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Title:
A PEDAL ASSEMBLY FOR A VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/185167
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A pedal assembly (10) for a vehicle, optionally for a braking system, comprising a pedal member (20), a return member (42) configured to exert a return force on the pedal member (20) in reaction to an actuation force exerted by the pedal member on the return member, and a connecting member (50) for operatively connecting the pedal member (20) to the return member (42), wherein the connecting member (50) is configured to pass from a first configuration to a second configuration when the actuation force is greater than or equal to a predetermined threshold.

Inventors:
VAN REETH, Tim (European Technical Administration DivisionAvenue du Bourget 60, 1140 Brussels, 1140, BE)
Application Number:
EP2018/058310
Publication Date:
October 03, 2019
Filing Date:
March 30, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
TOYOTA MOTOR EUROPE (Avenue du Bourget 60, 1140 Brussels, 1140, BE)
International Classes:
G05G1/30; B60T7/04; G05G1/46
Foreign References:
JP2001039276A2001-02-13
EP0788931A21997-08-13
EP1149748A22001-10-31
US6286388B12001-09-11
GB2356443A2001-05-23
FR2598128A11987-11-06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VERRUE, Jacques et al. (Cabinet Beau de Lomenie, 158 rue de l'Université, Paris Cedex 07, 75340, FR)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A pedal assembly (10) for a vehicle, optionally for a braking system, comprising a pedal member (20), a return member (42) configured to exert a return force on the pedal member (20) in reaction to an actuation force exerted by the pedal member (20) on the return member (42), and a connecting member (50) for operatively connecting the pedal member (20) to the return member (42), wherein the connecting member (50) is configured to pass from a first configuration to a second configuration when the actuation force is greater than or equal to a predetermined threshold.

2. The pedal assembly (10) as claimed in claim 1, wherein in the first configuration, the connecting member (50) is at a first position with respect to an element selected from the pedal member (20) and the return member (42), and in the second configuration, the connecting member (50) is at a second position with respect to said element.

3. The pedal assembly (10) as claimed in claim 2, wherein said element has a first hole (44a) and a second hole (44b) communicating with each other through a passage (48) narrower than the first and second holes (44a, 44b), and the connecting member (50) is located in the first hole (44a) in the first configuration and in the second hole (44b) in the second configuration.

4. The pedal assembly (10) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the relative positions of the pedal member (20) and the return member (42) differ between the first configuration and the second configuration for the same actuation force exerted on the pedal member.

5. The pedal assembly (10) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein a stroke of the pedal member (20) is offset between the first configuration and the second configuration.

6. The pedal assembly (10) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein a stroke amplitude of the pedal member (20) is the same for both the first and second configurations.

7. The pedal assembly (10) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 6, further comprising a detector (60) configured to detect whether the connecting member (50) is in the second configuration and an emitter (70) configured to receive information from the detector (60) and to emit a signal for warning a driver when the connecting member (50) is in the second configuration.

8. The pedal assembly (10) as claimed in claim 7, wherein the detector (60) is configured to detect a state where the pedal member (20) is at rest.

9. The pedal assembly (10) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 8, comprising a control unit (70) configured to control the vehicle in a safety mode when the connecting member (50) is in the second configuration. 10. The pedal assembly (10) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the return member (42) includes a cylinder rod.

11. The pedal assembly (10) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein the connecting member (50) comprises a pin.

12. The pedal assembly (10) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 11, wherein the predetermined threshold is greater than a full-stroke actuation force capable of countering the reactive force to cause the pedal member (20) to move through an entire stroke of the pedal member (20).

13. A vehicle (100) comprising the pedal assembly (10) as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 12.

Description:
A PEDAL ASSEMBLY FOR A VEHICLE

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present disclosure relates to safety of vehicles, and more particularly to a pedal assembly for a vehicle. The pedal assembly may be used for a braking system.

TECHNOLOGICAL BACKGROUND

[0002] A vehicle usually comprises one or more pedal assemblies actuated by a driver to operate the vehicle. As they generally relate to core functions of the vehicle, the pedal assemblies must never fail, especially for the braking function of the vehicle.

