Accomplished Inventor with 89 Awarded Patents

Adrian’s pioneering work has led him to bridge disciplines and create elegant solutions for some of industry’s most pressing problems. At General Motors, his innovative work changed the way the entire automotive industry thinks about the future of transportation.

Adrian Chernoff’s inventions cover a wide range use and in varying fields from business, technology and design.


Vehicle Safety Patents

 

All vehicles should and must be safe. While considering how to evolve and reinvent the vehicle, many inventions have been devised and developed. Safety is paramount—in reinventing the vehicle, too, safety cannot be ignored. That’s why many innovations cover safety solutions with respect to pedestrian impact, improved crumple and crush zones, enhanced seat belt systems, anticipatory crash warning systems, post-crash informatics, and improved vehicle structures.

The following innovations are some of the inventions created to improve driver and passenger safety. They cover pre-crash systems, structural lock-down hoods, seat belt airbags, enhanced vehicle structures, integrated vehicle bumpers, front impact zones, chassis impact zones, structural design elements, and motorized structural elements.

7,258,188 Variable Seat Belt

A seat belt system includes webbing having a solid material that is configured to effect a shape or dimensional change in response to an activation signal. In a preferred embodiment, the webbing includes a first part and a second part, each having a wide end and a narrow end. The webbing is mounted with respect to a vehicle seat back so that the webbing is positionable across an occupant between the occupant’s neck and the occupant’s pelvis, and is characterized by the absence of an over-the-shoulder portion.

7,077,439 Vehicle Bumper and Method of Making Same

A vehicle bumper is formed using fluid pressure such that the bumper is characterized by a curvature. The bumper preferably includes an upper bumper bar portion and a lower bumper bar portion that are interconnected. The bumper is also preferably connectable to a pair of upper rails and a pair of lower rails so that an impact load is distributable between the upper rails and the lower rails. The bumper preferably includes an inner panel and an outer panel. A method of forming a bumper is also provided. The method includes subjecting a metal blank to fluid pressure to form a bumper having a shape characterized by a curvature.

7,287,614 Engine Compartment Cover

A vehicle includes a body defining an engine compartment and a plurality of vehicle frame members. An engine compartment cover defines a portion of the engine compartment and functions as a structural load-bearing portion of a vehicle frame by rigidly, structurally interconnecting vehicle frame members.

7,225,542 Vehicle Body Compartment Lid Method of Manufacturing

A vehicle body compartment lid includes a unitary, one-piece panel. The panel has both an inner panel portion and an outer panel portion, and is bent or folded such that the inner panel portion and the outer panel portion are in juxtaposition with one another. A method of manufacturing a vehicle body compartment lid employing the panel is also provided. The panel is preferably formed using fluid pressure.

6,846,038 Integral Vehicle Front Assembly

 

A body panel includes a hood portion configured to extend over and across a vehicle front compartment, and two fender portions. A unitary, one-piece inner panel and a unitary, one-piece outer panel cooperate to define the hood portion and the two fender portions. The inner panel and the outer panel comprise a substantial portion of a vehicle body front end, replacing the multitude of inner panels, outer panels, and reinforcements in a prior art vehicle body. The body panel preferably functions as a load-bearing vehicle frame portion, reducing or eliminating prior art vehicle frame components. A method of manufacturing the body panel includes forming an inner panel and an outer panel using superplastic forming, quick plastic forming, or sheet hydroforming, and connecting the inner panel and the outer panel.

6,793,275 Load-Bearing Body Panel Assembly for a Motor Vehicle

A body panel functions as a hood by at least partially concealing an engine compartment, and functions as a structural load-bearing portion of a vehicle frame by structurally interconnecting vehicle frame members. The body panel preferably includes a hood portion and two fender portions.

6,991,055 Motorized Cover System and Method of Use Thereof

A motorized cover system includes a cover movably connected with respect to a compartment such as a vehicle component, at least one motor vehicle, and at least one linkage operatively connecting the cover to the motor, wherein the motor is operable for moving the cover between a closed position and at least one open position. The motorized cover system may include an automatically engageable and disengageable latch assembly for securing the cover to the vehicle. A method of opening and closing a vehicle compartment cover includes relaying an operator control signal to a motor, powering the motor, and moving the cover between a first position and a second position.

7,004,502 Frontal Impact Energy Dissipation Zone

A vehicle chassis having substantially all of the mechanical, electrical, and structural componentry necessary for a fully functional vehicle, including at least an energy conversion system, a steering system, and a braking system. The chassis is configured for matability with a variety of different types or styles of vehicle bodies. Various prior art mechanical control linkages between a driver and controlled systems are replaced with non-mechanical control signal transmission components. Fuel cell technology is also implemented.

6,905,138 Chassis with Energy-Absorption Zones

A chassis having systems responsive to non-mechanical control signals and a simplified body-attachment interface includes regions optimized for energy absorption from an impact to the chassis periphery. A structural frame defines open spaces within which chassis systems are positioned. Material configured to absorb energy from an impact to the chassis periphery is located between the chassis periphery and the open spaces.

Vehicle Manufacturing and Commerce Patents

 

When considering any future transportation scenario, alternative energy solutions and manufacturing and methods intended to enable vehicle improvements cannot be neglected. Getting from place to place is one way of looking at mobility, but when the equation of mobility is changed, vehicle business systems, manufacturing, and vehicle connectivity create new opportunities of improvement.

Innovative inventions are patented to offer new solutions to the questions about how to purchase a vehicle, how to service a vehicle, how to modularize manufacturing, how to streamline the design and engineering of vehicles, how to improve and build in better safety systems, and how to integrate advancements in technology and design. 

This systems thinking approach to reinventing the automobile covers business models for advancing transportation, advanced vehicle manufacturing, vehicle controls, connectivity, variable vehicle configurations, design variability and flexibility, global manufacturing, plug-in-hybrids, hybrids, hybrid electric vehicles, fuel cells, electronic corners, simplified body-to-chassis attachments, vehicle body systems, chassis systems, plug-and-play bodies, e-corners, and vehicle customization.

7,104,581 Vehicle Body Interchangeability

A method is provided for providing vehicle reconfigurability. The method includes maintaining an inventory containing vehicle body pods each having a substantially identical interface at which each of the body pods is connectable to a chassis such that the body pods are interchangeable on the chassis. The body pods include at least one body pod characterized by a first body pod style and at least one body pod characterized by a second body pod style. The method also includes granting possession to a customer of a vehicle body pod from the inventory independent of a chassis.

7,000,318 Method of Designing and Manufacturing Vehicles

An accelerated vehicle development process includes establishing a common, standardized interface system whereby different types of vehicle bodies may be attached to a single chassis design. Chassis and bodies are designed, manufactured and validated independently of each other in accordance with the standardized interface system, thereby accelerating the development process. As new bodies are designed to mate with the previously manufactured and validated chassis, the newly designed bodies may be developed more quickly in response to market demand and attached to the previously validated chassis.

