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Title:
A LAMP ASSEMBLY FOR A VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/207567
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention relates to a lamp assembly for a vehicle including: a housing; an outer lens partially covering the housing to define an enclosure between the housing and lens; a light emitting diode (LED) light source arranged in the enclosure; and a light guide forming part of the housing, the light guide having a light receiving surface within the enclosure and a light emitting surface outside the enclosure, such that light emitted from the LED light source is received by the light receiving surface of the light guide and directed toward the light emitting surface of the light guide, such that light is output from the light guide.

Inventors:
BELCHER, Simon (5 Garden St, South Plympton, South Australia 5038, 5038, AU)
DICKSON, Jay (1/5 Mason Lane, Glenelg North, South Australia 5045, 5045, AU)
Application Number:
EP2017/063034
Publication Date:
December 07, 2017
Filing Date:
May 30, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SMR PATENTS SARL (Le Dôme, 2-8 Avenue Charles de Gaulle, 1653 Luxemburg, 1653, LU)
International Classes:
B60Q1/26; B60R1/12; F21S8/10
Foreign References:
EP2774814A12014-09-10
EP2803532A12014-11-19
US20160059773A12016-03-03
DE102012211821A12014-06-12
DE102005013682A12006-09-21
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WEBER-BRULS, DOROTHÉE (Jones Day, NEXTOWERThurn-und-Taxis-Platz 6, Frankfurt am Main, 60313, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A lamp assembly for a vehicle including:

a housing;

an outer lens partially covering the housing to define an enclosure between the housing and lens;

a light emitting diode (LED) light source arranged in the enclosure; and

a light guide forming part of the housing, the light guide having a light receiving surface within the enclosure and a light emitting surface outside the enclosure, such that light emitted from the LED light source is received by the light receiving surface of the light guide and directed toward the light emitting surface of the light guide, such that light is output from the light guide.

2. The lamp assembly as claimed in claim 1, wherein the light is output from the light guide with a substantially uniform luminance.

3. The lamp assembly as claimed in either claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the light is output from the light guide over a viewing angle of at least 55 degrees in a plane.

4. The lamp assembly as claimed in claim 3, wherein the plane is a horizontal plane.

5. The lamp assembly of any of the preceding claims, wherein the light emitting surface of the light guide includes surface optics to diffuse light output from the light emitting surface.

6. The lamp assembly of any of the preceding claims, wherein the housing is opaque.

7. The lamp assembly of any of the preceding claims, wherein the light guide is clear.

8. The lamp assembly of any of the preceding claims, wherein the outer lens includes an opaque inner portion and a light transmissive outer portion, wherein the opaque inner portion includes an elongate opening to allow light to transmit through the outer portion, the lamp assembly further including an elongate light pipe for guiding light from at least one light source to an elongate light emitting surface, wherein the elongate light pipe is housed within the enclosure such that the light emitting surface of the light pipe is adjacent to the elongate opening of the inner portion.

9. The lamp assembly of any of the preceding claims wherein the lamp enclosure is weatherproof.

Description:
A LAM P ASSEMBLY FOR A VEH ICLE

TECHNICAL FI ELD

[0001] The present invention relates to lamp assemblies. In a particular form the present invention relates to lamp assemblies for an exterior rear view assembly of a vehicle.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Automotive lighting arrangements are increasingly being used in vehicle rear view systems (such as exterior rear view mirror assemblies) as value added features required by automotive manufacturers. An example of this is rear view mirror assemblies that are manufactured with supplementary side direction indicators (or side turn signal indicator) lights, which are operated by the driver to signal their intention to change the direction in which the vehicle is proceeding. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are also being used more frequently as the light source in these lighting arrangements.

[0003] It is desirable to provide a lighting arrangement which provides both a forward projecting light output (known as a cosmetic light due to it being for aesthetic rather than regulatory or compliance purposes) and a rear projecting light output (known as a compliance light) having a required photometric output for legal compliance purposes (for example, the requirements of Australian Design Rule 6/00 - Direction Indicators).

[0004] Light emitting devices within rear vision assemblies that employ an internal light pipe, or a light pipe integrated into an exterior lens are known. It is also known to weld such light pipes to a rear housing to achieve both cosmetic and regulatory requirements. However, this solution may not always be possible due to packaging and design requirements.

[0005] It is against this background and the problems and difficulties associated therewith that the present invention has been developed.

SUMMARY

[0006] According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a lamp assembly for a vehicle including:

a housing;

an outer lens partially covering the housing to define an enclosure between the housing and lens; a light emitting diode ( LED) light source arranged in the enclosure; and a light guide forming part of the housing, the light guide having a light receiving surface within the enclosure and a light emitting surface outside the enclosure, such that light emitted from the LED light source is received by the light receiving surface of the light guide and directed toward the light emitting surface of the light guide, such that light is output from the light guide.