[0003] Components such as pedals are designed with very high safety margins, and additional systems may be provided to ensure redundancy and/or safety modes. For instance, patent document FR 2 598 128 A1 discloses a safety system designed to protect the vehicle in case of failure of a master cylinder, a brake, an oil feeding pipe or the like.

[0004] However, there is a constant demand for higher safety of vehicles.

SUMMARY

[0005] In this respect, the present disclosure relates to a pedal assembly for a vehicle, optionally for a braking system, comprising a pedal member, a return member configured to exert a return force on the pedal member in reaction to an actuation force exerted by the pedal member on the return member, and a connecting member for operatively connecting the pedal member to the return member, wherein the connecting member is configured to pass from a first configuration to a second configuration when the actuation force is greater than or equal to a predetermined threshold.

[0006] The pedal assembly may be provided to control a functional system of the vehicle, e.g. the braking system or the clutch system. The transmission between the pedal member and the functional system may be of any type.

[0007] For instance, in a hydraulic transmission, the pedal member pushes a rod of a master cylinder, which provides hydraulic pressure to the functional system. Conversely, the hydraulic pressure makes the rod resist to the actuation force exerted on the pedal member; thereby, the rod serves as the return member, wherein the return force comes from the hydraulic pressure.

[0008] In another example, the transmission may be a pneumatic transmission and may operate on a similar principle as the hydraulic transmission, with a gas replacing the hydraulic fluid.

[0009] In yet another example, the transmission may be electronic. For instance, a sensor may detect the position of the pedal member and send the detected position to an electrical control unit (ECU) or the like configured to control the functional system on the basis of this position. For the driver's feeling and for returning the pedal member to a rest position thereof, i.e. countering actuation of the pedal member, a return member, e.g. a spring or the like, is provided.

[0010] In any case, the pedal assembly comprises a return member configured to exert a return force on the pedal member in reaction to an actuation force exerted on the pedal member. The actuation force is usually exerted by a driver. More specifically, the return member may be configured to exert a return force on the pedal member in reaction to a displacement of the pedal member, said displacement in turn resulting from the actuation force.

[0011] The connecting member operatively connects the pedal member to the return member, so that the pedal member drives the return member in displacement via the connecting member, and vice versa.

[0012] When the actuation force exerted by the pedal member on the return member, which is directly correlated to the actuation force exerted by the driver on the pedal member, is greater than or equal to a predetermined threshold, e.g. when the driver pushes too hard on the pedal member, the connecting member passes from a first configuration to a second configuration. Otherwise, the connecting member stays in the first configuration or in the second configuration. A configuration may refer to a position, a shape, a deformation state, an activation state of an electrical component, etc. In both the first and second configurations, the pedal assembly remains operational, i.e. able to control operation of the functional system.

[0013] The driver and/or the vehicle may notice or detect the passing and/or the second configuration, so that the driver is warned that he has put too much force on the pedal member. Specifically, the driver, feeling the passing and/or the second configuration, perceives that the pedal assembly behaves in an unusual way, and/or the vehicle detects the passing and/or the second configuration and notifies the driver through a warning device. Upon this perception and/or notification, the driver releases the force exerted on the pedal member, whereby stresses on the pedal assembly decrease. As a result, the safety of the pedal assembly is increased.

[0014] The vehicle may then be brought to repair in order to put the connecting member back in the first configuration, in other words rearm the pedal assembly.

[0015] In some embodiments, in the first configuration, the connecting member is at a first position with respect to an element selected from the pedal member and the return member, and in the second configuration, the connecting member is at a second position with respect to said element.

[0016] As a consequence, the first and second configurations are mechanically defined and can be implemented and repaired easily.

[0017] In some embodiments, said element, namely the pedal member or the return member, has a first hole and a second hole communicating with each other through a passage narrower than the first and second holes, and the connecting member is located in the first hole in the first configuration and in the second hole in the second configuration. The connecting member may have a largest dimension greater than the dimension of the passage. Therefore, the connecting member passes from the first position to the second position only when the actuation force is great enough to deform the connecting member and/or the passage and force the connecting member through the passage.

