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Title:
A SAFETY SYSTEM TO PREVENT ROAD USERS FROM BEING RUN OVER BY A VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/217167
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A safety system serves to prevent a person from being run over by a vehicle after being hit by it. The system comprises one or more shields (11) movably installed on a front bumper (12) of a motor vehicle (10). Each shield has a passive or upwardly retracted position and an active position of downward and forward deployment wherein the shield (11) lies in a vertical plane transversal to the direction of travel (x) of the vehicle. In the active position, the shield closes a gap between a lower edge (14) of the bumper and the road surface (15). One or more actuators (17) are connected to the shields and the vehicle (10) so as to move the shields (11) from the passive position to the active position in response to an actuation signal coming from a processing and control unit on board the vehicle.

Inventors:
DANNA FABIO (IT)
CHIDICHIMO MASSIMILIANO (IT)
MATULLO ANTONIO (IT)
BODRONE ROBERTO (IT)
Application Number:
IB2020/053760
Publication Date:
October 29, 2020
Filing Date:
April 21, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ITALDESIGN GIUGIARO SPA (IT)
International Classes:
B60R19/56
Foreign References:
GB2539975A2017-01-04
DE10240269A12004-03-18
US20040046403A12004-03-11
DE202014105313U12014-11-26
ES2540923A12015-07-14
DE102005053960A12006-05-24
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FIORAVANTI, Corrado et al. (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A safety system to prevent a person from being run over by a vehicle after being hit by it, wherein said system comprises:

one or more shields (11) movably mounted to a front bumper (12) of a motor vehicle (10), wherein each shield has a passive or upwardly retracted position and an active, downwardly and forwardly extended position in which the or each shield (11) is oriented in a substantially vertical and transverse plane with respect to the direction of travel (x) of the vehicle, or in a substantially vertical plane inclined rearward to a left side or right side of the vehicle so as to close a gap between a lower edge (14) of the bumper (12) and the road surface (15); one or more actuators (17) connected to said one or more shields and to the vehicle (10) to move said shields (11) from the passive position to the active position in response to an actuation signal coming from a processing and control unit on board the vehicle;

said one or more shields (11) being configured and installed so as to deploy into positions located immediately in front of the front wheels (18) of the vehicle,

said one or more shields (11) being sized so that, in the active or lowered position, they have a lower edge (20) adjacent to the road surface (15),

whereby in the active position, said one or more shields (11) form a barrier that prevents the body of a person involved in an accident from being trapped under the bumper (12) or being run over by the front wheels (18) of the vehicle (10).

2. A safety system according to claim 1, wherein the safety system is operationally associated with a system for detecting road users, the detection system comprising the following detection devices:

one or more proximity and/or deceleration sensors, one or more video cameras, and a radar system;

wherein said detection devices are operationally connected to the processing and control unit installed on board the vehicle (10), said unit being equipped with software that processes information coming from said detection devices, whereby the processing and control unit is capable of recognizing a situation of a possible collision with a road user located in an area in front of the vehicle, and issuing a control signal to activate the actuators (17).

3. A safety system according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the safety system is operationally associated with an impact-triggered activation system comprising one or more impact sensors installed on a front surface (19) of the vehicle (10), said impact sensors being operationally connected to the processing and control unit on board the vehicle (10), said unit being equipped with software that processes information from said impact sensors, whereby the processing and control unit is capable of recognizing a situation of a possible collision with a road user located in an area in front of the vehicle, and of issuing a control signal to activate the actuators (17).

4. A safety system according to any one of the foregoing claims, wherein said one or more shields (11) are hinged to the vehicle (10) about one or more respective axes of rotation (16) which are substantially horizontal and oriented in substantially transverse directions with respect to the direction of travel (x) of the vehicle, or in rearward inclined directions toward a left outer side or a right outer side of the vehicle.

5. A safety system according to any one of the foregoing claims, wherein said one or more shields (11) comprise a shield which extends from a left side to a right side of the front portion of the vehicle, said shield having two transversely opposing end portions, with a left end portion (11a) a right end portion (l ib) which are bent rearward and to the left side and the right side, respectively.