[0007] In another form, the light is output from the light guide with a substantially uniform luminance.

[0008] In another form, the light is output fr m the light guide over a viewing angle of at least 55 degrees in a plane.

[0009] In another form, the plane is a horizontal plane.

[0010] In another form, the light emitting surface of the light guide includes surface optics to diffuse light output from the light emitting surface.

[001 1] In another form, the housing is opaque.

[0012] In another form, the light guide is clear.

[0013] In another form, the outer lens includes an opaque inner portion and a light transmissive outer portion, wherein the opaque inner portion includes an elongate opening to allow light to transmit through the outer portion, the lamp assembly further including an elongate light pipe for guiding light from at least one light source to an elongate light emitting surface, wherein the elongate light pipe is housed within the enclosure such that the light emitting surface of the light pipe is adjacent to the elongate opening of the inner portion.

[0014] In another form, the lamp enclosure is weatherproof. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0015] Embodiments of the present invention will be discussed with reference to the accompanying drawings wherein:

[0016] Figure 1 is a rear perspective view of a lamp assembly integrated into an exterior rear view mirror assembly according to an embodiment of the invention;

[0017] Figure 2 is a front perspective view of the assembly of Figure 1 ;

[0018] Figure 3 is a side perspective view of the assembly of Figure 1 ; [0019] Figure 4 is a cross sectional view of the lamp assembly including the minimum horizontal angle of light distribution in space to be provided by the compliance light;

[0020] Figure 5 is a front perspective view of the lamp assembly with its outer lens removed;

[0021] Figure 6 is a detailed front perspective view of the lamp assembly of Figure 5;

[0022] Figure 7 is a front perspective view of the lamp assembly of figure 5 including the outer lens;

[0023] Figure 8 is a rear perspective view of the lamp assembly of Figure 7;

[0024] Figure 9 is a rear perspective view of the outer lens; and

[0025] Figure 10 is a rear perspective view of a lamp assembly integrated into an exterior rear view mirror assembly according to an alternative embodiment of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0026] Referring to Figures 1 to 3, there is shown a lamp assembly 200 integrated into an exterior rear view mirror assembly 100. The mirror assembly comprises a vehicle mounting portion 101 for mounting the assembly to the side of a vehicle, and a base frame 102 in connection with the vehicle mounting portion 101 for supporting the remainder of the mirror assembly 100. The lamp assembly 200 is supported by the base frame 102, and is enclosed by an outer case 103, which also houses the rear view mirror 104 and mirror surround 105.

[0027] The lamp assembly 200 provides a cosmetic light configured to provide light output generally forward of the vehicle. The lamp assembly 200 also provides a compliance light configured to provide light output to an area required by law.

[0028] Referring now to Figure 4, where there is shown a schematic top view of the minimum horizontal angle of light distribution in space to be provided by the compliance light, as required by Australian Design Rule 6/00 - Direction Indicators. It can be seen that the light output is required to be provided in a minimum 5 degree arc offset 5 degrees from a line parallel to the vehicle centreline. In this embodiment, the compliance light is configured to comply with these requirements.

[0029] Referring now to Figures 5 and 6, where there is shown the lamp assembly 200, with its outer lens removed to show the lamp housing 201 and compliance light guide 211. In one embodiment, the housing 201 and compliance light guide 211 are formed in a two shot injection moulding process. First, the housing 201 is moulded from black acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) or other suitable opaque substrate, then the compliance light guide 211 is overmoulded using an acrylic (PMMA) or other suitable clear or transparent substrate.

[0030] In an alternative embodiment, the lamp housing 201 and compliance light guide 211 may instead be separate components welded together.

[0031] The lamp housing 201 supports and houses an elongate cosmetic light pipe 206, with an elongate light emitting surface 206a, the light pipe 206 being illuminated at its first and second ends by a first end PCB 207 and light source 208 and a second end PCB 209 and light source 210 respectively. The lamp housing 201 also supports and houses a PCB 216 and light source 217 for illuminating the compliance light guide 211.

[0032] In one embodiment, the light sources 208, 209, 217 may be light emitting diodes (LEDs).

[0033] The cosmetic light pipe 206 is manufactured from a clear plastic (such as PMMA) and is adapted to be substantially transparent when in an un-lit state while being diffusive in a lit-state. When lit, light exits the light emitting surface 206a of the cosmetic light pipe 206 with substantially uniform luminous intensity along its length. This may be achieved by using surface optics along its length to distribute the light evenly along its length. Alternatively, the cosmetic light pipe 206 may be filled with light scattering particles, where most light rays that enter the light pipe 206 will encounter the light scattering particles that alter the direction of the rays. The effect of this light scattering is that light rays will spread throughout the light pipe 206, such that an even distribution of light output from the light emitting surface 206a occurs.