7,036,848 Vehicle Body Configurations

Various body configurations capitalize upon the interchangeability of vehicle bodies on a flat rolling chassis. The ability to interchange vehicle bodies and exchange modular interior components enables substantial freedom and variation in the types of automobile, trucks, heavy equipment, machinery, RV bodies, etc. that can be interchanged on a rolling chassis. Various seating arrangements may be provided as well as enhanced space utilization, and different types of interior and exterior environments, aesthetics and functionality, including sound, lighting, and other technology enhancements may be provided on a body. Methods and structures facilitate the exchange of modular body components, such as via a removable body floor.

7,292,992 Methods of Conducting Vehicle Business Transactions

Methods are provided for conducting a vehicle business transaction with a customer. Possession of a vehicle chassis is offered and/or granted to a customer in a first financial transaction for consideration. Possession of a vehicle body for engagement with the chassis is offered and/or granted in a second financial transaction for consideration independently of the vehicle chassis, wherein the chassis and body are separately priced. The body may be selected from an inventory of vehicle bodies each having a chassis attachment interface engageable with the chassis. The chassis may be financed for an extended period of time, such as 20 years, while various bodies are interchanged with the chassis.

7,373,315 Vehicle Body Business Methods

Various vehicle body business processes are described which capitalize upon the interchangeability of vehicle bodies on a flat rolling chassis. The ability to interchange vehicle bodies and exchange modular interior components enables substantial freedom and variation in the types of automobile, trucks, heavy equipment, machinery, RV bodies, etc. that can be interchanged on a rolling chassis. Various seating arrangements may be provided as well as enhanced space utilization, and different types of interior and exterior environments, aesthetics and functionality, including sound, lighting, and other technology enhancements may be provided on a body. Methods and structures are described for facilitating the exchange of modular body components, such as via a removable body floor.

7,360,816 Vehicle Development Process Characterized by Market Responsiveness

A vehicle development process is characterized by enhanced market responsiveness by decoupling the development of the chassis from the development of vehicle bodies. The chassis and bodies are provided with a common, standardized interface system so that a single chassis design or a family of chassis designs may receive any of a variety of different body types thereon. Accordingly, the chassis are designed to enable the bodies to be designed and produced independently. The bodies are designed and manufactured all over the world to meet different consumer desires. Designers are able to redesign vehicle bodies without re-engineering the entire vehicle. The freedom to design, develop and distribute vehicle bodies more quickly with greater design freedom enables the manufacturer to be more responsive to local, regional and global market needs.

6,889,785 Vehicle Chassis having Systems Responsive to Non-Mechanical Control Signals

A vehicle chassis having substantially all of the mechanical, electrical, and structural componentry necessary for a fully functional vehicle, including at least an energy conversion system, a steering system, and a braking system. The chassis is configured for matability with a variety of different types or styles of vehicle bodies. Various prior art mechanical control linkages between a driver and controlled systems are replaced with non-mechanical control signal transmission components. Fuel cell technology is also implemented.

6,845,839 Vehicle Body Platform

A vehicle chassis having substantially all of the mechanical, electrical, and structural componentry necessary for a fully functional vehicle, including at least an energy conversion system, a steering system, and a braking system. The chassis is configured for matability with a variety of different types or styles of vehicle bodies. Various prior art mechanical control linkages between a driver and controlled systems are replaced with non-mechanical control signal transmission components. Fuel cell technology is also implemented. A quick plastic formed (QPF) engineered body floorpan includes formations thereon to provide structural integrity to support body components and acts as an assembly aid. The body floorpan is formed from a single aluminum alloy sheet.

6,836,943 Vehicle Body Manufacturing Process

A method of designing and manufacturing vehicle bodies includes establishing a common, standardized interface system for attaching vehicle bodies to vehicle chassis wherein connection components are arranged in a predetermined spatial relationship on the bodies and chassis to facilitate selective attachment of any of a plurality of different body types to the chassis. A plurality of different bodies are designed and manufactured having different body types and configured to conform to the standardized interface system for attachment to chassis which also conform to the standardized interface system. The vehicle bodies can be produced independently of the chassis. Eliminating the chassis and its hardware from the body manufacturing process can reduce current vehicle manufacturing plant sizes and system complexity. The result is an enabler to produce many vehicle bodies that can be distributed directly to dealers, customers, etc. either with or without a specified rolling platform. Smaller and customized production runs are enabled, as well as localized manufacturing plants, reduced investment costs and faster response time for order to delivery.

6,830,117 Vehicle Chassis having Systems Responsive to Non-Mechanical Control

A vehicle chassis having substantially all of the mechanical, electrical, and structural componentry necessary for a fully functional vehicle, including at least an energy conversion system, a steering system, and a braking system. The chassis is configured for releasable engagement with a variety of different types or styles of vehicle bodies. Various prior art mechanical control linkages between a driver and controlled systems are replaced with non-mechanical control signal transmission components. Fuel cell technology is also implemented.

6,880,856 Vehicle Body Configurations

Various body configurations capitalize upon the interchangeability of vehicle bodies on a flat rolling chassis. The ability to interchange vehicle bodies and exchange modular interior components enables substantial freedom and variation in the types of automobile, trucks, heavy equipment, machinery, RV bodies, etc. that can be interchanged on a rolling chassis. Various seating arrangements may be provided as well as enhanced space utilization, and different types of interior and exterior environments, aesthetics and functionality, including sound, lighting, and other technology enhancements may be provided on a body. Methods and structures facilitate the exchange of modular body components, such as via a removable body floor.

6,976,307 Accelerated Vehicle Development Process

An accelerated vehicle development process includes establishing a common, standardized interface system whereby different types of vehicle bodies may be attached to a single chassis design. Chassis and bodies are designed, manufactured and validated independently of each other in accordance with the standardized interface system, thereby accelerating the development process. As new bodies are designed to mate with the previously manufactured and validated chassis, the newly designed bodies may be developed more quickly in response to market demand and attached to the previously validated chassis.

6,959,475 Vehicle Body Business Methods

Various vehicle body business processes are described which capitalize upon the interchangeability of vehicle bodies on a flat rolling chassis. The ability to interchange vehicle bodies and exchange modular interior components enables substantial freedom and variation in the types of automobile, trucks, heavy equipment, machinery, RV bodies, etc. that can be interchanged on a rolling chassis. Various seating arrangements may be provided as well as enhanced space utilization, and different types of interior and exterior environments, aesthetics and functionality, including sound, lighting, and other technology enhancements may be provided on a body. Methods and structures are described for facilitating the exchange of modular body components, such as via a removable body floor.

