Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
VEHICLE DRIVER WARNING SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/206918
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A vehicle driver warning system comprises a driver unit (20) and a road user unit (18). The system is installed on a truck (15). The driver unit (20) includes a warning output device, in the form of an audible alarm, for generating an audible warning signal (21) discernible by the vehicle driver (16), to warn the driver of the presence of the cyclist (17). The road user unit (18) includes an LED 3, and an input device, comprising a non-latching mechanical pull switch, for transmitting an input signal as a result of an input from the cyclist (17). The input from the cyclist (17) causes the audible alarm to generate the audible warning signal (21) to warn the vehicle driver, which in turn causes the LED 3 to generate the confirmation signal for the cyclist (17).Thereby, the cyclist (17) can tell that the system is working.

Inventors:
O'CONNOR, Edward John (2nd Floor, 141 Iverson RoadKilburn, London NW6 2RA, NW6 2RA, GB)
Application Number:
EP2019/060388
Publication Date:
October 31, 2019
Filing Date:
April 23, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
O'CONNOR, Edward John (2nd Floor, 141 Iverson RoadKilburn, London NW6 2RA, NW6 2RA, GB)
International Classes:
G08G1/16; B60Q9/00; B60Q1/50
Foreign References:
BE1019221A52012-04-03
EP2165883A12010-03-24
US20170132922A12017-05-11
EP0619570A11994-10-12
US20070067081A12007-03-22
US20050128060A12005-06-16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
O'CONNOR, Dominic (15 Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1BW, EC4A 1BW, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS:

1. A vehicle including a vehicle driver warning system, the system comprising: a driver unit including a warning output device for generating an audible and/or visible warning signal for the vehicle driver;

an input device for transmitting an input signal as a result of an input from a road user, the input device being capable of communicating with the driver unit; and a road user unit including a confirmation output device for generating an audible and/or visible confirmation signal for the road user, the confirmation output device being capable of communicating with the driver unit,

wherein the system is configured to transmit the input signal from the input device to the warning output device of the driver unit to cause the warning output device to generate the warning signal for the vehicle driver, and the system is configured to transmit the input signal from the warning output device of the driver unit to the confirmation output device of the road user unit to cause the confirmation output device to generate the confirmation signal for the road user.

2. A vehicle according to claim 1 , wherein the input device is for transmitting an input signal as a result of a physical input from the road user.

3. A vehicle according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the system only has an input device or input devices that require a physical input from the road user in order to transmit the input signal.

4. A vehicle according to any preceding claim, wherein the input device comprises a mechanical switch for transmitting an input signal as a result of an input from the road user.

5. A vehicle according to claim 4, wherein the switch is a non-latching switch.

6. A vehicle according to any preceding claim, wherein the input device comprises a resilient protrusion, and the input device is for transmitting an input signal as a result of deformation of the protrusion by the road user.

7. A vehicle according to claim 6, wherein the protrusion is made of an elastomeric material.

8. A vehicle according to any preceding claim, wherein the confirmation output device comprises an LED.

9. A vehicle according to any preceding claim, wherein the driver unit is capable of communicating with the road user unit wirelessly.

10. A vehicle according to any preceding claim, wherein the road user unit includes the input device.

1 1. A vehicle according to any preceding claim, wherein the road user unit includes means for fixing the road user unit to the vehicle.

12. A vehicle according to any preceding claim, wherein the driver unit includes means for fixing the driver unit to the vehicle.

13. A vehicle according to any preceding claim, wherein the road user unit and/or the input device is fixed to the outside of the vehicle.

14. A vehicle according to any preceding claim, wherein the driver unit is provided in and/or fixed to the inside of the vehicle.

