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Title:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR LOADING AND UNLOADING AN ARTICLE INTO AND OUT FROM A TRUNK OF A CAR
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/060473
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
System (100) for loading and unloading an article (10) into and out from the trunk (21) of a car (20). The invention is characterised in that the system (100) comprises a movable platform (110), arranged to be supported by the said trunk (21) and to horizon-tally move the article (10) supported by said platform (110) between a first position com-pletely inside the trunk (21) and a second position completely outside of the trunk (21); a lifting device (120), arranged to be supported by a trunk cover (22) of said car (20), and to move the article (10) between said second position and a third position on the ground; and a trunk cover support device (130), arranged to be mounted in the car (20) and to therein support the said trunk cover (22) in an open position when the article (10) is lifted by said lifting device (120).

Inventors:
ANDERSSON ROLAND (SE)
Application Number:
SE2019/050879
Publication Date:
March 26, 2020
Filing Date:
September 18, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KYTTINGE INVEST AB (SE)
International Classes:
B60R5/04; B60J5/10; B60P1/54; B66C23/36
Foreign References:
US20070290180A12007-12-20
US2797828A1957-07-02
US20010033085A12001-10-25
DE202015105898U12017-02-07
US6547507B12003-04-15
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NORÉNS PATENTBYRÅ AB (SE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
C L A I M S

1. System (100) for loading and unloading an article (10) into and out from the trunk (21) of a car (20), c h a r a c t e r i s e d i n that the system (100) comprises a movable platform (110), arranged to be supported by the said trunk (21) and to horizon tally move the article (10) supported by said platform (110) between a first position com pletely inside the trunk (21) and a second position completely outside of the trunk (21); a lifting device (120), arranged to be supported by a trunk cover (22) of said car (20), and to move the article (10) between said second position and a third position on the ground; and a trunk cover support device (130), arranged to be mounted in the car (20) and to therein support the said trunk cover (22) in an open position when the article (10) is lifted by said lifting device (120).

2. System (100) according to claim 1, c h a r a c t e r i s e d i n that the mov- able platform (110) comprises a horizontal surface (111) arranged to move with said article

(10), and in that the horizontal surface (111) is arranged to constitute a trunk (21) bottom in a retracted position of the movable platform (110).

3. System (100) according to claim 2, c h a r a c t e r i s e d i n that the said horizontal surface (111), in an extended position of the movable platform (110), forms a loading surface arranged to support luggage.

4. System (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, c h a r a c t e r - i s e d i n that the movable platform (110) is motor driven, and arranged to be auto- matically moved between a retracted and an extended position of the movable platform (110).

5. System (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, c h a r a c t e r - i s e d i n that the lifting device (120) is arranged to move between an inactivated state, in which it occupies a relatively small space in the trunk (21) when the trunk cover (22) is closed, and an activated state, in which it occupies a relatively large space in the trunk (21) when the trunk cover (22) is closed or even does not allow the trunk cover (22) to close, in which activated state it is arranged to support the article (10) from a point (121) vertically above a centre of gravity of the article (10) in said second position.

6. System (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, c h a r a c t e r - i s e d i n that the lifting device (120) comprises a wire or other flexible suspension means (122), having an article fastening means (123) at its distal end, as well as a motor driven wire or suspension means roll (124), arranged to retract the flexible suspension means (122) by rolling it up on said roll (124) and hence to lift the article (10) upwards. 7. System (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, c h a r a c t e r - i s e d i n that the trunk cover support device (130) comprises a mechanical locking means (131), arranged to lock and support the trunk cover (22) in said open position.

8. System (100) according to claim 7, c h a r a c t e r i s e d i n that the said mechanical locking means (131) comprises an activation means (132), arranged to automat ically activate the mechanical locking means (131) so as to lock the trunk cover (22) in said open position.

9. System (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, c h a r a c t e r - i s e d i n that the system (100) further comprises a control device (160), arranged to control the movable platform (110) and the lifting device (120).