6. A safety system according to any one of the foregoing claims, wherein said one or more shields (11) comprise

a center shield (11) extending from a left side to a right side of the front portion of the vehicle, and

two lateral left ( 11’ ) and right (11”) movable shields which are installed on the left and right sides of the center movable shield (11) and are inclined rearward and toward the left side and right side of the vehicle, respectively.

7. A safety system according to any one of the foregoing claims, wherein said one or more shields (11) comprise a center shield (11) extending from a left side to a right side of the front portion of the vehicle and having the shape of a“V” when viewed from above, so as to provide two inclined portions forming an obtuse angle, wherein the inclined portions are inclined rearward and toward the left side and right side of the vehicle, respectively.

8. A safety system according to any one of the foregoing claims, wherein said one or more shields (11) comprise padding on one side of the shield facing forward when the shield is in the active position. 9. A safety system according to any one of the foregoing claims, wherein the actuators

(17) are selected from the group consisting of: spring-loaded mechanical actuators, pneumatic pistons, electric actuators, and pyrotechnic actuators.

10. A motor vehicle (10) comprising a safety system according to one or more of the foregoing claims.

Description:
A safety system to prevent road users from being run over by a vehicle

Technical field

The present invention refers to a safety system to prevent a person from being run over by a vehicle after being hit by the vehicle.

Prior art

There is a need in the automotive sector to increase active safety for road users, particularly pedestrians and cyclists. The current safety standards concerning the safety of pedestrians consist of “General Safety Regulation (EC) No. 661/2009” and “Pedestrian Safety Regulation (EC) No. 78/2009.”

The“New Commission proposal on General Vehicle Safety” incorporated into the“Mobility Package” dated May 17, 2018, highlights the need for a revision of the standards, calling for an expansion of new active and passive safety systems for impacts with pedestrians and so- called“vulnerable road users” (cyclists, etc.), with the aim of drastically reducing serious or fatal accidents. In particular, the Commission is proposing that new vehicle models be equipped with advanced safety features, such as emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance systems, and, for cyclists, a system for detecting large cars or vehicles.

Summary of the invention

The purpose of this invention is to reduce the number and severity of accidents between moving vehicles and“road users,” particularly pedestrians and cyclists.

This and other objectives are achieved in full according to the present invention thanks to a safety system with a movable front shield having the features defined in the enclosed independent claim 1. Preferred embodiments of this invention form the subject matter of the dependent claims. The safety system is designed with the function of active shielding against impact and running over with the objective of preventing a low-speed impact that has knocked a pedestrian or cyclist down to the ground from becoming a more serious accident with the wheels of the impacting vehicle running over the person's body.

In summary, the invention is based on the idea of making at least one shield (possibly broken down into a series of separate shields) placed on the front (and side) beneath the bumper of a vehicle. In the event that the impacting vehicle finds itself in a situation allowing for a possible contact with a road user, the shield is deployed automatically to instantaneously close the gap between a lower edge of the bumper and the road surface. In this way the shield, by opening downward and forward, keeps the road user's body involved in the continuation of the accident, having fallen to the ground, from becoming stuck under the bumper or being run over by the vehicle.

A few preferred but non-limiting embodiments of a safety system according to the invention will now be described in reference to the enclosed drawings, wherein:

Figure 1 is a perspective view illustrating a vehicle equipped with a safety system in the passive position, with a road user in a dangerous situation;

Figure 2 is a side view of the front portion of the vehicle in Figure 1, with a safety shield in the active position;

Figure 3 is a perspective view illustrating a vehicle with the safety system in the passive position, immediately before impacting a pedestrian: deployment occurs during this phase; Figure 4 is a perspective view illustrating the vehicle of Figure 3 with the safety system in the active position, immediately after impacting a pedestrian: the shield is deployed; and Figures 5, 6, and 7 are plan-view schematic drawings of alternative configurations of single part or multi-part movable safety shields.

Detailed description In reference to figures 1-4, a vehicle 10, which in this example is a heavy vehicle such as a truck or tractor-trailer, is provided with a safety system comprising one or more movable shields 11 installed in the area of a front bumper 12 of the vehicle.