[0018] In some embodiments, the relative positions of the pedal member and the return member differ between the first configuration and the second configuration for the same actuation force exerted on the pedal member. Accordingly, it is easy for the driver or an in-vehicle detector to detect that the connecting member is in the second configuration.

[0019] In some embodiments, a stroke of the pedal member is offset between the first configuration and the second configuration. Accordingly, it is easy for the driver or an in-vehicle sensor to detect that the connecting member is in the second configuration.

[0020] In some embodiments, a stroke amplitude of the pedal member is the same for both the first and second configurations. Therefore, even if the connecting member is in the second configuration, the driver can still operate the functional system normally and safety is thereby maintained.

[0021] In some embodiments, the pedal assembly further comprises a detector configured to detect whether the connecting member is in the second configuration and an emitter configured to receive information from the detector and to emit a signal for warning a driver when the connecting member is in the second configuration. The driver can then receive proper notice of the connecting member passing to or being in the second configuration even if he does not feel the passing or the second configuration by himself.

[0022] In some embodiments, the detector is configured to detect a state where the pedal member is at rest. Such detectors may already exist in vehicles, e.g. for lighting rear lamps when the brake pedal is actuated, i.e. not at rest. Use of existing detectors is economical.

[0023] In some embodiments, the pedal assembly comprises a control unit configured to control the vehicle in a safety mode when the connecting member is in the second configuration. For instance, the control unit may prevent the vehicle from starting after the first engine shutdown or from accelerating beyond a certain speed after the first stand-still. Therefore, the vehicle prevents the driver from taking any further risk, whereby safety is increased.

[0024] In some embodiments, the return member includes a cylinder rod. The functional system transmission may be hydraulic or pneumatic and the cylinder rod may be part of this transmission.

[0025] In some embodiments, the connecting member comprises a pin. Assembling the pedal member to the return member is thereby facilitated.

[0026] In some embodiments, the predetermined threshold is greater than a full-stroke actuation force capable of countering the reactive force to cause the pedal member to move through an entire stroke of the pedal member. Therefore, full-stroke actuation of the pedal member is possible without triggering the connecting member passing from the first configuration to the second configuration. In other words, the pedal assembly as above described does not interfere with normal actuation of the pedal member by the driver. Furthermore, the passing may occur when the pedal member is at full stroke and the driver keeps on pushing it, thereby exceeding the predetermined threshold. [0027] The present disclosure also relates to a vehicle comprising the pedal assembly as above described.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0028] The invention and advantages thereof will be better understood upon reading the detailed description which follows, of embodiments given as non-limiting examples. This description refers to the appended drawings, wherein:

- Fig. 1 is a diagrammatic side view showing a pedal assembly according to an embodiment, in a first configuration;

- Fig. 2 is a cross-section along plane II-II of Fig. 1;

- Fig. 3 is a diagrammatic side view showing the pedal assembly of Fig. 1 in a second position;

- Fig. 4 is a diagrammatic side view showing the pedal assembly of Fig. 3 in a second configuration;

- Fig. 5 is a diagrammatic side view showing the pedal assembly of Fig. 1 in another configuration;

- Fig. 6 illustrates a vehicle comprising the pedal assembly according to the embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

[0029] A pedal assembly 10 according to an embodiment is illustrated in Fig. 1 in a simplified manner. For conciseness, it is hereafter assumed that the pedal assembly 10 is for use with a braking system of a vehicle, however other functional systems are also contemplated as explained above.

[0030] The pedal assembly 10 comprises a pedal member 20 and a bracket 30. The pedal member 20 is movably mounted on the bracket 30. The bracket 30 may be fixedly mounted on a vehicle, e.g. on a dash panel 32. More precisely, the pedal member 20 comprises a pedal arm 22, a pedal mounting portion 24 and a pedal 26. The pedal mounting portion 24 and the pedal 26 are at either ends of the pedal arm 22. The pedal mounting portion 24 is rotatably mounted on a corresponding mounting portion 34 of the bracket 30, about a fulcrum 36.