10. System (100) according to claim 9, c h a r a c t e r i s e d i n that the sys tem (100) further comprises an article identification means (140) arranged to identify the article (10), and in that the control device (160) is arranged to control the lifting device (120) to lower the article (10) with a first, higher, lifting velocity when the article identification means (140) has successfully identified the article (10) and to lower the article (10) with a second, lower, lifting velocity when the article identification means (140) has not success fully identified the article (10).

11. System (100) according to claim 9 or 10, c h a r a c t e r i s e d i n that the lifting device (120) is further arranged to automatically stop the lowering of the article (10) at a predetermined height, which predetermined height is associated with a successfully identified identity of the article (10).

12. System (100) according to any one of the preceding claims, c h a r a c t e r - i s e d i n that the system (100) comprises an article weight measuring means (150) arranged to measure the weight of an article (10) supported by the lifting device (120), in that the trunk cover support device (130) is associated with a maximum load value, and in that the lifting device (120) is arranged not to lift the article (10) in case the article weight measuring means (150) has detected an article (10) weight exceeding the maximum load value.

13. Car (20) comprising a premounted system (100) according to any one of the preceding claims. 14. Method for loading an article (10) into the trunk (21) of a car (20), c h a r a c - t e r i s e d i n that the method comprises the steps of

a) placing the article (10) in a third position on the ground behind the car (20), and fas tening a fastening means of a lifting device (120) to the article (10), which lifting device (120) is supported by a trunk cover (22) of the car (20), a trunk cover support device (130) in turn supporting the said trunk cover (22) in an open position of the trunk cover (22);

b) the lifting device (120) lifting the article (10) upwards to a second position above ground but completely outside of the trunk (21);

c) moving a movable platform (110), supported by the said trunk (21), to an extended position below the lifted article (10);

d) supporting the article (10) on the movable platform (110); and

e) moving the movable platform (110) to a retracted position in which the article (10) supported by the movable platform (110) is located in a first position, completely in side the trunk (21).

15. Method for unloading an article (10) out of the trunk (21) of a car (20), c h a r - a c t e r i s e d i n that the method comprises the steps of a) supporting the article (10) on a movable platform (110), supported by the trunk (21), in first position of the article (10) completely inside the trunk (21);

b) moving the movable platform (110) to an extended position, bringing the article (10) horizontally to a second position completely outside of the trunk (21), and fastening a fastening means of a lifting device (120) to the article (10), which lifting device (120) is supported by a trunk cover (22) of the car (20), a trunk cover support device (130) in turn supporting the said trunk cover (22) in an open position of the trunk cover (22); c) the lifting device (120) raising the article (10) vertically so that the article (10) is no longer supported by the movable platform (110);

d) moving the movable platform (110) to a retracted position of the movable platform (110);

e) the lifting device (120) lowering the article (10) vertically to a third position on the ground behind the trunk (21).

Description:
System and method for loading and unloading an article into and out from a trunk of a car

The present invention relates to a system for loading an article into the trunk of a car and for unloading an article out from such a trunk. The invention also relates to a method for performing such loading and unloading.

Many car users use their cars for transporting bulky and/or heavy articles. For instance, children's trolleys, golf bags, shopping bags and luggage are frequently transported in the trunk of a car.

In some cases, the user has no problem loading such articles into the trunk, and subse quently to unload the articles from the trunk. However, for many users such loading and unloading presents a problem, due to convenience, physical weakness of the user or even medical conditions, to the weight of the article, or a combination of these.

Professional drivers may be required to load and unload articles many times during a day. This applies to taxi drivers as well as to service, maintenance, delivery and sales staff. In particular, loading and unloading from vehicles often means ergonomically less than opti mal body movements, frequently causing health issues with back problems being a very common result.