7,303,033 Vehicle frame assembly and method for same

A method for assembling vehicular structural frames employing elongated members and connectors interconnecting the elongated members increases flexibility in assembling chassis frames and body frames. The method includes assembling a first vehicle structural frame according to a first design, and assembling a second vehicle structural frame according to a second design. The second design is derived from the first design by replacing elongated members of the first design with differently-dimensioned elongated members, or by changing the quantity of elongated members, to result in a second structural frame configuration different from the first structural frame configuration.

Vehicle Software and Electrification Patents

 

Electronics are the future. Reinventing the vehicle is based on taking full advantage of the storage capacity of electricity, the transmission of its signals, and the control of the vehicle through electrical signals. Vehicles can be more accurately and actively tuned at each electronic level. By eliminating traditional mechanical systems and oil-based gas engines, a new world of mobility is created; by taking a purely electrified vehicle approach, new vehicle controls can be introduced, active maintenance systems can be enabled, and pre-crash systems can be activated to improve the safety and well-being of the vehicle’s occupants.

The following innovations cover software adaptability, networked devices for updates (and testing, calibration, and configuration), vehicle remote controls, adaptable situational awareness, telematics, human-machine interface (HMI), man-machine interface (MMI), key fobs, remote vehicle monitoring and data collection, fuel cell power systems, portable power, maintenance prevention, data e-learning, programmable chassis, mobile power source, vehicle docking systems, by-wire systems, wheel motors, and remote control automation.

6,745,153 Data Collection and Manipulation Apparatus and Method

A vehicle maintenance system predicts potential failure of a component or system using statistical data and methods. The maintenance system preferably includes a communications apparatus for communicating component or system performance data to an offboard network or data collection device. Methods for advantageously using the collected performance data are also provided.

7,197,364 Portable Electronic Controller

A portable electronic device includes a communication component, an integral display operatively connected to the communication component, an operator input component operatively connected to the display and a processing component operatively connected to the communication component, to the display and to the operator input component. The communication component communicates with external electronic devices via a common software interface to send data to and receive data from the devices and to send control signals to the devices to control the operation of the devices. The processing component processes an operator’s input to the operator input component and data received by the communication component to formulate the control signals. A method of controlling external electrical components is also provided.

7,340,333 Multifunction Control System

A control system for a vehicle with a plurality of selectively variable characteristics includes a first button depressible to cause a first mode of operation and a second button depressible to cause a second mode of operation. In the first mode of operation, a rotary dial is rotatable to cause variation of the first characteristic. In the second mode of operation, the rotary dial is rotatable to cause variation of the second characteristic. The control system thus enables a single dial to control multiple characteristics or multiple vehicle systems, which enables a corresponding reduction in the quantity of switches and other control input devices in a vehicle passenger compartment.

7,301,442 Multi-Functional Fob

A multi-functional fob provides at least one of the features selected from a programmable lock/unlock button; a voice activated button; an ice-scraper; a credit card strip; and a rechargeable interface. One or a combination of the features may be integrated into a single fob. A fob-retaining device may be provided. Each fob function may be integrated into an electronic device such as a PDA, a cellular phone, a two-way radio, a wristwatch, a voice recorder, an audio player, a video player, or a multi-communication signal fob repeater. Optionally, the fob may have a compass and a timer. Additionally, a multi-functional fob communication system is provided to provide remote communications between a receiver in a fob-activated device and a remote electronic fob device.

6,968,918 Vehicle Chassis having Programmable Operating Characteristics

A vehicle includes a steering system, suspension system, braking system, and energy conversion system, wherein at least one of these systems is reprogrammable such that the vehicle’s ride, response, or handling is selectively variable. The systems may be programmed automatically when a body is mated to a chassis to provide the desired performance characteristics. The invention enables increased vehicle functionality for vehicle users, retailers and manufacturers.

6,938,712 Fuel Cell Powered Chassis Mobile Electrical Source

A vehicle chassis having substantially all of the mechanical, electrical, and structural componentry necessary for a fully functional vehicle includes at least an energy conversion system, a steering system, and a braking system. The chassis is configured for matability with a variety of different types or styles of vehicle bodies. Various prior art mechanical control linkages between a driver and controlled systems are replaced with non-mechanical control signal transmission components. Fuel cell technology is also implemented. The chassis may also include an electrical connector operably connected to the fuel cell and configured to transmit electrical energy from the fuel cell to an offboard system that consumes electrical energy. Chassis may be stacked and/or have interconnected fuel cells to increase electrical energy output.

6,923,281 Full Size Vehicle Remote Control Technology

A vehicle chassis is controlled remotely using a drive-by-wire system and a propulsion system, such as fuel cell technology. The remote control feature takes advantage of drive-by-wire technology in that the control signals used in powering, driving and controlling a chassis are electrical as opposed to mechanical signals. In this manner, the electrical impulses are used to remotely control the vehicle, which enables remote movement of the chassis during manufacturing, assembly, and shipping, as well as parking and docking and undocking of the chassis with a corresponding body.

7,398,846 Vehicle Wheel System

A wheel assembly for a vehicle includes a rotatable wheel having a selectively adjustable steering angle. A steering actuator is operatively connected to the wheel and is configured to selectively adjust the steering angle of the wheel and not any other wheels. The wheel assembly allows independent control of the steering angle of the wheel. The wheel assembly also facilitates modular construction of vehicles by enabling the packaging of mechanical steering components in a preassembled wheel module with simple electrical connections to a vehicle chassis.

6,712,164 Vehicle Having Systems Responsive to Non-Mechanical Control Signals

A vehicle chassis having substantially all of the mechanical, electrical, and structural componentry necessary for a fully functional vehicle, including at least an energy conversion system, a steering system, and a braking system. The chassis is configured for matability with a variety of different types or styles of vehicle bodies. Various prior art mechanical control linkages between a driver and controlled systems are replaced with non-mechanical control signal transmission components. Fuel cell technology is also implemented.

7,275,609 Vehicle Body Connection System

A vehicle chassis having substantially all of the mechanical, electrical, and structural componentry necessary for a fully functional vehicle includes at least an energy conversion system, a steering system, and a braking system. The chassis is configured for matability with a variety of different types or styles of vehicle bodies. Various prior art mechanical control linkages between a driver and controlled systems are replaced with non-mechanical control signal transmission components. Fuel cell technology is also implemented. Further, the chassis is configured for automatic engagement of its body connection components with complementary connection components on a vehicle body when a body is sufficiently positioned against the chassis.

6,766,873 Fuel Cell Vehicle with By-Wire Technology

A vehicle chassis having substantially all of the mechanical, electrical, and structural componentry necessary for a fully functional vehicle, including at least an energy conversion system, a steering system, and a braking system. The chassis is configured for matability with a variety of different types or styles of vehicle bodies. Various prior art mechanical control linkages between a driver and controlled systems are replaced with non-mechanical control signal transmission components. Fuel cell technology is also implemented.