15. A vehicle including a vehicle driver warning system, the system comprising: a driver unit including a warning output device for generating an audible and/or visible warning signal for the vehicle driver;

an input device for transmitting an input signal as a result of an input from a road user, the input device being capable of communicating with the driver unit; and a road user unit including a confirmation output device for generating an audible and/or visible confirmation signal for the road user, the confirmation output device being capable of communicating with the input device,

wherein the system is configured to transmit the input signal from the input device to the warning output device of the driver unit to cause the warning output device to generate the warning signal for the vehicle driver, and the system is configured to transmit the input signal from the input device to the confirmation output device of the road user unit to cause the confirmation output device to generate the confirmation signal for the road user,

wherein the input device requires a physical input from the road user in order to transmit the input signal.

16. A vehicle according to claim 15, wherein the confirmation output device is capable of communicating with the input device via the driver unit, and the system is configured to generate the confirmation signal for the road user as a result of the warning signal being generated by the warning output device.

17. A vehicle according to claim 15, wherein the confirmation output device is capable of communicating with the input device via the driver unit, and the system is configured to transmit the input signal from the input device to the confirmation output device of the road user unit via the driver unit to cause the confirmation output device to generate the confirmation signal for the road user.

18. A vehicle according to claim 15, wherein the confirmation output device is capable of communicating with the input device via the driver unit, and the system is configured to transmit the input signal from the input device to the confirmation output device of the road user unit via the warning output device of the driver unit to cause the confirmation output device to generate the confirmation signal for the road user.

19. A vehicle according to any one of claims 15 to 18, wherein the system only has an input device or input devices that require a physical input from the road user in order to transmit the input signal.

20. A vehicle according to any one of claims 15 to 19, wherein the road user unit and/or the input device is fixed to the outside of the vehicle.

21. A vehicle according to claim 20, wherein the vehicle is a truck having a trailer, and the road user unit and/or the input device is fixed to the outside of the trailer.

22. A vehicle according to any one of claims 15 to 21 , wherein the driver unit is provided in and/or fixed to the inside of the vehicle.

23. A vehicle according to claim 22, wherein the vehicle is a truck having a cab, and the driver unit is provided in and/or fixed to the inside of the cab.

24. A vehicle according to any one of claims 15 to 23, wherein the input device comprises a mechanical switch for transmitting an input signal as a result of an input from the road user.

25. A vehicle according to claim 24, wherein the switch is a non-latching switch.

26. A vehicle according to any one of claims 15 to 25, wherein the input device comprises a resilient protrusion, and the input device is for transmitting an input signal as a result of deformation of the protrusion by the road user.

27. A vehicle according to claim 26, wherein the protrusion is made of an elastomeric material.

28. A vehicle according to any one of claims 15 to 27, wherein the confirmation output device comprises an LED.

29. A vehicle according to any one of claims 15 to 28, wherein the driver unit is capable of communicating with the road user unit wirelessly.

30. A vehicle according to any one of claims 15 to 29, wherein the road user unit includes the input device.

Description:
Vehicle driver warning system

The present invention relates to a vehicle driver warning system, and is particularly applicable to large road vehicles such as trucks or buses.

Drivers of vehicles, in particular large road vehicles such as trucks or buses, typically have blind spots in which it is difficult to see other road users such as cyclists or pedestrians. In addition, drivers may not always notice other road users even if their view is not obstructed.

In this specification, the term “vehicles” is not limited to machines whose primary purpose is transportation, and includes any machines capable of being driven. In addition,“vehicles” is not limited to road vehicles, and includes off-road vehicles such as dump trucks and excavators with, for example, continuous tracks.

Various systems are known to alert truck drivers to the presence of another road user such as a cyclist.

One known system operates on radio frequency with the bicycle having a transmitter and the truck having a receiver. There are multiple variants on this system but they have in common the complexity that at least two component units are required, namely at least one for the truck and one for the cyclist or bicycle. This involves expense for both the truck owner and the cyclist. In addition, the cyclist or bicycle units must be compatible with the truck unit. To be universally usable, this would require in turn a single agreed protocol, but this does not exist. This means that no cyclist can be sure that a system unit he or she adopts will work or be compatible with a given truck system.