In other cases, users may be reluctant to perform loading and unloading, such as in situa tions when it is not desirable to break a sweat or risk soiling one's clothing. Furthermore, as cars and buses/coaches often have to park far away from an intended des tination, the user will often need to solve the "last mile" transport problem by using a smaller trolley. For families with children, the child's stroller often supports this transport need. Automotive restrictions due to air pollution and other environmental policies in larger cities also make it increasingly difficult to find reasonable "last mile" transport solutions. In order to handle such "last mile" transport, cars must be flexible enough to support different transport options. Hence, there is a need for a way to automate such loading and unloading of articles into and out from the trunk of a car. The solution should be robust and reliable, yet cost-efficient as well as flexible and easy to use by non-technically oriented users. Also, the solution should allow a normal trunk loading volume, as well as manual loading and unloading of articles.

The present invention solves these problems. Hence, the invention relates to a system for loading and unloading an article into and out from the trunk of a car, which system is characterised in that the system comprises a mov able platform, arranged to be supported by the said trunk and to horizontally move the article supported by said platform between a first position completely inside the trunk and a second position completely outside of the trunk; a lifting device, arranged to be supported by a trunk cover of said car, and to move the article between said second position and a third position on the ground; and a trunk cover support device, arranged to be mounted in the car and to therein support the said trunk cover in an open position when the article is lifted by said lifting device. Furthermore, the invention relates to a method for loading an article into the trunk of a car, which method is characterised in that the method comprises the steps of a) placing the article in a third position on the ground behind the car, and fastening a fastening means of a lifting device to the article, which lifting device is supported by a trunk cover of the car, a trunk cover support device in turn supporting the said trunk cover in an open position of the trunk cover; b) the lifting device lifting the article upwards to a second position above ground but completely outside of the trunk; c) moving a movable platform, supported by the said trunk, to an extended position below the lifted article; d) supporting the article on the movable platform; and e) moving the movable platform to a retracted position in which the article supported by the movable platform is located in a first position, completely inside the trunk. Moreover, the invention also relates to a method for unloading an article out of the trunk of a car, which method is characterised in that the method comprises the steps of a) sup porting the article on a movable platform, supported by the trunk, in first position of the article completely inside the trunk; b) moving the movable platform to an extended posi- tion, bringing the article horizontally to a second position completely outside of the trunk, and fastening a fastening means of a lifting device to the article, which lifting device is sup ported by a trunk cover of the car, a trunk cover support device in turn supporting the said trunk cover in an open position of the trunk cover; c) the lifting device raising the article vertically so that the article is no longer supported by the movable platform; d) moving the movable platform to a retracted position of the movable platform; e) the lifting device low ering the article vertically to a third position on the ground behind the trunk.

In the following, the invention will be described in detail, with reference to exemplifying embodiments of the invention and to the enclosed drawings, wherein:

Figures 1-10 are respective perspective views of a car with a system according to the present invention, in a respective first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth operation state;

Figure 11 is an overview sketch of a system according to the present invention; and Figure 12 is a flow chart illustrating a method according to the present invention.

In Figures 1-11, all Figures share the same reference numerals for same or corresponding parts. Hence, Figures 1-10 illustrate a system 100 according to the present invention, which sys tem is arranged for loading and unloading an article 10 into and out from the trunk 21 of a car 20.

As used herein, an "article" may be any object which is loaded into or out from the trunk 21. Examples include children's trolleys or strollers, various types of luggage, sporting equip- ment, prepackaged goods, groceries, wheelchairs, etc. Figures 1-10 illustrate the system 100 in a series of consecutive states during the perfor mance of a method according to the invention for loading and possibly unloading said article 10 into and out from the trunk 21. The system 100 comprises a movable platform 110, arranged to be supported by the said trunk 21 and to horizontally move the article 10 supported by said platform 110 between a first position in which the article 10 is located completely inside the trunk 21 and a second position in which the article 10 is located completely outside of the trunk 21, such as behind the trunk 21 in relation to the car 20. The first position is illustrated in Figure 10; the second position is illustrated in Figure 8.