7,900,986 Active Material based Concealment Assemblies

A concealment assembly includes a component, a member configured to have a first form and a second form, wherein the first form is configured to conceal the component and the second form is configured to expose the component, thereby making the component accessible for use, appearance, or function, and an active material in operable communication with the member, wherein the active material is configured to undergo a change in at least one property upon receipt of an activation signal, wherein the change in at least one property is effective to transition the member from the first form to the second form.

Vehicle Chassis and Platforms Patents

 

Reinventing the automobile is about starting fresh and taking a new look at mobility. The internal combustion engine has put major constraints on the vehicle. It’s time we had new innovations, innovations that can springboard transportation into the 21st century! The innovations covered here are at the center of electric vehicles. An electric vehicle platform can change the way cars are driven, the way cars are fueled, and how clean and green they can be in the future and in the present.

The automotive platform of the future is known as the “skateboard.” The skateboard houses the vehicle’s key mechanisms for propulsion, braking, acceleration, communication, and energy storage. The skateboard is also a self-contained chassis where essential components are placed: all the operational systems for engines, electric motors, wiring, communications, suspension, and many other technical elements. This skateboard base plate is a new way to make, manufacture, and assemble vehicles. It also offers improvements and methods to improve current production programs with smart packaging, improved reliability, upgradeability and super-fuel-efficient vehicles. The following innovations cover a wide array of inventions, from manufacturing vehicle bodies, assembling scalable chassis, providing mobile power, streamlining manufacturing process, and creating chassis stacking, smart electrical systems, plug-and-play chassis frame modules, electric vehicle development platforms, and vehicle body connections, power, and controls.

7,597,169 Wheel module

A wheel module is configured for use on a vehicle chassis. A drivable vehicle includes a wheel module operatively connected to a vehicle chassis. The wheel module includes at least one non-rotating structural unit, a rotatable wheel controllably connected to the structural unit, a vehicle attachment interface operatively connected to the non-rotating structural unit including a load-bearing vehicle retention coupling and a control signal receiver. The wheel module further includes chassis components including at least one of a brake system, steering system, motor and suspension system operatively connected to the non-rotating structural unit and to the wheel, and operatively connected to the control signal receiver for controlling the wheel in response to non-mechanical control signals received through the control signal receiver.

7,281,600 Pre-Engineered Frame Portion and Method of Use Therefor

A vehicle chassis includes a structural frame having a frame portion that partially defines an open space and that has a predetermined configuration such that the open space maintains a predetermined amount of spatial integrity in the event of a horizontal impact to the vehicle chassis. The frame also includes a frame component operatively connected to the frame portion that further defines the structural frame. The open space provides a protected packaging space wherein certain critical chassis components are placed. The frame portion configuration provides a pre-engineered protected area that may be used in a variety of structural frame configurations. Accordingly, a method for using pre-engineered frame portions is provided.

7,441,615 Modular Chassis with Simplified Body-Attachment Interface

A chassis having systems responsive to a nonmechanical control signals and a simplified body-attachment interface includes preassembled modules to enhance ease and simplicity of chassis assembly. The chassis is preferably configured to minimize the possibility of a preassembled module being incorrectly positioned within the chassis. Methods for advantageously employing preassembled modules to assemble vehicle chassis are also provided.

6,899,194 Lower Vehicle Body Structure and Method of Use Therefor

A lower vehicle body structure for a vehicle body defining an interior space includes structural elements that extend higher than the lower extent of the interior space. The structural elements protect the spatial integrity of the interior space by being sufficiently configured and positioned to receive a load at a point higher than the lower extent of the interior space from an impact to the vehicle body. The vehicle body is configured to be mateable with a chassis having systems that are responsive to non-mechanical control signals. A method for advantageously using pre-engineered lower body structures as a common base for bodies of varying styles, types, and configurations is also provided.

6,923,282 Chassis Subassembly Module and Method for Using Same

A chassis subassembly module having a portion of a chassis structural frame and vehicular componentry facilitates the assembly of a chassis having systems responsive to non-mechanical control signals and a simplified body-attachment interface. A method of employing chassis subassembly modules to assemble chassis is also provided.

6,935,449 Vehicle Electrical Distribution System and Method of Use Therefor

An electrical distribution system for a vehicle having electrical devices includes at least one junction box and a plurality of terminals interconnected by at least one conductive path. The electrical distribution system operatively interconnects the electrical devices when the electrical devices are appropriately connected to the electrical distribution system via the terminals. A method for advantageously using an electrical distribution system having sufficient terminals and sufficient conductive paths to accommodate a plurality of vehicle electrical device combinations is also provided.

6,948,226 Chassis Frame Packaging Cavity Loading Method

A method of assembling a vehicle chassis includes providing a vehicle frame having a plurality of packaging cavities opening in a plurality of different directions, mounting vehicle hardware components toward openings in the packaging cavities and installing the vehicle hardware components into operative positions in their packaging cavities. The installation of the vehicle hardware components and their respective packaging cavities may be arranged to make the components removable from the frame in respective ones of the different directions.

6,935,658 Chassis Frame Module and Method of Use for Same

A structural frame for a vehicle chassis includes transversely-oriented unitary structural members interconnecting at least three longitudinally-oriented elongated members. The use of unitary structural members and elongated members provides flexibility in assembling structural frames of differing configurations. Correspondingly, a method of assembling structural frames having transversely-oriented unitary structural members interconnecting at least three longitudinally-oriented elongated members is provided.

6,726,438 Chassis Stacking
A vehicle chassis having substantially all of the mechanical, electrical, and structural componentry necessary for a fully functional vehicle includes at least an energy conversion system, a steering system, and a braking system. The chassis is configured for matability with a variety of different types or styles of vehicle bodies. Various prior art mechanical control linkages between a driver and controlled systems are replaced with non-mechanical control signal transmission components. Fuel cell technology is also implemented. A substantially flat and relatively thin vehicle chassis enables compact storage of multiple vehicle chassis. This compact storage is achieved by high density vertical stacking of the vehicle chassis, which improves packaging and shipping efficiency, reduces plant floor usage for storage during or before testing, assembly or shipping processes, and may reduce overall manufacturing, assembly, shipping, and/or vehicle costs. The chassis is characterized by the absence of a front engine compartment, with energy conversion, energy storage, steering and braking systems contained substantially within a generally flat frame, having substantially flat upper and lower faces to facilitate optimal stacking efficiency.

7,028,791 Mobile Chassis and Interchangeable Vehicle Body with a HVAC System

A mobile chassis for vehicle body interchangeability has a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system packaged in a rolling platform. The system is connected to a power train cooling loop for waste heat circulation and to an electric air conditioning compressor for cooling. Supplemental heating elements are utilized for additional heating loads. Airflow from the HVAC system flows into the vehicle body through single or multiple passthroughs from the rolling platform. The air is then distributed through a ducting system in the vehicle body. The ducting system utilizes floor structure, seat structure, body pillars, or other designed forms so that the airflow is positioned and directed as desired.

