Severe Braking Warning System for Vehicles

United States Patent No. 6,249,219 B1

Severe Braking Warning System for Vehicles


A severe braking warning system for a vehicle is described wherein the system is designed to measure a vehicle's rate of motion and, upon deceleration of the vehicle, affect the vehicle's brake light circuit by switching it on and off at a pulse rate proportional to the severity of deceleration. The system comprises an accelerometer, a microprocessor (either an integrated unit or the vehicle's existing unit), transistor, and a switch in communication with the vehicle's existing brake light circuit. The inventive brake light warning system provides a supplemental indication to other vehicles traveling behind of the rate of braking, thereby reducing the possibility of rear-end collisions.

06/19/01 -- We claim:

1. A brake light warning system comprising:

a. an accelerometer programmed to measure deceleration forces exerted on it by a moving vehicle and to transmit varying output signals correlating to said deceleration forces;

b. a microprocessor electrically connected to said accelerometer, said microprocessor programmed to monitor said varying output signals from said accelerometer and create an output signal having a frequency based upon the deceleration forces detected by said accelerometer;

c. a switch electrically connected to said microprocessor and to an existing brake light circuitry of said moving vehicle, said brake light circuitry further connected to said vehicle's brake light indicators, wherein said switch is configured to receive said output signal created by said microprocessor to activate the brake light circuitry on and off simultaneously at a programmed rate correlative to said deceleration forces, thereby causing said brake light indicators to blink on and off at said programmed rate; and

d. said switch further connected to said brake light circuitry such that said switch does not impede normal functioning of said vehicle's brake light indicators during normal braking.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein said switch is a logic-actuated switch.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein said switch is an FET switch.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein said accelerometer comprises a MEMS semiconductor chip.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein said microprocessor is an existing microprocessor of said vehicle.

6. The system of claim 5, wherein said switch is an FET switch.

7. The system of claim 6, wherein said accelerometer comprises a MEMS semiconductor chip. .


Brake lamp warning systems review:

In the interest of promoting safety systems to the auto industry, the USDOT Intelligent Vehicle Initiative program, ITS, IEEE IV, and the American Society of Automotive Engineers, I would like to highlight a few notes with the intent to help shed some light on what the operation of an effective severe braking warning system for vehicles and display should entail. An added benefit to this paper is that recently I found new research and test documentation data with proven results supporting my theory; that is, when we conclude that driver preference shows that blinking, or flashing lights is the most effective measure for providing early warning indication of severe braking alerts.


Earlier, I explained to my wife that I could easily come up with over a thousand reasons why enlarging a brake light display or intensifying its output during severe braking, versus flashing the lights at a rapid rate (3 - 8 cycles per second) would not be consistently interpreted by drivers to produce favorable warning results, or for that matter, become appropriate for use in the 'real-world' mobile application.


Main reason:


During severe braking application, it has been proven that flashing the lights instantly on and off distinctively and effectively catches the trailing driver’s attention, and in contrast to Valeo's and BMW's adaptive brake light system, is technicaly uniform display for application throughout the hundreds of existing automobile, light and heavy vehicle makes and models.


Another important factor to keep in mind, while considering the shortcoming of BMW's intensity light display (or adaptive rear brake lights) system is that it basically functions to operate with the use of 'additional' light emitting diodes. Thus, the BMW adaptive rear light emergency warning system is unfit and unfeasible for retrofit unto older vehicle models employing filament or incandescent light bulbs.


Consider BMW's statement:


"When a BMW 6-Series brakes normally, following drivers will see the brake lights illuminate. When braking is severe, the brake light is bigger and brighter as additional light-emitting diodes are activated. This feature is a valuable road safety benefit. It quickly alerts following drivers to adjust the severity of their own braking action when, for example, fast-moving traffic unexpectedly comes to a sudden halt. Within each of the BMW’s two triangular-shaped rear light clusters, electronics control the operation of 26 fast-acting LEDs. Fifteen of them illuminate under normal braking and a further five, positioned at the top of each light cluster, are activated during severe braking by signals received from a sensor measuring deceleration.”


Consider now when you are actually driving under heavy fog conditions and how the nature of light obstruction will automatically cause a dimming effect on the brake lights. Under foggy conditions light intensity recognition would be severely misinterpreted by the following driver, versus rapidly flashing lights that are distinctly and instantly recognizable as severe stoppage on the road.


For BMW's system to be effective and acceptable on our roads and highways, every automobile, truck, bus, motorcycle, tractor trailer, recreation vehicle, construction vehicles, farm vehicles, trailers, and, not limited to SUV's would have to have the same and identical rear brake light display installed. That is correct, the BMW’s two triangular-shaped rear light clusters, electronics control with the operation of 26 fast-acting LED’s-- It will simply Never happen, rather, I believe adapting the rear center brake light to flash on and off at a programmed rate while making the circuit fail-safe, will ultimately be the answer to the emergency brake light warning issue - and even better yet, adapt all the rear-end lights to operate simultaneously and provide for greater flash visibility of warning.


In considering a universal braking warning system for vehicle’s that is functionally applicable throughout the wide range and spectrum of vehicles, and for providing a working platform across the board for approval by the USDOT, UNECE, Etc., it has been clearly demonstrated and proven that only one effective world-class working standard and approved method will solely prove useful.


Study on the validity of Emergency Brake light Display pdf


Study on the validity of Emergency Brake light Display doc