That the movement of the platform 110 is "horizontal" means that the supported article 10, by this movement, is translated in a substantially horizontal direction. That the article 10 is located "completely inside" the trunk 21 means that the article 10, supported by the movable platform 110, is accommodated in the trunk 21 so that the trunk 21 can be completely closed, by a trunk cover 22 closing, with the article 21 after such clos ing being accommodated completely inside the trunk 21 in the car 20. That the article 10 is located "completely outside" the trunk 21 means that the article 10 in its entirety is located outside of the trunk 21, and preferably outside of the car 20, as seen perpendicularly from above, in a horizontal projection, not counting the extension of a trunk cover 22.

That the movable platform 110 is "supported by" the trunk 21 means that the movable platform 110 directly or indirectly rests upon or is otherwise mechanically connected to the parts of the car 20 defining the trunk 21 in a way so that the weight of the movable platform 110 thereby is supported. For instance, the movable platform 110 may rest upon or be in tegrated in a floor of the trunk 21; the movable platform 110 may be attached on either side of the inside of the trunk 21; the movable platform 110 may be suspended from a car 20 roof in the trunk 21; or any combination of these. One preferred way of arranging the movable platform 110 is that it is slidably supported, such as using (not shown) rails in turn resting on or being integrated in a trunk 21 floor. The system 100 also comprises a lifting device 120, arranged to be supported by the trunk cover 21 of the car 20. In other words, the trunk cover 22 is arranged to support the weight of the lifting device 120. The trunk cover 22 typically opens and closes using a hinge mech- anism 123, which is conventional as such. It is therefore noted that the trunk cover 22 is movable, such as pivotally movable, in relation to the car 20 via said hinge 23, and that the lifting device 120 is supported on this per se movable structure.

The lifting device 120 is further arranged to move the article 10 between said second posi- tion and a third position, in which third position the article 10 is arranged on the ground, such as resting on the ground, behind the car 10. This third position of the article 10 is illus trated in Figures 1-5, where the article 10 is located completely behind the car (not counting the cover 22), such as perpendicularly below its position in the said second position. Moreover, the system 100 comprises a trunk cover support device 130, arranged to be mounted in the car 20 and to therein support the said trunk cover 22 in an open position of the trunk cover 22 when the article 10 is lifted by said lifting device 120. Hence, the trunk cover 22 itself may be arranged, using a conventional trunk cover support device in the form of gas springs or similar, not to provide sufficient support for an article 10 of a certain weight without the trunk cover 22 closing as a result of the weight of the lifting device 120 and the article 10. The function of the trunk cover support device 130 is hence to provide sufficient load resistance to the trunk cover 22 hinge mechanism 23 so that the trunk cover 22 may be kept in an open state, preferably in a fully opened state, despite an article 10 of certain weight being entirely suspended from a lifting device 120 which in turn is supported by the trunk cover 22.

Such a system 100 provides a very simple, inexpensive and fail-proof way of providing a loading/unloading function to the trunk 21. Such a system 100 may easily be provided as an integrated, pre-installed feature of a car 20 during manufacture, or be retrofitted to an ex- isting car 20. In both of these cases, the impact on the performance of the car 20 in other respects, such as loading capacity, function of the trunk 21 or the trunk cover 22, may be kept to a minimum.

The movable platform 110 may have any suitable design, such as being fitted with specific engagement or support means tailored to a particular type of article 10 to load or unload.

However, it is preferred that the movable platform 110 comprises a horizontal surface 111 arranged to move with said article 10, and in particular to support said article 10 during the above mentioned horizontal movement between the first and second positions. In particu lar, the horizontal surface 111 may be arranged to constitute a trunk 21 bottom in a re- tracted position of the movable platform 110, when the article 10 is in said first position if supported by the platform 110. This way, the trunk 21 of the car 20 may be allowed to be used in a completely conventional manner, using the horizontal surface 111 as the normal trunk 21 floor, when the system 100 is not used for loading/unloading. In particular in this case, the horizontal surface 111, in an extended position of the movable platform 110 in which an article 10 supported by the platform 110 is in said second position, forms a loading surface arranged to support luggage in a way which is very similar to a con ventional trunk 21 bottom. The movable platform 110 may, in some embodiments, be locked in the said fully retracted position, which locking then may be inactivated manually or electrically by a user, such as at the control of the below-described control device 160; or be automatically inactivated by the control device 160 as a loading or unloading sequence is initiated. The movable platform 110 may be motor driven, such as by an electric motor (not shown), and arranged to be automatically moved between a retracted position, such as said fully retracted position, and an extended position, such as said fully extended position, of the movable platform 110. This movement may be controlled by a control device 160, arranged to control the system 100 to operate automatically or semi-automatically. In the exemplifying embodiment illustrated in Figures 1-10, the lifting device 120 is associ ated with at least two states, namely an inactivated state (illustrated in Figures 1-3 and Fig ures 9-10) and an activate state (illustrated in Figures 4-8). The lifting device 120 is then movable between these two states, such as driven by an electric motor, preferably under the control of the control device 160, or by manual operation.