7,083,016 Mobile Chassis and Interchangeable Vehicle Body with Waste Heat Rejection

A mobile chassis for vehicle body interchangeability has a waste heat rejection system packaged in a rolling platform. The system is connected to a powertrain cooling loop for waste heat circulation. The cooling loop includes cooling fin heat exchangers on the sides of the rolling platform and another heat exchanger in the HVAC system for utilizing otherwise waste heat in the air conditioning of each vehicle body being interchanged.

6,986,401 Systems Packaged within Flat Vehicle Chassis

A vehicle chassis includes a braking system, an energy conversion system, a steering system and a suspension system wherein each system is operably connected to at least one of a plurality of wheels. The systems are packaged substantially within a substantially flat vehicle frame to provide a substantially flat chassis. The flatness of the chassis increases available passenger space in any attached vehicle body and facilitates compatibility between the chassis and bodies of varying configurations.

New Vehicle Driving Control Patents

 

Driving is the key to mobility, yet we have been driving the same way for nearly 100 years with very little modifications or improvements. Of course, the introduction of power steering made steering the vehicle easier, and the creation of movable pedals and steering wheels offered a new way for drivers to re-position their physical relationship to the vehicle. Now, with the introduction of by-wire systems, driving can become safer and easier. By-wire systems also offer a world of benefits to handicapped and challenged drivers. With new features, new designs, and new systems, new methods can be introduced. And that’s exactly what’s happened—it turns out that by restarting the idea of driving, there is a whole lot more we can do.

As we’ve explored new unique ways to drive, steer, orient, control, and software-tune vehicles, a new series of novel devices and methods has developed. The following innovations cover the ability to use software and electronic signals to modify and control an automobile. With drive-by-wire and onboard vehicle electrical architecture systems, new controls can quickly and more accurately respond to road conditions and to inputs of electronic steering devices, electronic braking devices, and acceleration devices. By using integrated electronics, significant improvements in programmable and adaptive systems can be made. Some of these driver interface inventions have been proven to be safer—and enable vehicles to stop faster—than traditional steering wheels and foot pedals.

7,841,673 Vehicle braking system

A vehicle braking system is responsive to vehicle conditions to alter the response of the braking system for a given driver input. In one mode, the vehicle conditions are conditions that are indicated by sensor in real time. In another mode, the vehicle conditions are historical conditions, such as trends, patterns, etc. The braking system provides braking responses that are appropriate for vehicle conditions and enables personalization of the braking system to accommodate individual driver characteristics.

6,991,060 Vehicle Having a Movable Driving Position

A vehicle has multiple movable driving positions resulting from a seat which is movable with respect to the vehicle chassis and has a driver’s vehicle interface which moves with the seat. A wire bundle interconnects the driver’s vehicle interface with controls for driving the vehicle. In one embodiment, a carousel rotates and a seat on the carousel revolves and rotates so that the seat continues to face forward.

6,898,496 Pivoting Arm Driver Control Input Device

A driver control input device includes first and second base members with first and second control members each configured to support an arm of a driver and each pivotally movable with respect to the base members in a generally horizontal plane. The control members are operatively engaged with a steer-by-wire system such that pivotal movement of the first and second control members causes steering control signals to be sent to the steer-by-wire system. The control members may also be longitudinally slidably supported with respect to the base members to generate acceleration and braking signals.

6,880,855 Rotary Driver Control Input Device

A driver control input device includes first and second rotatable hand grips positioned within first and second rotatable rings, respectively, for rotation with respect to first and second support members. The rotatable rings are operatively engaged with a steer-by-wire system for sending steering control signals to the steer-by-wire system. The hand grips may also include acceleration and braking demand mechanisms in various combinations.

6,827,174 Driver Control Input Device Having Opposing Movable Posts for Steering

A driver control input device includes left and right control posts each having a hand grip. The control posts are movable forwardly and rearwardly and are sufficiently linked together such that forward movement of one control post will result in an equal and opposite rearward movement of the other control post to facilitate sending non-mechanical steering signals to a steer-by-wire system to which the control input device is attached. Accelerator demand input mechanisms and braking demand input mechanisms may also be positioned on the hand grips for generating non-mechanical acceleration and braking signals.

6,997,281 Driver Control Input Device for Drive-By-Wire Vehicle

A vehicle driver control input device includes a non-rotatable wheel having at least one track. First and second hand grips are movably engaged with the track so that the first and second hand grips are movable along the track to facilitate sending steering signals to a steer-by-wire system of a vehicle. At least one of the first and second hand grips has an accelerator demand input mechanism to facilitate sending acceleration signals to an energy conversion system of the vehicle. At least one of the first and second hand grips have a braking demand input mechanism to facilitate sending braking signals to a brake-by-wire system of the vehicle. Alternatively, the wheel and hand grips may rotate with respect to a support post to facilitate generating steering signals.

7,509,195 Driver Control Input Device for Drive-By-Wire System

A driver control input device includes a support post and a steering ring rotatably supported with respect to the support post. A steering transducer is operatively connected between the steering ring and support post to convert mechanical rotation of the steering ring into non-mechanical steering control signals to be sent to a steer-by-wire system. A braking ring and acceleration ring may also be provided for generating non-mechanical braking and acceleration control signals.

6,971,471 Multi-Directional Drive

A vehicle is capable of being driven in a plurality of forward directions, the direction of travel being a function of the forward-facing orientation of a movable seat or movement of the driver to a different seat. The vehicle includes a frame, at least three wheels, a steering system, a braking system and an energy conversion system operable with respect to at least one of the wheels and controllable through non-mechanical control means. The vehicle has at least one movable seat connected to the frame and at least one operator interface operably connected to at least one of the steering system, braking system and energy conversion system that is usable to drive the vehicle in different directions when the seat is moved. A control cockpit for use on a vehicle controllable through non-mechanical controls includes a panel with a passageway, a movable seat mounted on the panel with a second passageway in communication with the first passageway, a driver interface that is movable with respect to the seat and usable for operating the vehicle via a connector connected at one end to the driver interface and extending through the first and second passageways.

6,948,740 Vehicle with Multiple Driver Interfaces

A vehicle driver control input assembly includes a seat with a steering wheel structure configured to provide non-mechanical steering signals to a steer-by-wire system. The steering wheel structure is collapsible underneath the seat for storage. First and second movable arm structures are connected to opposing sides of the seat and are movable between an upright position for use and a lowered position for storage. The movable arm structures include control input members to provide non-mechanical steering signals to the steer-by-wire system. A plurality of selectable driver control input devices may be interchangeably connected with the vehicle to provide steering, braking and/or acceleration signals to the vehicle as desired.