Another form of known system is one that employs cameras around the vehicle. The system typically involves significant expense. As a consequence, its adoption by truck owners has been limited.

Another problem is that the cyclist may not know if a particular vehicle does or does not have a driver warning system. Besides, if the presence of such a system is advertised, there may be no way for a cyclist to know that system is actually working at the time and working as it should. Such systems may malfunction either on the vehicle side or the cyclist side without the driver or cyclist being aware of the fact. Moreover, a failure of a system is more likely both with multiple unit systems and where the electronic and optical complexity is built into the system - such as those that‘recognise’ cyclists.

Further, where a cyclist is aware that a vehicle has such a system, in the event of a failure of such a system, the risk exists of a more dangerous scenario than the absence of a system since a cyclist may believe the driver is aware of the cyclist’s presence when the driver is not aware and/or the driver may assume there is no cyclist present when there is.

The International patent application published as WO 2013/144638 A1 discloses a system to alert a truck driver to the presence of another road user. The system in one form is of the type referred to above operating on a radio frequency and requiring at least two components, namely the bicycle to have a transmitter and the truck to have a receiver. In another form, the system also has cameras around the truck.

The present invention aims to mitigate at least one of these problems.

A first aspect of the present invention provides a vehicle driver warning system comprising: a driver unit including a warning output device for generating an audible and/or visible warning signal for or discernible by the vehicle driver; an input device for transmitting or generating an input signal as a result of an input from a road user, the input device being capable of communicating with the driver unit; and a road user unit including a confirmation output device for generating an audible and/or visible confirmation signal for or discernible by the road user, the confirmation output device being capable of communicating with the driver unit, wherein the system is configured to generate the warning signal for the vehicle driver as a result of the input signal being transmitted by the input device, and to generate the confirmation signal for the road user as a result of the warning signal being generated by the warning output device.

In the vehicle driver warning system of the first aspect of the present invention, the warning output device warns the vehicle driver of the presence of the other road user, for example a cyclist or pedestrian. In addition, the system outputs the confirmation signal from the road user unit as a result of the warning signal being generated, which confirmation signal the road user can see or hear. That is, the road user receives“full- loop” feedback about whether the system is working, so the road user can know and be reassured that both the road user unit and the driver unit are working. In addition, the driver can also test that both units are working before starting a journey. If no warning signal is generated by the driver unit then no confirmation signal is generated by the road user unit.

The input signal is transmitted or not by the input device according to whether there is an input from the road user. So, if there is an input, the input signal is transmitted, but if there is not an input, the signal is not transmitted.

Preferably, the input device is for transmitting an input signal as a result of a physical input from a road user, for example as a result of the input device being touched by the road user. The requirement for a physical input may lessen the risk of false detection in comparison to, say, a proximity sensor not requiring physical input, for example false positives where a road user is detected but is not present, or false negatives where a road user is not detected but is present.

Preferably, the input device requires a physical input from the road user in order to transmit the input signal. Preferably, the system only has an input device or input devices that require a physical input from the road user in order to transmit the input signal. The requirement for a physical input may lessen the risk of false detection in comparison to, say, a proximity sensor not requiring physical input, for example false positives where a road user is detected but is not present, or false negatives where a road user is not detected but is present.

Another advantage, which is in comparison to the system of WO 2013/144638 A1 , is that the road user does not require special equipment and can simply activate the input device by physical contact. This gives a simple and robust way of transmitting an input signal.

The input device may comprise a switch, preferably a mechanical switch (i.e. with at least one moving part), for transmitting an input signal as a result of an input from a road user. The switch may have two states, an“on” state and an“off’ state which can make or break a circuit. The switch transmits an input signal by allowing current to pass in the“on” state, and does not transmit an input signal by preventing current from passing in the“off” state. Preferably, the mechanical switch has a part which moves as a result of an input force from the road user, thereby changing from an“off’ state to an “on” state. Conveniently, the part may return to its original position on release of the input force, for example by the action of a spring.