In the said inactivated state, the lifting device 120 may be oriented so that it occupies a relatively small space in the trunk 21 when the trunk cover 22 is closed. For instance, and as is shown in Figures 1-10, the lifting device 120 may comprise a foldable arm which may be folded away to occupy less space in the trunk 21 when the trunk cover 22 is closed. Such folding arm may be arranged integrated into an inside of the trunk cover 22, or be retrofit ted on the trunk cover 22 inside, for instance close to a trunk cover 22 latch mechanism.

In said activated state, the lifting device 120 may occupy a relatively large space in the trunk 21 when the trunk cover 22 is closed. The terms "relative", in this context, refer to the rel ative volume of space occupied in the trunk 21 by the activated and inactivate lifting device 120, respectively, so that a relatively larger space is occupied by the activated lifting device 120 as compared to the inactivated lifting device 120. The term "occupy" is here to be in terpreted so as to refer to a space which is unavailable for normal luggage accommodating use due to the presence of the lifting device 120.

It may even be so that the lifting device 120 in its activated state does not, due to the space occupied, allow the trunk cover 22 to close at all. In alternative embodiments, the lifting device 120 is built into the trunk cover 22 as an in tegrated part of the trunk cover 22. In this and other cases, it may not be necessary for the lifting device 120 to be movable between an inactivated and an activated state.

In its activated, or non-mobile, state, the lifting device 120 may be arranged to support the article 10 from a point 121 vertically above, or substantially vertically above, a centre of gravity of the article 10 which is then in the above mentioned second position of the article 10. This is illustrated in Figure 7.

Namely, it is preferred that the lifting device 120 comprises a wire or other flexible suspen- sion means 122, having an article fastening means 123 at its distal end. The article fastening means 123 may, for instance, be a hook, a loop or similar per se conventional fastening means arranged to quickly, securely and releasably connect to various articles. Alterna tively, the article fastening means 123 may be specifically designed to releasably and se curely fasten to an article 10 of a particular type. This is exemplified in Figures 5-8, where it is illustrated how the article fastening means 123 is in the form of a horizontal bar, arranged to connect two parts (in the exemplifying case illustrated two joints for a foldable handle) of the article 10, wherein the bar is specifically adapted to fit at either end in a respective quick-connect socket at each of said two parts. As mentioned, the flexible suspension means 122 may be a wire, such as a metal wire. How ever, as is illustrated in Figures 1-10, it may also be a woven or non-woven belt or band. It may also be a chain, a string or a rope.

The lifting device 120 may further comprise a motor driven wire roll 124, arranged to retract the wire 122 by rolling it up on said wire roll 124 and hence to lift the article 10 upwards. The wire roll 124 may, of course, also be used to lower the article 10 downwards in a con trolled manner. The wire roll 124 motor (not illustrated) may be under the control of the control device 160 for automatic control of the lifting device 120, and/or the motor may be manually controlled by a user.