[0031] The control device 10 further comprises a master cylinder 40 having a movable cylinder rod or push rod 42. Although a hydraulic transmission is herein described, other transmission types are also contemplated as explained above. In this embodiment, the push rod 42 extends longitudinally in an actuation direction X, hereafter also referred to as a front (FR) - rear (RR) direction, since the actuation direction may often be parallel to a front-rear direction of a vehicle. Actuation of the push rod 42 within the master cylinder 40, in this case substantially along the actuation direction X, may be used to control a brake in a manner known perse.

[0032] The push rod 42 is operatively connected to the pedal member 20, i.e. such that operation of the push rod 42 drives operation of the pedal member 20 and vice versa. In this embodiment, the push rod 42 has a hole 44 for connection to the pedal member 20, here to the pedal arm 22. The hole 44 may be provided at an end of the push rod 42. According to this example, the pedal arm 22 may comprise a corresponding opening 28, and the push rod 42 may be operatively connected to the pedal member 20 through engagement of a connecting member 50 in the opening 28 of the pedal member 20 and the hole 44 of the push rod 42. The opening 28 may be a circular opening or, more generally, an opening having the same cross-section shape as the connecting member 50. The cross-section of the opening 28 may be slightly greater than the cross-section of the connecting member 50, in order for the opening 28 to smoothly receive the connecting member 50.

[0033] As explained above, due to the hydraulic pressure in the master cylinder 40, the push rod 42 tends to return the pedal member 20 to its rest position which is shown in Fig. 1. In other words, the push rod 42 serves as a return member configured to exert a return force on the pedal member 20 in reaction to an actuation force exerted on the pedal member 20, e.g. by a driver. However, the return member may be distinct or independent from the transmission between the pedal member 20 and the brake system. For instance, in other embodiments, the return member may be a spring, a resilient element, a magnetic element or the like.

[0034] In this embodiment, the connecting member 50 comprises a pin, e.g. a clevis pin. Engagement of the connecting member 50 with the pedal member 20 and the push rod 42 is shown in Fig. 2. As illustrated in this figure, the connecting member 50 is inserted in the aligned opening 28 and hole 44 and secured therein thanks to a locking pin 52, which prevents extraction of the connecting member 50 from the opening 28 and the hole 44.

[0035] Back to Fig. 1, the pedal member 20 further comprises a flange 29 integrally rotating with the pedal arm 22. In the rest position of the pedal member 20, the flange 29 abuts against a detector 60. On the other hand, when the pedal member 20 is actuated, the flange 29 rotates away from the detector 60. The detector 60 may send a signal to an ECU 70 depending on whether it detects the flange 29 or not, i.e. whether the pedal member 20 is at rest.

[0036] Operation of the pedal assembly 10 is now described with reference to Figs. 3 to 5.

[0037] In reaction to an actuation force FI exerted by a driver on the pedal member 20, the push rod 42 is actuated in the FR direction through operative connection of the pedal member 20 and the push rod 42 by the connecting member 50. As a result, the push rod provides a force F2 to the braking system. Meanwhile, as a return member, the push rod 42 exerts a return force on the pedal member 20. As is known perse, smooth operation of the push rod 42 and compensation for the displacement of the connecting member 50 about the fulcrum 36 may be ensured thanks to a ball-joint connection 46 between the push rod 42 and a movable actuation member 40a of the master cylinder 40.

[0038] As can be seen in the enlarged portion of Fig. 3, in this embodiment, the hole 44 is formed of a first hole 44a and a second hole 44b. During movement of the pedal member 20, the connecting member 50 is in the first hole 44a, i.e. at a first position with respect to the push rod 42. A passage 48 is provided between the first hole 44a and the second hole 44b. Since the passage 48 is narrower than a largest dimension of the connecting member 50, here narrower than a diameter of the clevis pin, the passage 48 normally prevents the connecting member 50 from passing to the second hole 44b.