Preferably, the switch is a non-latching switch. Examples are push switches and pull switches, which can be normally open or normally closed types. Typically push or pull switches have a spring, such as a coil spring, to return the switch to its normal position.

Alternatively, the switch may be a latching switch, for example a rocker switch, a toggle switch or a rotary switch.

Preferably, the switch in use electrically connects a battery and a transceiver. Preferably, the road user unit includes the battery and the transceiver.

The input device may comprise a proximity sensor, for example an infrared sensor, for instance an infrared break beam sensor or a passive infrared sensor or other proximity sensor such as an ultrasonic sensor. The system may be configured so that an input from the road user to the input device causes the input signal to be transmitted to the driver unit. The system may require further components in order for the sensor to function in the system in this way, as would be known to one skilled in the art.

Preferably, the driver user unit includes a battery and/or a transceiver.

The input device may comprise a resilient protrusion, and the input device may be for transmitting an input signal as a result of deformation of the protrusion by the road user. This allows a road user, and particularly a cyclist, to operate the input device easily by slapping or hitting the protrusion, which can be done while moving past the vehicle at speed. The deformation may be by bending or stretching the protrusion.

Preferably, the protrusion is provided adjacent to, for example on top of, the switch. Preferably, the deformation of the protrusion operates the switch. The switch may be operated by a belt which passes through the protrusion and which is fixed at the free end of the protrusion. The belt may be less stretchy than the protrusion. The belt may pass through, or along the axis of, the coil spring. The belt may be attached to a cap which fixes the belt at the free end of the protrusion. The cap may sit on top of the protrusion.

The protrusion may have a tapering shape, tapering towards its free end, for example a generally truncated pyramidal shape.

Conveniently, the protrusion is made of an elastomeric material such as rubber.

The input device may alternatively comprise a rigid protrusion where movement of the protrusion by the road user causes the input device to transmit the input signal. The rigid protrusion may be a flap, and may be mounted on an axle. The protrusion may return to its original position upon release of force by the road user, for example by the action of a spring. In that case, the input device would act as a non-latching switch.

Alternatively, the protrusion may stay in position upon release of force by the road user. In that case, the input device would act as a latching switch. Force from the road user would be required to return the protrusion to its original position.

The confirmation output device of the road user unit may comprise an LED. This provides a simple and convenient confirmation signal to the road user that the system is working.

Preferably, the driver unit is capable of communicating with the road user unit wirelessly.

Preferably, the road user unit includes the input device. Alternatively, they may be separate. The driver unit is separate from the input device and the road user unit.

The road user unit may include means for fixing the road user unit to the vehicle, for example to the outside of vehicle, for example to the body or trailer of a truck, for example to the side surface of the vehicle. The means may comprise adhesive, or bolts for bolt holes in the road user unit, and the like. The driver unit may include means for fixing the driver unit to the vehicle, for example to the inside of the vehicle, for example in cab of a truck.

One or more additional road user units and/or input devices may be provided.

A vehicle may be provided which includes the vehicle driver warning system.

The vehicle may be a truck or bus.

Preferably, the road user unit and/or the input device is fixed to the outside of the vehicle, for example to the side surface of the vehicle. Where one or more additional road user units and/or input devices are provided, preferably they are fixed to the outside of the vehicle, for example to the side surface of the vehicle.

The vehicle may be a truck having a trailer, and the road user unit and/or the input device may be fixed to the outside of the trailer, for example at the rear of the trailer. An additional road user unit and/or input device may be fixed to the outside of the cab of the truck. In this way, the system may be operated when the road user is alongside the cab as well as when the road user is at the rear of the trailer. The road user may be alongside the cab when the truck is stopped at traffic lights. Here the road user may be in the truck driver’s blind spot and most vulnerable to being hit by the truck. The road user can then register his or her presence to the truck driver using the road user unit on the cab.

