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Title:
REAR VIEW MIRROR COMPRISING AN AIR DUCT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/102807
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The rear view mirror (1) comprises a casing (2) having a front side (4) and a rear side (6), a mirror (10) extending on at least part of the rear side (6) of the casing (2), an inlet (20) extending on the front side (4) and an outlet (22) extending on the rear side (6). The casing (2) comprises an air duct (18) extending from the front side (4) to the rear side (6). The air duct (18) is arranged such that the air entering the inlet (20) is injected on the mirror (10) through the outlet (22). The rear view mirror (1) further comprises an electric generator (28) comprising at least a rotor (30) which comprises at least one blade (32) extending in the air duct (18) such that the air entering the inlet (20) acts on the blade (32) and rotates the rotor (30) in order that the electric generator (28) produces electricity.

Inventors:
BHOR, Sandeep Madhukar (Plot No.333, Sector No. 27 A,Nigdi Pradhikaran, Pune Maharashtra 4, 41104, IN)
Application Number:
IN2012/000856
Publication Date:
July 03, 2014
Filing Date:
December 27, 2012
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
FAURECIA BLOC AVANT (2 Rue Hennape, Nanterre, Nanterre, F-92000, FR)
International Classes:
B60R1/06; B60S1/56; F03D9/00
Foreign References:
US5385612A1995-01-31
JPS5833314U1983-03-04
JPS6171542U1986-05-15
DE1035499B1958-07-31
JP2009143398A2009-07-02
JP2002089432A2002-03-27
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GOLERIA, Karuna et al. (DePenning & DePenning, Alaknanda Building16 Nepean Sea Road,Mumbai 6, Maharashtra, 40003, IN)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. - Rear view mirror (1 ) for an automotive vehicle, comprising a casing (2) having a front side (4) and a rear side (6), a mirror (10) extending on at least part of the rear side (6) of said casing (2), said casing (2) comprising an air duct (18) extending from the front side (4) to the rear side (6) of the casing (2) and comprising an inlet (20) extending on the front side (4) of the casing (2) and an outlet (22) extending on the rear side (6), said air duct (18) being arranged such that the air entering the inlet (20) is injected on the mirror (10) through the outlet (22), characterized in that the rear view mirror further comprises an electricity generator (28) comprising at least a rotor (30), said rotor (30) comprising at least one blade (32) extending in the air duct (18), such that the air entering the inlet (20) acts on the blade (32) and rotates the rotor (30) in order for the electricity generator (28) to produce electricity.

2. - Rear view mirror according to claim 1 , wherein the rotor (30) extends only partially in the air duct (18) such that the blade (32) does not obstruct said air duct (18) and leaves a passage for the air to reach the outlet (22).

3. - Rear view mirror according to claim 2, wherein the axis of rotation of the rotor (30) extends outside the air duct (18) and is substantially perpendicular to a direction extending from the front side (4) to the rear side (6).

4.- Rear view mirror according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the blade (32) of the rotor (30) is curved, forming a cavity (36) which is turned towards the inlet (20) of the air duct (18) when said blade extends in the air duct (18).

5. - Rear view mirror according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the section of the inlet (20) is greater than the section of the outlet (22) of the air duct (18) such that the pressure of the air coming out of the outlet (22) is increased relative to the pressure of air coming in through the inlet (20).

6. - Rear view mirror according to any one of claims 1 to 5, characterized in that the outlet (22) extends in a plan forming a non-zero angle with the plan in which the mirror (10) extends and is oriented such that the air coming out of the outlet (22) is oriented towards the mirror (10).

7. - Rear view mirror according to any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the- air duct (18) is curved and comprises an elbow portion (24) between the inlet (20) and the outlet (22), such that the outlet (22) is oriented differently than the inlet (20).

8. - Rear view mirror according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the casing (2) is made in a single molded part.

9. - Rear view mirror according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the electricity generator (28) is connected to at least one battery for storing the electricity produced by the generator (28) and/or to an electrical device powered by the generator (28).