7,142,963 Driver Control Input Device for Drive-By-Wire System

A driver control input device includes a support post and a steering ring rotatably supported with respect to the support post. A steering transducer is operatively connected between the steering ring and support post to convert mechanical rotation of the steering ring into non-mechanical steering control signals to be sent to a steer-by-wire system. A braking ring and acceleration ring may also be provided for generating non-mechanical braking and acceleration control signals.

Vehicle Interior Patents

 

When looking at the future of transportation, it appears there is a lot of room for innovation in creating new automotive interiors with new components, systems, and technologies to improve the user experience within the inside of the vehicle.

The interior is where people live, converse, and drive. From this highly interactive space, there are advancements that can be made to increase functionality, spaciousness, safety, design, and comfort. In terms of reinventing interiors, here are several of Adrian’s many inventions (for which a handful of patents were applied and awarded). The following covers improvements such as vehicle entertainment, adaptive foot pedals, easy-to-access door systems, adaptive seating, novel and reconfigurable storage solutions, headrests, informative driving controls, storage solutions, heating and cooling.

7,213,673 Reconfigurable By-Wire Foot Pedals

A vehicle chassis having substantially all of the mechanical, electrical and structural componentry necessary for a fully functional vehicle, including at least energy conversion system, a steering system and a braking system. The chassis is configured for releasable engagement with a variety of different types or styles of vehicle bodies. Various prior art mechanical control linkages between a driver and controlled systems are replaced with non-mechanical control signal transmission components. Fuel cell technology is also implemented. A system for adjustable, reconfigurable foot pedals is also shown for generating driver input to the by-wire braking systems and energy conversion systems and for providing control and comfort for the driver and/or a passenger.

7,159,931 Automotive Roof Rack and Accessories

An integrally designed roof rack and roof panel attached to a vehicle may be formed using quick plastic forming (QPF) and superplastic forming processing (SPF). A number of vehicle accessories such as luggage containers, fuel tanks, consoles, door attachments, truck beds and table trays may be formed using QPF processes. The items may be installed and movable onto and off the vehicle. A variety of QPF processes may be employed, enabling the vehicle accessory to meet required strength, dimensional, and shape considerations. Additionally, component integration is enabled by using QPF processes.

7,401,838 Reconfigurable Sun Visor

A vehicle sun visor comprises a support frame pivotally connected to the vehicle roof. A sun visor panel is chosen from any array of different available sun visor panels having different occupant convenience features. An attachment is provided for removably attaching the chosen sun visor panel onto the support frame and enables subsequent removal of that chosen sun visor panel from the support and then the attachment to the support frame of a different chosen sun visor panel having different convenience feature content.

7,096,986 Mobile Chassis and Interchangeable Vehicle Body with Ram Air System

An improved body configuration for a vehicle having an aerodynamic configuration and defining a pair of longitudinally extending air flow channels at the opposite sides of the body and inwardly of the outer periphery of the fenders for achieving good air flow. A front bridging member is formed that defines a grille having a pair of air scoops which form an aerodynamic device for assisting in the air flow. The engine compartment is defined by a rearwardly opening extractor section for drawing air from the engine compartment and a forwardly extending exhaust system receives the exhaust gases from the engine and discharges them to the atmosphere. A belly pan provides smooth air flow through the area beneath the vehicle and includes air scoops for receiving and discharging cooling air.

7,513,007 Vehicle Storage Console

A storage console for a vehicle includes a vacuum cleaner. In an exemplary embodiment, the console includes an interface at which the vacuum cleaner is releasably affixed to the console. The console may include a hose operatively connected to the vacuum cleaner whereby suction from the vacuum cleaner is transferred through the hose. The interface may include electrical contacts for recharging a battery in the vacuum cleaner.

6,857,498 Console with Driver's Interface

A drive-by-wire control console for a vehicle has a transversely movable control module on a transversely movable, elongated beam which is supported on a longitudinally movable support column which supports the elongated beam. The control module includes steering devices and display screens for vital vehicle information.

7,448,678 Active Material Actuated Headrest Assemblies

A headrest assembly including active material drivenly coupled to a headrest component, such as for example, an interior frame member, bag, or gear device ,wherein the material is actuated upon receipt of an activation signal, and configured to morph, reposition, reduce the resistance of, change a modulus property of, or otherwise modify an engaging surface defined by the headrest when actuated, and autonomously restore the headrest upon the deactivation of the material.

7,494,170 Vehicle Instrument Panel having Movable Storage Compartment

An instrument panel for a vehicle defines a cavity. A storage console is selectively movable within the cavity to provide enhanced accessibility of stored items within the storage console. In an exemplary embodiment, the storage console is a drawer that is selectively movable from a stowed position inside the cavity to an extended position outside the cavity for access by a vehicle user in a passenger compartment. In another exemplary embodiment, the console is movable between an elevated position in which the console occupies space inaccessible to a vehicle user, and a lowered position in which the console is accessible through an opening in the instrument panel.

8,052,188 Active material enabled self-presenting devices

A self-presenting device includes, a member in physical communication with a vehicle surface, wherein the member is configured to have a first form and a second form, wherein the first form is configured to store the member and the second form is configured to present the member, and an active material in operable communication with the member, wherein the active material is configured to undergo a change in at least one property upon receipt of an activation signal, wherein the change in at least one property is effective to transition the member from the first form to the second form.

7,987,030 Vehicle illumination system and method

An apparatus and method for illuminating a vehicle including a light source connected to an illuminatable component such as an interior or exterior vehicle door handle or steering wheel, and a control system including a plurality of sensors that monitor the vehicle and surroundings for predetermined conditions and selectively illuminate the component as a means of conveying information or warnings about the vehicle or its surroundings. Illumination may be enhanced by other auditory signals such as audio alarms or vibration. Predetermined conditions may include the proximity of a vehicle user, key fob activation or proximity, input from an entertainment system, activation of a pressure sensor, the presence of a person or object in proximity to the vehicle, or the vehicle’s ignition or gear state.

7,761,209 Obstruction Detection Device for Vehicle Door and Method

An obstruction detection device for a motor vehicle having a door assembly movably connected to a vehicle body is provided. The device controls the vehicle door’s opening angle to prevent inadvertent contact with an object foreign to the vehicle, while providing the largest opening for vehicle ingress and egress. The obstruction detection device includes a controller that is operatively connected to at least one sensor configured to actively monitor and transmit signals to the controller indicative of the presence and corresponding proximity of the object relative to the door assembly. An actuator is operatively connected to and controlled by the controller. The actuator is configured to apply a selectively variable force that restricts the movement of the vehicle door assembly with respect to the vehicle body when the door is a predetermined distance from the object.