Road user units and/or input devices may be fixed to each side of the vehicle or truck, for example two fixed to the cab and/or two fixed to the trailer, for instance at the rear of the trailer. In this way, the road user may operate the system from either side of the vehicle.

Preferably, the driver unit is provided in and/or fixed to the inside of the vehicle, for example in the cab of a truck.

The system may be capable of communicating with the vehicle’s control system to stop the operation of the vehicle. For instance, an input from a road user to the input device may cause the vehicle’s control system to stop operation of the vehicle. In this way, the input device operates as a kill switch. The vehicle’s operation may be stopped by applying the brakes and/or stopping the engine and/or disengaging the engine from the wheels. Where the vehicle is an excavator or dump truck, the vehicle’s excavating or dumping operations may be stopped. The driver of the vehicle may be able to override the“stop operation”. For example, the driver unit may be provided with means for overriding the stop operation, such as an input device in any of the forms described above.

A second aspect of the invention provides a vehicle including a vehicle driver warning system, the system comprising: a driver unit including a warning output device for generating an audible and/or visible warning signal for or discernible by the vehicle driver; an input device for transmitting an input signal as a result of an input from a road user, the input device being capable of communicating with the driver unit; and a road user unit including a confirmation output device for generating an audible and/or visible confirmation signal for or discernible by the road user, the confirmation output device being capable of communicating with the input device, wherein the system is configured to generate the warning signal for the vehicle driver as a result of the input signal being transmitted by the input device, and to generate the confirmation signal for the road user as a result of the input signal being transmitted by the input device.

In the vehicle driver warning system of the second aspect of the present invention, the output device of the driver unit warns the vehicle driver of the presence of the other road user, for example a cyclist or pedestrian. In addition, the system outputs the confirmation signal from the road user unit as a result of the input from the road user, which signal the road user can see or hear. That is, the road user receives feedback about whether the system is working. This means that the road user can know and be reassured that at least the road user unit is working.

Preferably, the confirmation output device is capable of communicating with the input device via the driver unit, and the system is configured to generate the confirmation signal for or discernible by the road user as a result of the warning signal being generated by the warning output device. In this way, as with the first aspect of the invention, the road user receives“full-loop” feedback about whether the system is working, so the road user can know and be reassured that both the road user unit and the driver unit are working. In addition, the driver can also test that both units are working before starting a journey.

Preferably, the confirmation output device is capable of communicating with the input device via the driver unit, and the system is configured to transmit the input signal from the input device to the confirmation output device of the road user unit via the driver unit to cause the confirmation output device to generate the confirmation signal for the road user.

Preferably, the confirmation output device is capable of communicating with the input device via the driver unit, and the system is configured to transmit the input signal from the input device to the confirmation output device of the road user unit via the warning output device of the driver unit to cause the confirmation output device to generate the confirmation signal for the road user.

Preferably, the system only has an input device or input devices that require a physical input from the road user in order to transmit the input signal. The requirement for a physical input may lessen the risk of false detection in comparison to, say, a proximity sensor not requiring physical input, for example false positives where a road user is detected but is not present, or false negatives where a road user is not detected but is present.

The optional features of the first aspect of the invention referred to above are equally applicable to the second aspect of the invention.

A preferred embodiment of the invention will now be described, purely by way of example, with reference to the drawings in which:

Figure 1 is a front elevation view of a road user unit according to the preferred embodiment;

Figure 2 is a side elevation view of the road user unit of Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 is a plan view of the road user unit of Figure 1 ; Figure 4 is a front elevation view of the road user unit of Figure 1 in a non-deformed state (A) and a deformed state (B);

Figure 5 is a front elevation cross-sectional view of the road user unit of Figure 1 in a non-deformed state taken along line A-A in Figure 3;

Figure 6 is an enlarged fragmentary view of Figure 5;

Figure 7 is a front elevation cross-sectional view of the road user unit of Figure 1 in a deformed state taken along line A-A in Figure 3;

Figure 8 is an enlarged fragmentary view of Figure 7;

Figure 9 is a front elevation view of the road user unit of Figure 1 in a deformed state showing the LED flashing;

Figure 10 is a side elevation view of the road user unit of Figure 1 fixed to the side of a vehicle; and

Figure 1 1 is a schematic side elevation view of a truck with the vehicle driver warning system of the preferred embodiment installed and in use.