10. - Automotive vehicle comprising at least one rear view mirror (1 ) according to any of claims 1 to 9, said rear view mirror (1 ) being exposed to a flow of air circulating around the vehicle such that air enters the air duct (18) via the inlet (20).

Description:
Rear view mirror comprising an air duct

The present invention relates to a rear view mirror for an automotive vehicle of type comprising a casing having a front side and a rear side, a mirror extending on at least part of the rear side of said casing, said casing comprising an air duct extending from the front side to the rear side of the casing and comprising an inlet extending on the front side of the casing and an outlet extending on the rear side, said air duct being arranged such that the air entering the inlet is injected on the mirror through the outlet.

The invention also relates to an automotive vehicle comprising such a rear view mirror.

Rear view mirrors comprising an air duct arranged to inject air tapped from the air circulating around the vehicle on the mirror are known, for example from US-4 898 458 and FR-2 912 977. The air injected on the mirror is used to evacuate water droplets, dust and debris, that can accumulate on the mirror and reduce the visibility for the driver inside the vehicle.

Using the air circulating around the vehicle is particularly advantageous since the mirror can be cleaned without consuming energy, as it is the case for example when using electrical wipers or heating devices.

However, the air circulating inside the air duct fulfills only the function of cleaning the mirror and is not used for other purposes.

One of the aims of the invention is ' to improve the rear view mirrors of the above- mentioned type by optimizing the use of the flow of air circulating in the air duct.

To that end, the invention relates to a rear view mirror of the above-mentioned type, wherein the rear view mirror further comprises an electricity generator comprising at least a rotor, said rotor comprising at least one blade extending in the air duct, such that the air entering the inlet acts on the blade and rotates the rotor in order for the electricity generator to produce electricity.

Therefore, the air circulating in the air duct is used not only to clean the mirror but also to produce electricity, for example for powering decorative lamps on the rear view mirror or for feeding other electrical device. With a single air duct and without consuming energy, it is possible to clean the mirror and to produce electricity.

According to other features of the rear view mirror according to the invention:

- the rotor extends only partially in the air duct such that the blade does not obstruct said air duct and leaves a passage for the air to reach the outlet ;

- the axis of rotation of the rotor extends outside the air duct and is substantially perpendicular to a direction extending from the front side to the rear side ; - the blade of the rotor is curved, forming a cavity which is turned towards the inlet of the air duct when said blade extends in the air duct ;

- the section of the inlet is greater than the section of the outlet of the air duct such that the pressure of the air coming out of the outlet is increased relative to the pressure of air coming in through the inlet ;

- the outlet extends in a plan forming a non-zero angle with the plan in which the mirror extends and is oriented such that the air coming out of the outlet is oriented towards the mirror;

- the air duct is curved and comprises an elbow portion between the inlet and the outlet, such that the outlet is oriented differently than the inlet ;

- the casing is made in a single molded part; and

- the electricity generator is connected to at least one battery for storing the electricity produced by the generator and/or to an electrical device powered by the generator.

Other aspects and advantages of the invention will appear upon reading the following description, given by way of example and made in reference to the appended drawings, wherein:

- Fig. 1 is a perspective view of the rear view mirror according to the invention, viewed from the front,

- Fig. 2 is a perspective view of the rear view mirror of Fig. 1 , viewed from the rear, and

- Fig. 3 is a cross section view of the rear view mirror of Figs. 1 and 2.

In the following description, the terms "rear" and "front", "upper" and "under" are defined according to the usual directions in an automotive vehicle. The terms "inside" and "outside", "interior" and "exterior" are defined relative to the interior of an automotive vehicle, i.e. "inside" is what is located inside the passenger compartment of the vehicle and "outside" is what is located outside said compartment.

In reference to Fig. 1 , there is described a rear view mirror 1 for an automotive vehicle intended to extend outside the automotive vehicle such as to be exposed to a flow of air circulating around the vehicle. Therefore, the rear view mirror according to the invention can be used for example as an outer front left or right side rear view mirror or as any other outer rear view mirror.