7,594,697 Active Material Actuated Headrest Assemblies

A headrest assembly including active material drivenly coupled to a headrest component, such as for example, an interior frame member, bag, or gear device wherein the material is actuated upon receipt of an activation signal, and configured to morph, reposition, reduce the resistance of, change a modulus property of, or otherwise modify an engaging surface defined by the headrest when actuated, and autonomously restore the headrest upon the deactivation of the material.

Vehicle Architecture Patents

 

Structures are the structural bones and architecture of the automobile: they hold the vehicle together while simultaneously offering access, entry, and egress. In reinventing the automobile, structures become a significant player. Here are several of Adrian’s many inventions that build on advancements in manufacturing processes and technologies to enable and create new structural elements that improve structural worthiness and modular assembly, increase design flexibility and vehicle branding vocabulary, and reduce vehicle weight.

It is important to note that many of these creative breakthroughs came from looking at design as a technology enabler. New solutions arrive when mental perspectives of observation are changed! From vehicle access to body structures, the Reinvention of the Automobile patents cover a wide range of closures and assembly and manufacturing processes including super plastic forming or QPF. The construction methods covered by these patents also streamline the design, build, assembly, and repair of advanced automotive systems. The following includes innovations in easy-to-access door systems, modular doors, integrated assemblies, structural reinforced panels, smart folding structures, consolidated metal body panels, and unified vehicle panels.

7,097,229 Vehicle Closure System

A vehicle includes a body and a door closure system. The closure system includes a first door pivotably connected with respect to the vehicle body for selective movement between open and closed positions. A second door is movably connected with respect to the vehicle body. In a first configuration, the first door is in the closed position such that the first door obstructs a first portion of a body opening and the second door is in a first position such that the second door obstructs a second portion of the body opening. In a second configuration, the first door is in the closed position and the second door is in a second position such that at least a portion of the second door inner surface opposes the first door outer surface.

6,805,397 Vehicle Door

A vehicle door includes various features that enable a thin door profile not achievable with the prior art. The vehicle door includes an inner panel, an outer panel, and a reinforcement member between the inner panel and the outer panel. Door hardware, including at least a window regulator, is connected to the reinforcement member such that the door hardware is outboard of a window, thereby enabling the inner panel to be positioned in close proximity to the window.

7,140,672 Integrated Front Assembly

Front structure for a vehicle includes a unitary panel formed to define a vehicle cowl and a vehicle bulkhead. The vehicle cowl may form an air intake plenum. The unitary panel is configured to at least partially define a front compartment of the vehicle. An alternative unitary panel is formed to define a hood having inner and outer panel portions and, optionally, fenders. Another alternative unitary panel is formed to define a cowl, a bulkhead and a hood. The preferable method for forming the panels is quick plastic forming, superplastic forming or sheet hydroforming.

7,040,688 Vehicle Door

A vehicle door includes an inner panel having strengthening corrugations to function as an impact beam, thereby negating the need for a separate impact beam. The inner panel is preferably characterized by a generally concave shape to increase vehicle interior space compared to prior art doors. A forming technique employing fluid pressure is preferably employed to form the inner panel.

7,032,958 - Body and Frame Assembly for a Vehicle and Method of Assembling a Vehicle

A body and frame assembly for a vehicle includes a one-piece inner member mated with a one-piece outer member, the inner member and the outer member defining door openings at opposing sides of the vehicle. The inner member and the outer member may each include a roof panel portion and two side frame portions. A method of assembling a vehicle that includes the body and frame assembly includes forming each of the inner and outer members by quick plastic forming, super plastic forming or hydroforming. Preferably, the inner member and the outer member are each formed from a separate single sheet of aluminum.

6,886,885 Rear and Side Panel Assembly for a Vehicle and a Method of Assembling

A rear and side panel assembly for a vehicle body may include a one-piece inner body panel member mated with a one-piece outer body panel member, the body panels cooperating to at least partially define wheel well openings at opposing sides of the vehicle. The inner body panel member may include an inner rear panel portion with opposite ends, a first inner side panel portion at one end and a second inner side panel portion at the opposed end, with the inner side panel portions extending generally frontward from the inner rear panel portion. The outer body panel member may include an outer rear panel portion with opposite ends, a first outer side panel portion at one end and a second outer side panel portion at the opposed end, with the outer side panel portions extending generally frontward from the outer rear panel portion. A method of assembling a vehicle including the rear and side panel assembly described above may include forming the inner body panel member and forming the outer body panel member by quick plastic forming, super plastic forming or hydroforming. The method may further include bending the inner and outer body panel members, and mounting the inner and outer body panels to each other such that the outer body panel member substantially covers the outer face of the inner body panel member.

7,111,900 Vehicle Floor Having a Unitary Inner Panel and Outer Panel

A vehicle floor includes a unitary, one-piece panel. The panel is formed with an integral channel for routing a vehicle distribution system conduit there within. The panel may include an inner panel portion, an outer panel portion, integral rocker panel portions, front, rear and trunk floor portions. A method is provided for manufacturing a vehicle floor, the method including forming such a panel.

6,843,336 Vehicle Belly Pan

A vehicle chassis having substantially all of the mechanical, electrical, and structural componentry necessary for a fully functional vehicle includes at least an energy conversion system, a steering system, and a braking system. The chassis is configured for matability with a variety of different types or styles of vehicle bodies. Various prior art mechanical control linkages between a driver and controlled systems are replaced with non-mechanical control signal transmission components. Fuel cell technology is also implemented. A quick plastic formed (QPF) rigid sheet (belly pan) includes cavities formed therein to facilitate attachment of various components of the energy conversion system, energy storage system, braking system, steering system, etc.

7,310,878 Automotive Lower Body Component Method of Manufacture

A vehicle development process is characterized by enhanced market responsiveness by decoupling the development of the chassis from the development of vehicle bodies. The chassis and bodies are provided with a common, standardized interface system so that a single chassis design or a family of chassis designs may receive any of a variety of different body types thereon. Accordingly, the chassis are designed to enable the bodies to be designed and produced independently. The bodies are designed and manufactured all over the world to meet different consumer desires. Designers are able to redesign vehicle bodies without re-engineering the entire vehicle. The freedom to design, develop and distribute vehicle bodies more quickly with greater design freedom enables the manufacturer to be more responsive to local, regional and global market needs.

Consumer Products Patents

7,267,455 Device for viewing media through falling liquid

An apparatus for viewing an object through falling liquid includes structure defining a chamber for at least partially containing the object. At least one transparent or translucent member further defines the chamber. A conduit defines at least one hole positioned such that the transparent or translucent member is between the falling water and the chamber. The object is thus viewable by an observer through the falling liquid, and the member protects the object from the falling liquid.