Referring to Fig. 1 1 , a vehicle driver warning system comprises a driver unit 20 and a road user unit 18. The system is installed on a truck 15. The driver unit 20 is fixed to the inside of the cab of the truck 15. The road user unit 18 is fixed to the outside side surface of the trailer of the truck 15.

The a driver unit 20 includes a warning output device, in the form of an audible alarm, for generating an audible warning signal 21 discernible by the vehicle driver 16, to warn the driver of the presence of the road user, in this case cyclist 17.

The road user unit 18 includes an input device, comprising a non-latching mechanical pull switch, for transmitting an input signal as a result of an input from the cyclist 17. The input signal indicates that there is input from the road user. The input signal is transmitted (i.e. allowed to pass) or not by the switch according to whether there is an input from the road user. So, if there is an input, the input signal is transmitted, but if there is not an input, the signal is not transmitted.

Referring to Figs. 1-3 and 11 , the road user unit 18 includes a confirmation output device, in the form of an LED 3, for generating a visible confirmation signal 23 discernible by the cyclist 17.

The input from the cyclist 17 causes the audible alarm of the driver unit 20 to generate the audible warning signal 21 to warn the vehicle driver, which in turn causes the LED 3 to generate the confirmation signal for the cyclist 17. Thereby, the cyclist 17 can tell that the system is working.

The driver unit 20 can send a signal 22 to the road user unit 18 wirelessly which the road user unit 18 can receive, and the road user unit 18 can send a signal 19 to the driver unit 20 wirelessly which the driver unit 20 can receive. The driver unit 20 includes a transceiver to send and receive the signals 19, 22 wirelessly. The wireless transmission is by RF (radio frequency) signals.

Referring to Figs. 1-3, road user unit 18 comprises a rectangular base plate 1 with bolt holes 6 at its four corners. The road user unit 18 has a control housing 2 on top of the base plate 1 , and the LED 3 on top of the control housing 2 and at one end. On top of the control housing 2 and beside the LED 3 is a flexible rubber body 4 forming a resilient protrusion. On top of the rubber body 4 is a cap 5. The rubber body 4 has a truncated pyramid shape with four sloping sides. The cap 5 has a rounded top and a flat bottom. The overall shape of the protrusion is generally a truncated pyramid shape.

Figs. 5 and 6 show the interior of the of the road user unit 18. The control housing 2 houses on one side a battery unit 11 with battery unit contacts 12 more towards the centre of the housing 2, and on the other side a transceiver unit 13 with transceiver contacts 14 more towards the centre of the housing 2. Below the contacts 12 and 14 is an electrically conducting bridge unit 8.1. The bridge unit 8.1 has on its upper surface bridge unit contacts 9 at each of its ends below the contacts 12 and 14. The bridge unit 8.1 spans the gap between the contacts 12 and 14. When the road user unit 18 is in its inactive mode (as shown in Figs. 5 and 6), the bridge unit 8.1 , specifically the bridge unit contacts 9, are separated from the contacts 12 and 14. A coil return spring 10 is provided between the bridge unit 8.1 and the inner surface of the top of the control housing 2. The spring 10 biases the bridge unit 8.1 away from the contacts 12 and 14.

The rubber body 4 has a channel 7 extending from the centre of the larger, bottom end of the pyramid to the centre of the smaller, top end of the pyramid.

Attached to the middle of the bridge unit 8.1 is a belt 8 which extends up and along the axis of the coil spring, out of the control housing 2, through the rubber body 4 along the channel 7 to the top of the rubber body 4. Here it is attached to the cap 5.