Throughout the description and in the claims, terms and expressions indicating positions and orientations should be construed as referring to the installed condition on a motor vehicle. Consequently, the expressions“longitudinal” or“transversal” and“front” or“rear” shall be understood in reference to the normal direction of forward travel x of vehicle 10. The expression“outer side” indicates a side facing the left or right side of the vehicle.

In this context,“vehicle” is understood to indicate not only heavy vehicles as exemplified in the explanatory illustrations, but possibly any means of transport traveling on the road, equipped with bumpers, and likely to collide with so-called“ vulnerable road users,” i.e. primarily pedestrians and cyclists.

In the eventuality of a collision or a potential imminent collision between the moving vehicle and a road user, such as a pedestrian or cyclist 13 as in the present example, a movable shield or shields 11 are automatically actuated from a passive or retracted position (figure 1) to an active position extending downward and forward (figure 2), in which the movable shield closes the gap between a lower front edge 14 of the bumper and road surface 15. In the active position, shield 11 is oriented along a substantially vertical plane transversal to the direction of travel x of the vehicle, or along a substantially vertical plane inclined at the rear toward the outside, that is, toward the left side or the right side of the vehicle.

As illustrated in figures 2 and 4, the one or more shields 11 are sized in such a way that, in the active or lowered position, lower edge 20 thereof is adjacent to road surface 15.

According to one aspect of this invention, one or more shields 11 are installed so as to be movable on the lower portion of the vehicle bumper. Preferably, shield or shields 11 are hinged to one or more substantially horizontal corresponding axes of rotation 16. When viewed from above (figures 5, 6, and 7), the or each axis of rotation of a corresponding shield is oriented in a substantially transversal direction in relation to the vehicle's direction of travel x, or in direction angled rearward toward the outside, that is, toward the left or right side of the vehicle.

In reference to the example illustrated in figures 2, 3, and 4, the movable shields are in a passive position (figure 3), i.e. a position of normal usage on the vehicle. In this condition, the shield is retracted and lifted into an aerodynamically desirable position. In the illustrated example, the shield is lifted into a substantially horizontal position aligned with a lower edge of the bumper. In other embodiments, the shield can be retracted into a non-horizontal position (for example, slightly inclined upward or downward toward the rear, but preferably it is protected in the front by the bumper so as not to have a negative impact on the vehicle's aerodynamic properties.

Each shield has at least one actuator 17, in this example a linear actuator which, by extending, is capable of moving the shield from the passive retracted position (figure 3) to the active lowered position (figures 2 and 4). In the lowered position, shield 11 or each shield 11 closes the gap between lower edge 14 of bumper 12 and road surface 15. In the lowered position, the shield forms a barrier that prevents the body of a person involved in the accident from becoming trapped beneath the bumper or being run over by the vehicle.

As illustrated in figure 2, shield 11, in its active position, can be angled slightly forward in the downward direction like a snow plow, so that the body of the person involved in the accident is pushed away by the trajectory of the vehicle and is not run over by the vehicle's wheels. For the same purpose, according to yet another embodiment (not shown), shield 11 can have a slightly or partially concave shape with the concavity facing forward. According to yet another variant (not shown), only the lower portion of the shield can be angled downward and toward the front and/or be concave with the concavity facing forward.

In the example of figure 5, a single movable shield 11 is provided, which is hinged to the vehicle about a single horizontal transversal axis of rotation 16. Shield 11 extends from a left side to a right side of the front portion of the vehicle. A possible angling of the shield toward the rear and toward an outer side of the vehicle may be useful to divert the body of the person impacted by the path of the vehicle still in motion. According to the embodiment shown in figure 5, two transversally opposed end portions of the shield, that is, a left end portion 11a and a right end portion l ib, respectively, can be bent rearward and toward the left and right sides, respectively, to promote a lateral diversion effect on the body of the impacted person.

In the exemplary embodiment of figure 6, a plurality of movable shields is provided, in this example a center movable shield 11 and a left side movable shield 1 G and a right side movable shield 11”. Center movable shield 11 is hinged in the front to the vehicle about a transversal horizontal axis of rotation 16. Second left movable shield 1 G and third right movable shield 11” are installed on the left side and right side of the center movable shield and, as seen in the plan view, are angled rearward and toward the left and right sides, respectively, to promote the effect of diverting the body of the impacted person to the side. Lateral movable shields 11’ and 11” may be shorter than center shield 11.