[0039] In this embodiment, the holes 44a, 44b have substantially circular cross-sections which intersect each other, the passage 48 being formed by the radical line of the circles, i.e. the line drawn between intersecting portions of the two circles. However, other shapes are possible, such as snap-fitting shapes. In this embodiment, the hole 44a, 44b have the same dimensions, but different sizes or shapes are also encompassed. Furthermore, as shown e.g. in Fig. 2, each of the first and second hole 44a, 44b is a through hole, however any of these holes may be a blind hole to be used with another kind of connecting member. [0040] More generally, in this embodiment, the push rod has a first hole 44a and a second hole 44b communicating with each other through a passage 48 narrower than the first and second holes 44a, 44b, and the connecting member 50 is located in the first hole in the first configuration.

[0041] When the pedal member 20 has reached a full-stroke position, if the driver keeps pushing, thus exerting a force F3 on the pedal member 20, the actuation force exerted by the pedal member 20 on the return member, namely the push rod 42, will increase and may become greater than or equal to a predetermined threshold. This case is represented in Fig. 4. In this Figure, since the actuation force exerted by the pedal member 20 on the push rod 42 is greater than or equal to a predetermined threshold, the connecting member 50 passes from a first configuration to a second configuration.

[0042] Specifically, as can be seen in Fig. 4, the pin passes from the first hole 44a to the second hole 44b. The predetermined threshold is determined so that when the aforementioned actuation force is greater than or equal to the predetermined threshold, said force is great enough to elastically or plastically deform the passage 48 and/or the connecting member 50 and force the connecting member 50 through the passage 48.

[0043] As illustrated in Fig. 4, in the second configuration, represented in solid line, the connecting member 50 is at a second position with respect to the push rod 42, as compared to the first position corresponding to the first configuration, represented in dashed line. Since the pedal member 20 is driven by the connecting member 50 in the actuation direction X, the connecting member 50 passing from the first configuration to the second configuration changes the relative positions of the pedal member 20 and the push rod 42. In other words, the relative positions of the pedal member 20 and the push rod 42 differ between the first configuration and the second configuration for the same actuation force exerted on the pedal member 20.

[0044] When the driver releases the pedal member 20, the return force exerted by the push rod 42 in the RR direction brings the pedal member back to a rest position, as illustrated in Fig. 5. However, since the connecting member 50 is now in the second configuration, the rest position of the pedal member, shown in solid line, is not the same as in the first configuration, shown in dashed line. This change may be perceived by the driver, who will actuate the pedal member with more care in the future, hence increased safety. [0045] Note that in the second configuration, in the rest position of the pedal member 20, the flange 29 does not abut against the detector 60. To determine that the connecting member 50 is in the second configuration, the ECU 70 may rely on two pieces of information, e.g. the detector 60 not detecting the flange 29, and no pressure being provided to the braking system. The ECU, serving as an emitter, may then emit a signal for warning a driver that the connecting member 50 is in the second configuration. The signal may be for instance a light signal, a sound signal, a message on a vehicle display, or any suitable signal.

[0046] The ECU 70 may further control the vehicle in a safety mode when the connecting member is in the second configuration. For instance, the ECU 70 may prevent some or any uses of the vehicle until the pedal assembly 10 has been repaired or rearmed, i.e. until the connecting member 50 has been put back in the first configuration.

[0047] By comparing Figs. 4 and 5, showing the extreme positions of the pedal member 20 in the first and second configurations of the connecting member 50, it will be understood that a stroke of the pedal member 20 is offset between the first configuration and the second configuration, specifically in the FR direction. However, for enabling safe control of the brake system in any situation, a stroke amplitude of the pedal member 20 is the same for both the first and second configurations.

[0048] Fig. 6 shows diagrammatically how a pedal assembly as above- described can be incorporated in a vehicle 100, e.g. a car.

[0049] Although the present disclosure refers to specific exemplary embodiments, modifications may be provided to these examples without the departing from the general scope of the invention as defined by the claims. For instance, the hole 44 could be provided in the pedal member 20 while the opening 28 would be provided in the push rod 42. In particular, individual characteristics of the different illustrated/mentioned embodiments may be combined in additional embodiments. Therefore, the description and the drawings should be considered in an illustrative rather than in a restrictive sense.