In this embodiment, the switch is made up of the contacts 12, 14, the bridge unit 8.1 , the spring 10 and the belt 8.

Referring to Figs. 3, 10 and 11 , for use, the road user unit 18 is fixed to the side of the vehicle 15 by bolting the unit 18 with bolts 30 through bolt holes 6. In use the unit 18 may be pulled or slapped by a road user, such as cyclist 17, so as to deform the protrusion to bend the protrusion and move the top of the pyramid sideways, as shown in Fig. 7. Fig. 4 shows the road user unit 18 in a non-deformed state (A) and a deformed state (B). This deformation pulls the belt 8 upwards, as shown in Fig. 8, which in turn pulls the bridge unit 8.1 upwards against the biasing force of the spring 10 so that the bridge unit 8.1 connects battery unit contacts 12 and transceiver contacts 14 to each other. This creates a circuit to power the transceiver unit 13 which transmits a signal 19 wirelessly to the driver unit 20. After the input from the road user has finished, the protrusion eventually returns to its original shape and the spring 10 biases the bridge unit 8.1 away from the contacts 12 and 14 to break the circuit.

The driver unit 20 receives the wireless signal 19 and immediately generates an audible warning signal 21 to warn the driver 16 of the presence of the cyclist 17. The driver unit 20 then sends a return signal 22 via its transceiver to the road user unit 23. The LED 3 of the road user unit then generates a confirmation signal by flashing to confirm to the road user that the system is working, as shown in Fig. 9. The route that the input signal follows is: battery unit 1 1 ; battery unit contacts 12; bridge unit 8.1 ; transceiver contacts 14; transceiver unit 13; transceiver of driver unit 20; warning output device of driver unit 20; transceiver of driver unit 20; transceiver unit 13 of road user unit 23; LED 3 of road user unit 23; transceiver contacts 14; bridge unit 8.1 ; battery unit contacts 12; battery unit 1 1.

In the present embodiment, the driver unit 20 receives power from the power supply of the vehicle.

In the embodiment described above, the driver unit 20 receives power from the power supply of the vehicle. However, the driver unit 20 include its own power supply such as a battery.

In other embodiments, the warning output device of the driver unit 20 may generate a visible warning signal rather than or in addition to an audible warning signal.

In other embodiments, the system may be capable of communicating with the control system of the truck 15 to stop the operation of the truck 15. An input from the cyclist 17 to the input device causes the control system of the truck 15 to apply the brakes and/or stop the engine and/or disengage the engine from the wheels. In this way, the input device operates as a kill switch. The driver of the vehicle may be able to override the “stop operation”. The driver unit 20 is provided with means for overriding the stop operation, such as an input device in the form of a switch.

In other embodiments, an additional road user unit may be fixed to the outside of the cab of the truck 15. In this way, the system can be operated when the road user is at the rear of the trailer as well as when the road user is alongside the cab. The road user may be alongside the cab when the truck 15 is stopped at traffic lights. Here the road user may be in the truck driver’s blind spot and may be most vulnerable to being hit by the truck 15. The road user can register his or her presence to the truck driver using the road user unit on the cab.

Road user units may be fixed to each side of the truck 15, in particular two fixed to the cab and/or two fixed to the trailer at the rear of the trailer. In this way, the road user may operate the system from either side of the truck 15. The preferred embodiment has been described by way of example only and various modifications, additions and/or omissions can be made within the scope of the invention.

The application discloses subject matter defined in the following clauses:

1. A vehicle driver warning system comprising:

a driver unit including a warning output device for generating an audible and/or visible warning signal for the vehicle driver;

an input device for transmitting an input signal as a result of an input from a road user, the input device being capable of communicating with the driver unit; and a road user unit including a confirmation output device for generating an audible and/or visible confirmation signal for the road user, the confirmation output device being capable of communicating with the driver unit,

wherein the system is configured to transmit the input signal from the input device to the warning output device of the driver unit to cause the warning output device to generate the warning signal for the vehicle driver, and the system is configured to transmit the input signal from the warning output device of the driver unit to the confirmation output device of the road user unit to cause the confirmation output device to generate the confirmation signal for the road user.