10 Awarded International Patents

WO03054500    Wheel module
WO03049964    Modular chassis with simplified body attachment interface
WO03019328    Methods of conducting vehicle business transactions
WO03019309    Vehicle chassis having programmable operating characteristics and method for using same
WO03018373    Vehicle chassis having systems responsive to non-mechanical control signals
WO03018359    Vehicle chassis having systems responsive to non-mechanical control signals
WO03018361    Vehicle chassis having systems responsive to non-mechanical control signals
WO03018358    Vehicle-body configurations
WO03018345    Fuel cell vehicle with by-wire technology
WO03018337    Vehicle body interchangeability

33 Published Pending Patent Applications

20110121607   Method of using an active material based on concealment assembly
20080053739   Pre-Engineered Frame portion and method of use therefor
20070118259   Vehicle Seat
20050189790   Automotive side frame and upper structure and method of manufacture
20050179242   Vehicle front seat configuration
20050173073   Labeling apparatus with elastic loop
20050110327   Vehicle seat
20050067889   Brake-by-wire input device arrangement
20050049944   Vehicle body interchangeability
20050046227   Vehicle door
20050046226   Vehicle bumper and method of making same
20050001455   Body and frame assembly for a vehicle and method of assembling a vehicle
20040216386   Vehicle door having unitary inner panel and outer panel
20040194280   Rolling chassis and assembled bodies
20040189054   Vehicle body configurations
20040164577   Adjustable armrest
20040163859   Vehicle having systems responsive to non-mechanical control signals
20040149500   Pre-engineered frame portion and method of use therefor
20040099468   Driver control input device for drive-by-wire vehicle
20040069556   Chassis frame module and method of use for same
20040066025   Frontal impact energy dissipation zone
20040018632   Hydrogen processing unit for fuel cell storage systems
20030127261   Wheelchair mobility system and method
20030094320   Vehicle body interchangeability
20030094319   Vehicle body interchangeability
20030040979   Methods of conducting vehicle business transactions
20030040828   Accelerated vehicle development process
20030038470   Mobile chassis and interchangeable vehicle body with a hvac system
20030038442   Vehicle chassis having programmable operating characteristics and method for using same
20030037987   Vehicle having systems responsive to non-mechanical control signals
20030037975   Vehicle chassis having systems responsive to non-mechanical control signals
20030037973   Fuel cell powered chassis mobile electrical source and method of use thereof
20030037970   Vehicle chassis having systems responsive to non-mechanical control signals

11 International Patents Applications Pending

DE102008040001   Active Material based Concealment Assemblies
DE112007000947   Active Material Actuated Headrest Assemblies
DE102008023786   Obstruction Detection Device for Vehicle Door and Method
DE200810011888   Active material enabled self-presenting devices
WO2007121422   Active material actuated headrest assemblies
DE102007001942   Reconfigurable sun visor
WO2004048183   Load-bearing body panel assembly for a motor vehicle
WO2004049161   Data collection and manipulation apparatus and method
DE102006024194   Vehicle illumination system and method
DE200510018558   Variable seat belt
DE200410040272   Vehicle door

Patents in Use Examples

  1. Onstar, the world’s most comprehensive in-vehicle security, communications, and diagnostics system, is using patent 6,745,153, which is Data Collection and Manipulation Apparatus and Method for Comprehensive Vehicle Diagnostics. This system enables health check-ups on vehicle systems and can anticipate vehicle services by notifying owners that a check-up or preventative maintenance visit is needed. As quoted from Onstar.com: “OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics is a comprehensive, automatic diagnostics systems check-and-report service; it is now available on most new GM vehicles. OnStar will collect diagnostic information about some of your vehicle’s key operating systems about every 30 days while you drive. Then you’ll receive reports and scheduled maintenance alerts.” 

  2. Ford’s inflatable seat belts (7,258,188: Variable Seat Belt) will debut on Ford’s next generation of Ford Explorers. Although this patent covers the next generation with respect to smart materials and seating advancements, it promotes new safety and comfort for occupants and drivers by inflating their seat belts upon impact. Referencing the Ford Motor Companies Press Release with Industry’s First Inflatable Seatbelt dated November 5, 2009: “The advanced restraint system is designed to help reduce head, neck, and chest injuries for rear-seat passengers, often children and older passengers who can be more vulnerable to such injuries. … The inflated belt helps distribute crash force energy across five times more of the occupant’s torso than a traditional belt. This expands [this belt’s] range of protection and reduces risk of injury by diffusing crash pressure over a larger area while [at the same time] providing additional support to the head and neck.  After deployment, the belt remains inflated for several seconds before dispersing its air through the pores of the air bag.” 

  3. Joysteer is using an advanced by-wire driver control system to enable handicapped and impaired drivers to steer, brake, and accelerate. It utilizes patent 6,880,855: Rotary Driver Control Input Device. This allows driving to become safer and easier by providing a mid-wrist rotation axis (thereby decoupling the lateral forces) and allowing accelerating and braking by variable switches. Per the Joysteer.ch website, the ”Joysteer won the Swiss Technology Award in 2005 for its electronic driving system for people with physical disabilities. Due to drivers’ individually adaptable input devices, Joysteer provides a reliable and easy-to-operate driving solution for a wide range of disabilities.”

  4. Seimens eCorner motor-in-hub concept  as well as MIT Media Lab’s Robot Wheel (Integrated in-Wheel Motor Module) use drive, steering, braking, and suspension functions utilizes patent 7,398,846: Vehicle Wheel System. For Siemens VDO, a division of Siemens AG, “eCorner replaces the conventional wheel suspension with hydraulic shock absorbers, mechanical steering, hydraulic brakes and, above all, conventional internal combustion engines. For car owners, eCorner translates into improved fuel mileage, more safety, and greater convenience. eCorner provides designers with all-new freedom to create future cars with an electric drivetrain and electronic control. During the next decade, this system will integrate all systems into the wheel with the exception of electronic shock absorbers and electronic steering. The combustion engine won’t have to disappear completely for the time being: it will be able to provide the necessary electrical power for flexible long-distance vehicles.” Youtube Video

  5. Trexa electric vehicle platform leverages a plethora of Adrian’s patents, including patent 7,000,318: Method of Designing and Manufacturing Vehicles, patent 6,986,401: Systems Packaged within a Flat Vehicle Chassis, patent 6,959,475: Vehicle Body Business Methods, and patent 6,905,138: Chassis with Energy-Absorption Zones. The Trexa EV platform has energy-absorbing front, rear and side impact zones, lithium-ion batteries, and programmable electronics, and it encloses the vehicle’s drivetrain in a low-profile aluminum frame structure. It also has customizable range, suspension, torque, acceleration, top speed, and a range of vehicle lengths. The Trexa is scheduled be introduced by 2011; Seth Seaberg, Founder and CEO of Trexa, says the base model will cost $15,999.