the movement beyond certain limits, it also enables a feedback through switches to the ECU 110 thereby eliminating need of expensive stepper or servo motors. Thus, the motor 102 can be any of a brushless DC motor or a permanent magnet synchronous motor.

[0061] It is to be appreciated that though embodiments of the present disclosure have been described with reference to a screw and nut type locking mechanism, it is to be appreciated that any other type of locking mechanism can be used in place of the screw-nut type locking mechanism without any limitation whatsoever, and all such applications are well within the scope of the present disclosure. In an exemplary implementation, a rotary encoder can be used replacing the locking mechanism.

[0062] It is also to be appreciated that the disclosed electromechanical throttle control system can also be implemented without a locking mechanism using a motor incorporating feedback or control mechanism such as a servo motor or a stepper motor, and therefore a simple mechanical locking mechanism with switches helps to reduce cost.

[0063] Thus, in an embodiment, the disclosed electromechanical unit/apparatus can include a stepper motor and planetary gear train, the gear train having two inputs - one from the stepper motor connected to sun gear of the planetary gear train, and another from accelerator pedal of the vehicle connected to ring gear of the planetary gear train through a flexible cable, and the planetary gear train providing output from planetary carrier connected to the throttle valve through another flexible cable; wherein the stepper motor can provide the initial position as well as control number of turns based on the number of steps.

[0064] In an alternate embodiment, the disclosed electromechanical unit/apparatus can include a motor selected out of any of a brushless DC motor or a permanent magnet synchronous motor, a rotary encoder and a planetary gear train; the gear train having two inputs - one from the motor connected to sun gear of the planetary gear train, and another from accelerator pedal of the vehicle connected to ring gear of the planetary gear train through a flexible cable, and the planetary gear train providing output from planetary carrier connected to the throttle valve through another flexible cable; wherein the rotary encoder can provide the initial position as well as control number of turns.

[0065] In an embodiment of working of the screw-nut type locking mechanism, the rotation of the threaded drive shaft 210 along with the sun gear 202/motor 102 makes the guided nut 226 move linearly. After certain linear movement that corresponds to the fixed number of revolutions of the motor l02/sun gear 202, the guided nut 226 comes in contact with the locking mechanism home switch 116 upon which the locking mechanism home switch 116 sends a signal to the ECU 110, which signal is used to stop further rotation of the motor 102, thus locking the movement beyond given limit to constrain actuation of the throttle valve 106 beyond a limit in the motorized mode of operation. In an embodiment, the screw-nut type locking mechanism 108 is also used to have a flexibility to switch between manual and motorized control of the throttle valve 106.

[0066] In another aspect, the locking mechanism home switch 116 also helps in manual intervention by the driver, by detecting such that when the guided nut 226 comes to the home position. Events such as switching off of the engine, or the driver pressing the accelerator, are sensed by the locking mechanism home switch 116 and the motor goes to the initial position.

[0067] In an embodiment, the complete electromechanical assembly comprising the planetary gear train 104, the locking mechanism 108, the motor 102 and switches are placed in a housing 214 and covered with a lid 220 making the complete assembly a self-contained unit, which is connected to the throttle valve 106 and the accelerator pedal 112 by flexible cables, and to the ECU 110 by electrical connections. Therefore, it can be easily installed at any suitable place without any modification on the vehicle. In another respect, for fitment of the proposed system on a vehicle having accelerator cable connection to the throttle valve, no modification to the throttle valve is required.

[0068] In an embodiment, the housing 214 is designed in such a way that there is no need of bearing support in between the locking mechanism and the gear mechanism . As the gear system is supported radially by the housing 214, number of moving /dynamic components is reduced and NVH level is low. For easy installation of the accelerator and throttle cables inside the housing, the lid 220 is provided at one side in such a way that it doesn't disturb the gear assembly.

[0069] In manual mode of application, when the accelerator pedal 112 is pressed, the motion gets transferred to the ring gear 204 via the flexible accelerator cable, causing it to rotate. The rotation of the ring gear 204 in turn rotates the planet carrier holder 218, resulting in either opening or closing of the throttle valve 106 corresponding to movement of the accelerator pedal 112. The sun gear 202 is kept stationary during this mode by thelocking mechanism 108.

[0070] In motorized mode of application, the motor 102 is controlled by the ECUl lObased on the input received from various sensors including but not limited to a desired speed 120, a vehicle speed sensor 122, a brake switch 124 and a throttle position sensor 118 connected to the throttle valve 106. The desired speed 120 is determined based on the distance between the vehicle and any obstacle ahead to prevent collisions in city driving environments. The ECU 110 also receive the position input from the locking mechanism home switch 116 and the accelerator pedal home switch 114. Based on the inputs received, ECU 110 decides the required amount of opening of the throttle valve 106. Accordingly, the ECU 110 sends a corresponding voltage signal to the motor 102, which in turn rotates the sun gear 202.

[0071] In this mode, the locking mechanism home switch 1 l6disengages as the guided nut226 moves linearly towards the sun gear 202. The ring gear 204 is prevented from rotation by the accelerator pedal home switch 114 working as a physical stop for the ring gear204, causing the rotation of the sun gear 202 to be transferred to the planetary carrier206/planet carrierholder 2l8which in turn actuates the throttle valvel06.

[0072] The brake switch 124 identifies if the brake pedal is pressed or not. If the brake pedal is pressed during motorized mode, the ECU 110 instructs the motor 102 to close the throttle valve 106. In this situation, the control of the throttle valve 106 can be taken over by the driver.

[0073] It may be that the vehicle is having an automated braking feature. In such a case, the ECU can be configured to override the human intervention when an automated braking takes place, and close the throttle irrespective of user pressing the accelerator. This would prevent two opposite demands, i.e. a lowered throttle demand by the automated braking, and an increased throttle by the user by pressing the accelerator.

[0074] Thus, the present disclosure provides an adaptive throttle control system that based on inputs from various sensors, enables the ECU to operate the throttle valve of the engine to maintain ideal distance and speed, thereby avoiding collisions. The proposed system helps the driver to maintain a safe distance at desired speed. The proposed system can be used with a suitable control mechanism known in the art - a switch, a lever, a button, a key, etc. which can allow the driver to select the manual throttle operation mode or the EUC driven throttle operated motorized mode. For example, in inching city traffic, the driver might wish to select the ECU throttle operated mode for comfort, whereas on highways he might want to drive the throttle manually.

[0075] Further, the adaptive throttle system/electromechanical unit can be retrofitted into any vehicle having cable type throttle control system, without any modifications to the existing throttle body. Applicability of electromechanical unit along with standard cable throttle control makes for safe and controlled operation with an option of manual intervention, if at all required. Optionally, the adaptive throttle system of the present invention may be installed in new vehicle at the time of manufacturing, without any modifications. The system of the present invention provides two drive modes i.e. manual mode and motorized mode, without using a clutch with minimal number of components. Further, the system of the present invention provides a simple, efficient and cost effective solution for throttle control.

[0076] While the foregoing describes various embodiments of the invention, other and further embodiments of the invention may be devised without departing from the basic scope thereof. The scope of the invention is determined by the claims that follow. The invention is not limited to the described embodiments, versions or examples, which are included to enable a person having ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention when combined with information and knowledge available to the person having ordinary skill in the art.