2. A system according to clause 1 , wherein the input device is for transmitting an input signal as a result of a physical input from a road user.

3. A system according to any preceding clause, wherein the input device comprises a mechanical switch for transmitting an input signal as a result of an input from a road user.

4. A system according to clause 3, wherein the switch is a non-latching switch.

5. A system according to any preceding clause, wherein the input device comprises a resilient protrusion, and the input device is for transmitting an input signal as a result of deformation of the protrusion by the road user. 6. A system according to clause 5, wherein the protrusion is made of an elastomeric material.

7. A system according to any preceding clause, wherein the confirmation output device comprises an LED.

8. A system according to any preceding clause, wherein the driver unit is capable of communicating with the road user unit wirelessly.

9. A system according to any preceding clause, wherein the road user unit includes the input device.

10. A system according to any preceding clause, wherein the road user unit includes means for fixing the road user unit to the vehicle.

1 1. A system according to any preceding clause, wherein the driver unit includes means for fixing the driver unit to the vehicle.

12. A vehicle including a system according to any preceding clause.

13. A vehicle according to clause 12, wherein the road user unit and/or the input device is fixed to the outside of the vehicle.

13. A vehicle according to clause 12 or 13, wherein the driver unit is provided in and/or fixed to the inside of the vehicle.

14. A vehicle including a vehicle driver warning system, the system comprising: a driver unit including a warning output device for generating an audible and/or visible warning signal for the vehicle driver;

an input device for transmitting an input signal as a result of an input from a road user, the input device being capable of communicating with the driver unit; and a road user unit including a confirmation output device for generating an audible and/or visible confirmation signal for the road user, the confirmation output device being capable of communicating with the input device, wherein the system is configured to transmit the input signal from the input device to the warning output device of the driver unit to cause the warning output device to generate the warning signal for the vehicle driver, and the system is configured to transmit the input signal from the input device to the confirmation output device of the road user unit to cause the confirmation output device to generate the confirmation signal for the road user.

15. A vehicle according to clause 14, wherein the confirmation output device is capable of communicating with the input device via the driver unit, and the system is configured to generate the confirmation signal for the road user as a result of the warning signal being generated by the warning output device.

16. A vehicle according to clause 14 or 15, wherein the road user unit and/or the input device is fixed to the outside of the vehicle.

17. A vehicle according to clause 16, wherein the vehicle is a truck having a trailer, and the road user unit and/or the input device is fixed to the outside of the trailer.

18. A vehicle according to any one of clauses 14 to 17, wherein the driver unit is provided in and/or fixed to the inside of the vehicle.

19. A vehicle according to clause 18, wherein the vehicle is a truck having a cab, and the driver unit is provided in and/or fixed to the inside of the cab.

20. A vehicle according to any one of clauses 14 to 19, wherein the input device is for transmitting an input signal as a result of a physical input from a road user.

21. A vehicle according to any one of clauses 14 to 20, wherein the input device comprises a mechanical switch for transmitting an input signal as a result of an input from a road user.

22. A vehicle according to clause 21 , wherein the switch is a non-latching switch. 23. A vehicle according to any one of clauses 14 to 22, wherein the input device comprises a resilient protrusion, and the input device is for transmitting an input signal as a result of deformation of the protrusion by the road user. 24. A vehicle according to clause 23, wherein the protrusion is made of an elastomeric material.

25. A vehicle according to any one of clauses 14 to 24, wherein the confirmation output device comprises an LED.

26. A vehicle according to any one of clauses 14 to 25, wherein the driver unit is capable of communicating with the road user unit wirelessly.

27. A vehicle according to any one of clauses 14 to 26, wherein the road user unit includes the input device.