|1.||A motor vehicle 20 comprising a remotely actuable early warning hazard object 26, proximity indication device 22 providing a warning signal to the vehicle's driver of the one or more hazard object 26, in the vehicle's vicinity where said proximity indication device 22 is actuated by a signaling item 24 associated with the hazard object 26.|
|2.||The vehicle according to Claim 1, wherein said indication device 22 is a display screen 44 for showing the positions of the one or more hazard objects 26; 48; 50; 52 in the vicinity of the motor vehicle 20 relative thereto.|
|3.||The vehicle according to Claim 1, wherein said indication device 22 is a flashing light.|
|4.||The vehicle according to Claim 1, wherein said indication device 22 is a buzzer.|
|5.||The vehicle according to Claim 1, wherein the range at which the indication device 22 is actuated varies according to the type of hazard object 26; 48; 50; 52.|
|6.||The vehicle according to Claim 1, wherein the range at which the indication device 22 is actuated varies according to prevailing weather conditions.|
|7.||A remotely actuable early warning hazard object proximity indication device 22 for installation in a motor vehicle 20 for providing an indication to the vehicle's driver of the presence of a hazard object 26; 48; 50; 52 in the vehicle's vicinity.|
|8.||A transmitter 24 for transmitting a hazard object proximity signal 30 for actuating an indication device 22 according to any one of Claims 1 to 7.|
FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to road safety devices in general and in particular to road safety devices for alerting a vehicle driver of a forthcoming danger.
It often occurs that a vehicle's driver is exposed to sudden hazards such as, for example, a pedestrian running unexpectedly to the road, and insufficiently visible object in the course of progress of the vehicle, e. g. an insufficiently illuminated vehicle (bicycle, wheelchair, pram or even a pedestrian). In other cases, a driver is subject to unexpected hazards which are concerned with the road conditions such as obstacles on the road, road accidents, etc.
In some cases there are provided illuminated indication and warning signals indicating the existence of some kind of problem. However, such warning signs are not readily available at some instances and are certainly not commonly carried by individuals.
It is thus an object of the present invention to provide warning means for alerting a driver of a vehicle of the presence of a hazard object in the course of progress of the vehicle.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a motor vehicle comprising a remotely actuable early warning hazard object proximity indication device for providing an indication to the vehicle's driver of the presence of a hazard object in his vicinity.
The term"hazard object"denotes any stationary or moving objects in the vicinity of course of the vehicle where the hazard object is hazardous to either the vehicle and its driver or to the object itself.
Typically, hazard objects include vulnerable persons who are prone to injury in traffic accidents including, inter alia, children, pensioners, cyclists, motor cyclists, etc. Amongst stationary objects are included, inter alia, various traffic obstacles, traffic conditions (accidents, road repairs, etc.).
By virtue of the present invention, a driver is forewarned of the presence of a so-called hazard object in his vicinity such that at worst he will be more prepared for an emergency, for example, in the case that a child runs out onto the road in front of him and at best he will reduce his speed. It is thus believed that the present invention can facilitate reducing both the number and severity of traffic accidents particularly but not only in town driving.
According to an aspect of the invention, there is provided an activation device for activating the proximity indication device fitted in the vehicle. The activation device may be mobile or fixed to the hazard object.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In order to understand the invention and to see how it may be carried out in practice, some embodiments will now be described, by way of non-limiting example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: Fig. 1 is a schematic view of a motor vehicle with a remotely actuable early warning hazard object proximity indication device and a pedestrian carrying a transmitter for actuating the vehicle's indication device, in accordance with the present invention; and Fig. 2 is a schematic view of a display screen of the indication device of Fig. 1.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS In Fig. 1, a motor vehicle 20 is fitted with an early warning hazard object proximity indication device 22 actuated by a transmitter 24 which is carried by a pedestrian 26 (e. g. as a belt attachment) for transmitting a hazard object proximity signal (schematically represented by arrow 30) for providing a warning to the vehicle's driver of his presence.
While using the term"hazard object"in the present application, it is used to denote any type of stationary or moving object, such as any type of vehicle (prams, scooters, bicycles, wheelchairs, carts of different types, cars, etc. as well as human beings and animals). A hazard object may also be a road crossing, a road signaling sign (stationary or movable), a stop light, a temporary prefix signal sign, etc. where extra caution is required.
The transmitter may be attached to the hazard object in a variety of different ways. By one example, it may be carried by a vulnerable person in its pocket, as a necklace, wrist attachment or any other clothing and fashionable articles.
Alternatively, the transmitter may be fixedly attached to such objects by any known means or may be internally formed therewith. In case of animals, such transmitters may also be received under skin, e. g. by injection, as knownper se.
The indication device 22 is under the control of a controller 34 having one or more sensors 38 for sensing prevailing weather conditions, for example, fog, rain, and the like, whereby the range at which the indication device 22 is actuated can be reduced in adverse driving conditions.
The indication device 22 can be provided with details of the type of the motor vehicle whereby the range more at which the indication device 22 is actuated can be reduced for heavier motor vehicles which typically require a greater stopping distance to stop. Furthermore, the indication device 22 can be associated with a so-called"black box"40 for recording the vehicle's speed and other parameters such that in the event of a traffic accident with a hazard object the question of whether a driver took suitable precautionary measures i. e. reducing speed to at most the legally established maximum speed limit can be determined.
By one aspect of the present invention, the indication device may be also a radio installed in the vehicle wherein an audible signal is transmitted through the radio system, overcoming the sound being played at the same time in that radio.
The indication device 22 can be constituted by a display screen, a flashing light, a buzzer or a combination thereof. In the case of the deployment of a display screen 44 (see Fig. 2) in a motor vehicle, both the motor vehicle 20 and each of the transmitters require means for determining the relative location of the hazard object with respect to the location of the vehicle at a given time. Such means may be a GPS with suitable receivers and transmitters.
In accordance with an embodiment of the invention, the signal transmitted by the transmitter may also carry identification data regarding the nature of the hazard object, i. e. whether the hazard object is a vulnerable person, a vehicle, a certain situation of the road requiring special attention, etc.
The hazard signal may have different forms, depending on different parameters, e. g. type of hazard object, its distance, whether it is stationary or in motion, etc. Such different forms may be for example a different type of display in case of a display screen 44 wherein a vulnerable person may be marked as indicated by indication 48 and where a stationary object may be identified as indicated at 50 whereby a different pattern such as dashed pattern 52 indicates a more remote stationary hazard.
In addition, the early warning hazard object proximity indication device can be a built-in feature in new motor vehicles or retrofitted in existing motor vehicles.
Even more so, the transmitter may be portable, fixed, attached to an item, internally fitted in an object, etc.