Regarding the trunk cover support device 130, in Figures 1-10 this is illustrated as a part integrated in one or both of the normal gas springs used to hold the trunk cover 22 in its fully opened state. For instance, the normal gas spring in question may be retrofitted with a trunk cover locking means, or be replaced with a more sturdy, controllable gas spring. However, it is realized that the trunk cover support device 130 may be arranged as a sepa rate structural feature in connection to the trunk cover 22 in various ways. More precisely, the trunk 21 may comprise a mechanical locking means 131, arranged to lock and support the trunk cover 21 in said open position. In particular, once the trunk cover 21 is in said fully open position, the mechanical locking means 131 may be activated so as to mechanically lock the trunk cover 22 in said fully open position in a way allowing it to accept the weight of the article 10 suspended via the lifting device 120 as described above, without yielding. The mechanical locking means 131 may, for instance, comprise a metal pin or sprint which is brought into a couple of aligned through holes in two link arms to gether forming a foldable part of the trunk cover 22 hinge arrangement, hence locking the folding arrangement of the trunk cover 22, keeping the trunk cover 22 open against the force of gravity imparted by the suspended article 10.

It is preferred that the said mechanical locking means 131 comprises an activation means 132, arranged to automatically activate the mechanical locking means 131 so as to lock the trunk cover 22 in said fully open position. Such activation means 132 may be driven by an electric motor or otherwise be remote activatable and inactivatable by the control device 160. The activation means 132 may, for instance, be an electrically controlled magnetic switch acting on the mechanical locking means. As mentioned above, the system 100 may further comprise said control device 160, ar ranged in the car 10 and arranged to control at least the movable platform 110 and the lifting device 120. However, the control device 160 may be arranged to control all features of the system 100 described herein for fully automatic, semi-automatic or manual operation by a user. Such manual steps may, for instance, take place by the user using a remote con- trol (not shown) to initiate certain method steps of a method as described herein for loading or unloading an article 10, which steps are then ordered and controlled by the control de vice 160; or by the manual, physical manoeuvre by the user of one part of the system 100 in a particular situation being detected by the control device 160 and in turn triggering an other, different method step automatically initiated and controlled by the control device 160. A schematic overview of the system 100, from a control perspective, is illustrated in Figure 11, in which arrows represent control and/or electronic/electric information flow. Various feedback signalling paths may also be used, in addition to the indicated arrows, such as the trunk cover support device 130 detecting a fully opened position of the trunk cover 22 and sending this information to the control device 160; the lifting device reporting a current lifting height or velocity to the control device 160; or the movable platform 110 reporting a current position to the control device 160. All signalling paths may be digital or analogue; and wireless or wired, in a way which is conventional as such. Furthermore, the system 100 may comprise an article identification means 140, arranged to identify the article 10 or an article type to which the article 10 belongs. Such identification is preferably automatically conducted, and may for instance take place via an RFID identifi cation using an RFID antenna arranged on the fastening means 123 or in a different part of the system 100; by a characteristic electric impedance provided by the article 10 when the fastening means engages with the article 10 in an intended way; or similar. The control de vice 160, in turn, is arranged to control the lifting device 120 to lower the article 10 with a first, higher, lifting velocity when the article identification means 140 has successfully iden tified the article 10 and to lower the article 10 with a second, lower, lifting velocity when the article identification means 140 has not successfully identified the article 10. In partic- ular, an identification of this type includes the resulting access to information regarding the article 10, and in particular direct or indirect information regarding a vertical height of the suspended article 10.

In particular, the control device 160 has a memory in which a predetermined value is stored controlling how far down an article 10 with a particular identity or of a particular type can be lowered before the article 10 reaches the ground or the movable platform 110. Then, when the article 10 has been identified, the control device 160 may control the lifting device 120 to lower the article 10 at said faster pace to, or almost to, the height location where the article 10 is expected to reach the respective supporting surface. When, on the other hand, the article 10 is not identified, the lowering pace is slower, so as to more carefully set the (unknown) article 10 down onto the supporting surface. For instance, the relatively speedier lowering may be at a velocity of at least 0.2 m/s. The relatively slower lowering may be at a velocity of at the most 0.5 m/s. In addition, the speedier lowering velocity may be at least twice as large as the slower lowering. An example is that the relatively speedier lowering is conducted at a velocity of between 0.5 and 1.0 m/s (which is of course above 0.2 m/s), while the relatively slower lowering is conducted at a velocity of between 0.2 and

0.5 m/s (which is not more than 0.5 m/s), but not faster than 50% of the relatively speedier lowering. It is noted that the exact lowering speeds will depend on, for instance, a detailed construction of the lifting device 120 suspension, the types of articles intended for use, and so forth.