[0034] The light scattering particles may be titanium dioxide particles of sufficient size and

concentration such that the light pipe 206 appears transparent when un-lit while providing a substantially uniform luminous intensity surface output when lit.

[0035] As can be seen more clearly in Figure 6, the light source 217 is immediately adjacent the light receiving surface 212 of the compliance light guide 211, such that light emitted from the light source is received by the light receiving surface 212 of the light guide 211, passes through the mid-section 213 and is directed toward the light emitting surface 214 of the light guide 211, such that light is output from the light guide 211 such that at least the minimum horizontal angle of light distribution in space is achieved.

[0036] In one embodiment, the light emitting surface 214 may have surface optics present to diffuse light output from the light emitting surface. [0037] In a further embodiment, the light guide 211 may be configured such that light is output from the light guide 211 with a substantially uniform luminance.

[0038] Referring now to Figures 7 and 8, where there is shown the lamp assembly 200, including the outer lens 202. The outer lens 202 is formed in a two shot injection moulding process, comprising an opaque inner portion 203 and a light transmissive outer portion 205. As best shown in Figure 9, the opaque inner portion 203 has an elongate opening 204 to allow light emitted from the adjacent light emitting surface 206a of the light pipe 206 to transmit through the light transmissive outer portion 205. The opaque inner portion 203 is manufactured from an opaque plastic (such as ABS), and the light transmissive outer portion 205 is manufactured from a clear or tinted plastic (such as PMMA).

[0039] In alternative embodiments, the outer lens 202 may be a single component having an opaque coating on an inner surface formed by example by applying paint or a thin film coating. The light transmissive window 203 may be formed by etching away the opaque coating or masking the area before coating.

[0040] The outer lens 202 and housing 201 (including the overmoulded compliance light guide 211) are welded together using hot plate welding and as best shown in Figure 7, define a sealed, weatherproof enclosure housing the cosmetic light pipe 21, PCBs 207, 209, 216 and light sources 208, 210, 217.

[0041] As best shown in Figures 2 and 3, the exterior rear view mirror assembly 100 is configured such that the light receiving surface 212 of the compliance light guide 211 is within the enclosure, and the light emitting surface of the compliance light guide 211 is outside the enclosure, such that the only externally visible components of the lamp assembly 200 are the outer lens 202 and the light emitting surface 214 of the compliance light guide 211. It will be appreciated that the co-moulding or welding of the compliance light guide 211 to the housing 201 allows for it to be an external feature, while the enclosure remains fully sealed.

[0042] As best seen in Figure 5, the compliance light guide 211 features a mid-section 213 with a reduced cross sectional area. As shown in Figure 9, the outer lens 202 features a complimentary cut out 218, wherein when the outer lens 202 is welded to the lamp housing 201 and compliance light guide 211 to form the sealed enclosure, the mid-section 213 nests within the cut out 218. The mirror surround 105 has a similar cut out (not shown) which also encloses the mid-section 213. such that the only visible component of the compliance light guide is the light emitting surface 214.

[0043] Referring now to Figure 10, where there is shown a rear perspective view of an exterior rear view mirror assembly 300 according to an alternative embodiment. This embodiment includes the additional feature of a compliance light guide with a second light emitting surface 303 which is directed toward the driver of the vehicle and employed as a tell tale light to notify the driver that the compliance light is illuminated.

[0044] As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, it is possible for the cosmetic and compliance lights to be illuminated individually. For instance, the cosmetic light may instead be used as an "always on" clearance light to provide a visual indication to oncoming traffic as to the width of the vehicle.

[0045] Throughout the specification and the claims that follow, unless the context requires otherwise, the words "comprise" and "include" and variations such as "comprising" and "including" will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers, but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers.

[0046] The reference to any prior art in this specification is not, and should not be taken as, an acknowledgement of any form of suggestion that such prior art forms part of the common general knowledge.

[0047] It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the invention is not restricted in its use to the particular application described. Neither is the present invention restricted in its preferred embodiment with regard to the particular elements and/or features described or depicted herein. It will be appreciated that the invention is not limited to the embodiment or embodiments disclosed, but is capable of numerous rearrangements, modifications and substitutions without departing from the scope of the invention as set forth and defined by the following claims.

[0048] For instance, while in the embodiments shown, the lamp assembly 200 was shown and described being integrated into an exterior rear view mirror of a vehicle, it could also be integrated into any other type of exterior rear view system, such as an exterior rear view camera pod.

[0049] Please note that the following claims are provisional claims only, and are provided as examples of possible claims and are not intended to limit the scope of what may be claimed in any future patent applications based on the present application. Integers may be added to or omitted from the example claims at a later date so as to further define or re -define the invention.