The rear view mirror 1 comprises a casing 2 having a front side 4, extending towards the front of the vehicle, and a rear side 6, extending towards the rear of the vehicle. The casing 2 is for example made of a single molded plastics part. Alternatively, the casing 2 can be made of several distinct parts assembled together to form the casing 2. Classically for a front outer rear view mirror, the front side 4 can be curved, with a concavity turned towards the rear, for improving the aerodynamical behavior of the rear view mirror 1. Also classically, the rear side 6 comprises a substantially planar vertical surface 8 against which a mirror 10 is applied as shown in Fig. 3. The mirror 10 is maintained on the rear side 6 by all means possible. For example, the mirror 10 can be glued to the planar surface 8. In a particular embodiment and in a known way, the mirror 10 is movable in rotation relative to the casing 2, along with the surface 8 or relative to the surface 8, in order to allow changing the orientation of the mirror 10 for the driver of the vehicle.

According to the embodiment shown in Fig. 3, the mirror 10 extends between an upper edge 12 and a lower edge 14 of the rear side 6 of the casing 2. The upper and lower edges 12 and 14 protrude towards the rear relative to the planar surface 8. The upper and lower edges 12 and 14 each comprise an abutment 16 arranged to retain the mirror 10 against the planar surface 8.

An air duct 18 is provided inside the casing 2. The air duct 18 is formed by a channel extending from the front side 4 to the rear side 6 and opened at both ends.

The opening at the front side 4 of the casing 2 forms an inlet 20 allowing air to enter the air duct 18 as shown by arrows A in Fig. 3. The inlet 20 extends in a plan substantially perpendicular to the flow of air circulating around the rear view mirror 1 , i.e. a vertical plan in the case of a front side rear view mirror, such that air flowing towards the front side 4 of the casing 2 enters easily in the air duct 18 via the inlet 20. The shape of the inlet 20 corresponds substantially to the shape of the front side 4 at the place where the inlet 20 extends such that the inlet 20 is aesthetically coherent with the rest of the front side 4. According to the embodiment shown in Figs 1 and 3, the inlet 20 extends in the upper part of the front side 4.

The air duct 18 is arranged to guide the air entering via the inlet 20 towards the rear side 6, where the opening forms an outlet 22 allowing air to leave the air duct 18 as shown by arrows B. The outlet 22 is oriented such that the air leaving the air duct 18 flows towards the mirror 10 and sweeps the surface thereof as shown by arrows B in Figs. 2 and 3. To this end, the outlet 22 extends in a plan forming a non-zero angle with the plan in which the mirror extends, i.e. a non-zero angle with a vertical plan. According the embodiment shown in Fig. 3, the outlet 22 extends in a plan substantially perpendicular to the plan of the mirror 10, meaning that the outlet 22 extends substantially in a horizontal plan, which is also perpendicular to plan in which the inlet 20 extends. According to the embodiment shown in Figs. 2 and 3, the outlet 22 extends in the upper edge 12 of the rear side 6 of the casing 2, such that the outlet 22 is placed directly above the mirror 10 and blows air directly onto the surface of said mirror 10.

The inlet 20 and the outlet 22 being oriented differently, the air duct is shaped accordingly as shown in Fig. 3. In order to have a transition between the orientation of the inlet 20 and the orientation of the outlet 22 while guiding air, the air duct 18 comprises an elbow portion 24, in which the orientation of the air duct 18 changes from a front-rear direction to a up-down direction. The air duct 18 is curved such that the change in the orientation is smooth and air entering the elbow portion 24 is oriented towards the outlet 22 without creating a perturbation in the flow of air.

The portion of the air duct 18 extending between the elbow portion 24 and the outlet

22 is not strictly vertical and is tilted relative to the vertical direction such that the air guided by this portion leaves the outlet 22 according to a direction oriented towards the mirror 10, as shown by arrows B of Fig. 3. Therefore, the portion extending between the elbow portion 24 and the outlet 22 extends downwardly in the upper edge 12 of the casing from the rear to the front and in oriented towards the mirror 10.