The shield or shields are located at least partly in positions immediately in front of front wheels 18 of the vehicle.

According to yet another alternative embodiment, not shown and less preferred, only two lateral shields may be provided, comparable to shields 11’ and 11” of figure 6, in front of front wheels 18 of the vehicle, but without a center shield 11.

In the example of figure 7, center movable shield 11 can be made in the shape of a“V” when viewed from above, in such a way as to have two angled portions forming an obtuse angle. The angled portions are angled rearward and to the left side and right side of the vehicle, respectively. This configuration encourages diversion of the body of the impacted person from the center portion or middle of the vehicle to the left or right sides.

The shields must be rigid enough to withstand an impact with a human body without breaking, and potentially to push the body involved in the impact away from the vehicle's path in the least traumatic way possible. To that end, according to one embodiment (not shown), to deaden the impact it is possible to apply or incorporate a protective covering, such as padding, on the forward-facing side of the shield in the event of activation.

Optionally, an airbag cushion of an appropriate size synchronized with deployment of the shield may be incorporated into the body of the shield or shields to make the impact between the body and the shield less traumatic.

The actuators that move the shields into the forward and downward position may comprise at least one of the following types of actuators:

mechanical sprint actuators with an end-of-travel stop and a reset lever;

pneumatic pistons, which may be connected to the vehicle's braking system in the case of a truck or tractor-trailer equipped with a pneumatic braking system;

electric actuators;

pyrotechnic actuators.

The actuators may be linear or rotary.

Opening of the shields must be activated when possible collision conditions arise.

Activation of the actuators that move the shields can be controlled by the sensors of an associated pedestrian/road user detection system that appropriately interprets the presence of such subjects and the corresponding general danger conditions. The detection system can consist, for example, of one of the Advanced Driver- Assistance Systems, or ADAS. These systems, which are already known per se in the prior art, have the task of detecting the presence of vulnerable road users and interpreting the signals and translating them into the identification of a possible collision risk so as to combine various actions (alarm signals for the driver, automatic emergency braking, deployment of the safety shields) with the aim of avoiding the collision (alarm and automatic braking) or reducing the effects on the persons involved (run-over prevention shields).

The pedestrian collision risk detection system (known per se) can comprise one or more sensors (for example, proximity and deceleration sensors), one or more video cameras, and a radar system. These devices are connected to an electronic processing and control unit provided with software that combines the sensor, video camera, and radar information. If, while monitoring the area in front of the vehicle, the camera detects the presence of a pedestrian/cyclist and the information is confirmed by the radar, the software processes the data and checks them against the data from the driving dynamics to assess the likelihood of a collision. When the software recognizes a probable collision situation, the processing and control unit generates one or more signals to instantaneously activate the one or more actuators required to move the corresponding shields from the passive position to the active position.

Optionally, the electronic unit, together with the actuator activation signal, can also activate Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) with the aim of slowing down the vehicle to avoid the impact or reduce the severity thereof. If necessary, the braking system can apply maximum braking until the vehicle is completely stopped.

According to a different embodiment, as an alternative or in addition to activation with an associated presence detection system using sensors, the movable shield safety system can be associated with an impact-triggered activation system. One or more impact sensors installed on front surface 19 of the vehicle, such as MEMS accelerometers, each one comprising a small integrated circuit with integrated micro-mechanical components. The microscopic mechanical component moves in response to a rapid deceleration and this movement causes a change in capacitance which is detected by the electronic processing unit that sends a signal to activate the shield actuators. The impact sensors are operationally connected to the processing and control unit on board the vehicle, with said unit being provided with software that processes the information coming from said impact sensors in such a way that the processing and control unit is capable of recognizing a situation of collision with a road user located in an area in front of the vehicle, and issuing a control signal to activate actuators 17.

Various aspects and embodiments of the safety system have been described; it is understood that each embodiment can be combined with any other embodiment. In addition, without prejudice to the principle of the invention, the embodiments and construction details may be varied widely with respect to what has been described and illustrated solely as a non-limiting example, without exceeding the scope of the invention as defined in the enclosed claims.