Furthermore, the lifting device 120 may be further arranged to to automatically, such as under the control of the control device 160, stop the lowering of the article 10 at said pre determined height, which predetermined height is associated with a successfully identified identity of the article 10.

The article identification means 140 is illustrated (in Figures 1-10) as belonging to the lifting device 120 and being arranged by the wire roll 124. However, it is realized that the article identification means 140 may be arranged as a part of, or in connection to, the fastening means 123, hence coming into direct contact with, or into close proximity to, the article 10 for performing such identification. In particular, the article identification means 140 may come into electric contact with the article 10, making an electrically based identification possible, such as the detection of a characteristic impedance of the article 10 or a part of the article 10. Moreover, the system 100 may further comprise an article weight measuring means 150, arranged to measure the weight of an article 10 supported by the lifting device 120. For instance, such weight measuring means 150 may be in the form of a scale means integrated in the wire roll 124 or the fastening means 123. The trunk cover support device 130 may be associated with a maximum load value. Then, the lifting device 120 may be arranged not to lift the article 10, as controlled by the control device 160, in case the article weight measur ing means 150 has detected an article 10 weight exceeding the maximum load value. This is hence a safety precaution, not allowing the user to have the system 100 lift an article 10 which is too heavy for the system 100 to safely handle. However, in a system 100 designed as described herein, the user may always be provided with the option to load or unload an article 10 manually into or out from the trunk 21, not using the system 100.

The invention also relates to a car 20 comprising a premounted or retrofitted system 100 according to what is described herein.

Figure 12 illustrates a method according to the invention, for loading and possibly unloading of an article 10 into and out from the trunk 21 of a car 20, respectively.

In a first step, the method starts.

In a subsequent step, the article 10 is placed in the above mentioned third position, on the ground behind the car 20, behind the trunk 21. The state of the article 10, on the ground behind the car 20 trunk 21, is illustrated in Figure 1 (where the article 10 is a trolley), or in Figure 2 (where the trolley has been loaded with items such as groceries).

In this step, the fastening means 123 of the lifting device 120 is also fastened to the article 10. As described above, the lifting device 120 is supported by the trunk cover 22, and the trunk cover support device 130 in turn supports the trunk cover 22 in an open position, preferably its fully open position. This is illustrated in Figure 3 (where a handlebar of the trolley is folded away); Figure 4 (where the lifting device 120 brought to its activated state); Figure 5 (where the wire roll 124 of the activated lifting device 120 allows or brings the wire 122 down to the trolley); and Figure 6 (where the fastening means 123 is fastened to the trolley by fitting its respective opposite ends in a respective groove each, in opposite trolley joints).

In a subsequent step, the lifting device 120 lifts the article 10 upwards, to the said second position above ground but completely outside of the trunk 21. Before this, the trunk cover support device 130 is activated, so that the trunk cover 22 is not closed as a result of the weight of the article 10.

In a subsequent step, the movable platform 110, supported by the said trunk 21, is moved to the above discussed extended position vertically below the lifted article 10. The situation after this step is illustrated in Figure 7.

In a subsequent step, the article 10 is lowered down onto the movable platform 110, with a lowering velocity which may be different (as discussed above) depending on whether the article 10 has been identified or not. When the lowering is finished, the article 10 is sup ported on the movable platform 110, which is illustrated in Figure 8 in a state after the fastening means 123 has released or been released from the engagement with the article 10 and again has been raised by the wire roll 124 being wound up. Such disengagement may be automatic, such as based upon an article 10 weight measuring means 150 arranged as a part of the lifting device 120 detecting a sudden loss of weight due to the article 10 being supported on the movable platform 110. The trunk cover support device 130 may also now be inactivated.