The section of the air duct 18 is reduced progressively from the front to the rear, such that the section of the inlet 20 is greater than the section of the outlet 22. This decreasing in the section of the air duct creates a Venturi effect in the air duct 18 and increases the pressure of air coming out of the outlet 22 relative to the pressure of air coming in through the inlet. According to a particular embodiment, the section of the air duct decreases in a linear manner from the front to the rear.

The air duct 18 described above allows the mirror to be efficiently swept by air when an air flow is circulation around the vehicle, especially when the vehicle is moving. Thereby, water droplets 26, dust or other debris accumulating on the mirror are chased away by the air coming out of the outlet 22, said air being oriented to blow the droplets downward and having a sufficient pressure to evacuate the droplets. Visibility in the mirror is therefore improved for the occupants of the vehicle compartment without consuming energy. .

Furthermore, the air duct 18 is also used to generate electricity using the flow of air entering the air duct 18 via the inlet 20.

To this end, at least one electricity generator 28 is arranged in the casing 2. The electricity generator 28 comprises a rotor 30, comprising a plurality of blades 32 extending radially from a central shaft 34 of the rotor 30. The shaft 34 is mounted in rotation inside the casing 2 around a horizontal axis substantially perpendicular to the front-rear direction. The axis extends outside the air duct 18, for example under the air duct 18 and the rotor 30 is arranged such that part of the blades 32 extends in the air duct 8, as shown in Fig. 3 and is subjected to part of the flow of air circulating inside the air duct 18, as shown by arrow C. More precisely, part of the blades 32 extend in part of the section of the air duct 18, such that a part of the flow of air comes into contact with the blades 32, and the other part of the flow of air continues to circulate towards the outlet 22 of the air duct 18, as shown by arrow D. In other words, the blades 32 occupy only part of the section of the air duct and leave the other part of the section free of obstacles such that the flow of air in this other part of the section can continue unmodified towards the outlet 22. According to the embodiment shown in Fig. 3, the blades 32 occupy only a part of the height of the air duct, for example between a third and half of said height. The blades 32 can occupy only part or the whole of the width of the air duct. In an other embodiment, the blades 32 can occupy the whole of the height of the air duct 18 but only part of its width. The part of the blades 32 which do not extend in the air duct 18 at a given time, extend, with the shaft 34, in a housing provided in the casing 2, for example under the air duct 18.

The generator 28 is for example placed between the inlet 20 and the elbow portion 24 of the air duct 18, where the section of the air duct is sufficient to. accommodate the blades 32 while leaving a passage for the air towards the outlet 22.

The blades 32 are each curved and each form a cavity 36. The cavity 36 of a blade 32 is turned toward the inlet 20 when said blade 32 extends in the air duct 18 in order to enhance the influence of the flow of air coming into contact with said blade 32.

In a classical manner, the rotation of the blades 32, due to the action of the flow of air circulating in the air duct 18, leads to the rotation of the shaft 34 which is used to produce electricity. The structure of such an electricity generator is known per se and will not be described in greater detail here.

The electricity generated by the generator 28 can be used Jn various ways. For example, the generator can be connected to a lamp or lamps, for example connected to light guides, arranged to provide an aesthetical lighting of the rear view mirrors. In a variant, or in addition, the generator can be used to power lamps located inside the vehicle compartments, via appropriate wiring. More generally, the generator can be used to power any electrical device of the vehicle. In a particular embodiment, the generator can be connected to at least one battery to store the produced electricity.

Thanks to the rear view mirror 1 according to the invention described above, it is possible to clean the mirror 10 of the rear view mirror 1 and to produce electricity using a single air duct 18. The pressure of air reaching the outlet 22 is sufficient to wipe the mirror 10, while the air feeding the rotor 30 is sufficient to lead to a satisfactory speed of rotation of the rotor30 to generate electricity. The shape of the air duct 18 described above is given by way of example and other shapes can be applied, for example the inlet 20 of the air duct can extend in the center or in the lower part of the front side 4 of the casing 2. More than one air duct can also be provided, for example each comprising an electricity generator. Alternatively, the air duct can comprise more than one inlet and/or more than one outlet. The electricity generator could be placed above the air duct or on a lateral side thereof, instead of under it as described previously.