In a subsequent step, the movable platform 110 is moved to the above mentioned retracted position, in which the article 10 supported by the movable platform 110 is located in the said first position, completely inside the trunk 21. Figure 9 illustrates the movable platform 110 on its way from the extended position to the fully retracted position, while Figure 10 illustrates the case in which the movable platform 110 is fully retracted and the article 10 hence is in said first position.

In connection to this step, the lifting device 120 may be put in its inactivated state, folded so as to assume less space in the trunk 21 as the trunk cover 22 is closed.

In a subsequent step, the trunk cover 22 may be closed, and the user may drive off with the car 20. At a later point, possibly at a different location entirely, a subsequent part of the method may be performed, or a method of its own right for unloading the article 10 out from the trunk 21 of the car 20 may be performed. In such a method or sub method, the article 10 may be supported on the movable platform 110, for instance as a result of the previous method steps as described above. As also dis cussed above, the movable platform 110 is then supported by the trunk 21, and the article 10 is then in said first position, completely inside the trunk 21. In a subsequent step, the trunk cover 22 may be opened, resulting in the situation illustrated in Figure 10.

In a subsequent step, the movable platform 110 is then moved, preferably automatically, to its extended position, bringing the article 10 horizontally to said second position, com- pletely outside of the trunk 21. This is illustrated in Figure 8.

Then, the article 10 is fastened to the fastening means 123 of the lifting device 120, such as after a loosening and lowering of the fastening means 123 being suspended in said wire 122. As discussed above, the lifting device 120 is supported by the trunk cover 22 of the car 20, and the trunk cover support device 130 in turn supports the trunk cover 22 in its open position.

In a subsequent step, after the trunk cover support device 130 has been activated, the lifting device 120 raises the article 10 vertically, so that the article 10 as a result is no longer sup- ported by the movable platform 110. The result is illustrated in Figure 7.

In a subsequent step, the movable platform 110 is again moved to its retracted position, without the article 10 moving as a result thereof (due to it being suspended in the wire 122). In a subsequent step, the lifting device 120 lowers the article 10 vertically to the said third position of the article 10, on the ground behind the trunPk 21. The result is illustrated in Figure 6. This lowering may be performed as described above, at a speedy or slow lowering velocity depending on whether or not the article 10 has been identified to be an article of known properties. Thereafter, the fastening means 123 may be loosened, to achieve the situation illustrated in Figure 5, and the trunk cover support device 130 may be activated. Then, the wire may be rolled up, to achieve what is illustrated in Figure 4, and the lifting device 120 may be brought to its inactivated state as illustrated in Figure 3. In case the article 10 is a trolley of the illustrated type, with a foldable handle, the handle may now be unfolded as is illustrated in Figure 2, after which the trolley may be used for carrying groceries or similar.

Then, the method ends.

In both the loading and the unloading part of the above described method, all steps involv- ing the system 100 parts may be performed either manually or automatically, under the control of the control device 160 and based upon sensor or remote controlling data or sig nals made available to the control device 160. It is realized that both of the two described methods can be performed as a respective method of its own right, and that they are de signed to interact for loading/unloading one and the same article 10.

As described above, the article 10 may be a trolley which is specifically adapted for use with the system 100, such as by the trolley being specifically adapted for being fastened to the fastening means 123. Also, the trolley may be arranged to communicate its identity and/or type to the system 100 as described above, for more rapid loading and unloading by the lowering action taking place at a relatively higher pace. Hence, the car and the trolley may in this respect both form part of the same system for loading and unloading articles.

Above, preferred embodiments have been described. However, it is apparent to the skilled person that many modifications can be made to the disclosed embodiments without de- parting from the basic idea of the invention. For instance, the system 100 may comprise additional details, in addition to the ones de scribed above.

All which has been said about the system 100 is equally applicable to the method, and vice versa.

Hence, the invention is not limited to the described embodiments, but can be varied within the scope of the enclosed claims.