US20100096052A1 - Emergency vehicle shelter - Google Patents

Emergency vehicle shelter Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100096052A1
US20100096052A1 US12/642,442 US64244209A US2010096052A1 US 20100096052 A1 US20100096052 A1 US 20100096052A1 US 64244209 A US64244209 A US 64244209A US 2010096052 A1 US2010096052 A1 US 2010096052A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
cover
vehicle
inflation
pockets
emergency
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US12/642,442
Inventor
Sandra Graham
Original Assignee
Sandra Graham
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US10/842,084 priority Critical patent/US20050246964A1/en
Priority to US11/622,393 priority patent/US7640698B2/en
Application filed by Sandra Graham filed Critical Sandra Graham
Priority to US12/642,442 priority patent/US20100096052A1/en
Publication of US20100096052A1 publication Critical patent/US20100096052A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60JWINDOWS, WINDSCREENS, NON-FIXED ROOFS, DOORS, OR SIMILAR DEVICES FOR VEHICLES; REMOVABLE EXTERNAL PROTECTIVE COVERINGS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR VEHICLES
    • B60J11/00Removable external protective coverings specially adapted for vehicles or parts of vehicles, e.g. parking covers
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04HBUILDINGS OR LIKE STRUCTURES FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES; SWIMMING OR SPLASH BATHS OR POOLS; MASTS; FENCING; TENTS OR CANOPIES, IN GENERAL
    • E04H15/00Tents or canopies, in general
    • E04H15/02Tents combined or specially associated with other devices
    • E04H15/06Tents at least partially supported by vehicles
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04HBUILDINGS OR LIKE STRUCTURES FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES; SWIMMING OR SPLASH BATHS OR POOLS; MASTS; FENCING; TENTS OR CANOPIES, IN GENERAL
    • E04H15/00Tents or canopies, in general
    • E04H15/20Tents or canopies, in general inflatable, e.g. shaped, strengthened, or supported by fluid pressure
    • E04H2015/202Tents or canopies, in general inflatable, e.g. shaped, strengthened, or supported by fluid pressure with inflatable panels, without inflatable tubular framework
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10STECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10S52/00Static structures, e.g. buildings
    • Y10S52/12Temporary protective expedient
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC
    • Y10STECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y10S52/00Static structures, e.g. buildings
    • Y10S52/14Shelter shaped to article configuration

Abstract

An emergency vehicle shelter including an inflatable bladder configured for nested engagement with a vehicle for covering the vehicle's upper and outer surfaces. The bladder may be inflated by a remotely activated inflation unit. Provision is made in the bladder member to allow a vehicle operator to reenter the vehicle for shelter from inclement weather.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO PRIOR APPLICATION
  • This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/842,084, filed May 10, 2004.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention is generally directed toward vehicle covers. In particular, the present invention is directed toward a vehicle cover which may be quickly installed with minimal effort for the protection of the exterior surface of the vehicle in the event of a hazardous weather situation.
  • 2. Background Information
  • A variety of vehicle covers are available for protecting a vehicle's exterior surface from environmental hazards. Typically, the conventional vehicle cover consists of a single ply of material to protect a vehicle's surface finish from the everyday environment experience in a storage situation, such as sun, wind, rain, dust, and bird droppings among other things. However, clearly something more is needed for protection from the more damaging effects of a hail storm.
  • Even a conservative estimate would place annual repair costs to vehicles from hail damage in the billions of dollars. In an effort to provide a solution, inventors have long attempted to fill the need of a vehicle cover that provides protection to the outer surface of the vehicle from the damaging effects of hail. However, the solutions provided in the prior art fall short of the optimum balance between quick and efficient deployment and maximum protection as need in the event of a sudden hail storm.
  • In effect the prior art reveals two categories of vehicle covers for protecting the surface of a vehicle from the effects of a hail storm. These may adequately be referred to as (1) the padded cover and (2) the inflatable cover. Prior art falling in the padded cover category includes that described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,699,192; 4,807,922; 5,664,825; 6,070,629; and 6,220,648. Although no inflation is needed for these prior art covers, the covers themselves require the use of thick, heavy materials. While this does provide some protection for the vehicle, it also typically provides a bulky, heavy, difficult-to-install cover that is not suitable for an emergency covering of the vehicle body, particularly by a single individual.
  • The second category, or inflatable type covers includes those covers described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,294,483; 5,242,206; 6,044,881; and 6,439,644. These car covers all integrate some type of inflatable envelope; however, all of these covers also fall short of the optimum because they do not provide for single-user emergency deployment. For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 4,294,483 issued to Ferris discloses an inflatable vehicle cover, but the vehicle cover in Ferris is clearly not intended nor capable of emergency use. That is, although a single user may be able to place the deflated cover in Ferris onto a car in an emergency situation such as a hail storm, the individual would also be required to locate bungee strips provided in Ferris and attach to the cover for proper fit to the vehicle. Next, the individual would need to locate an external air compressor (as is the disclosed mechanism for inflation in Ferris), inflate the Ferris cover to the proper level, and shut the compressor off. Finally, the individual would need to seek shelter elsewhere, as Ferris (nor the other prior art examples) provide for reentry into the vehicle for temporary protection from the storm.
  • In view of the limitations associated with the prior art, a substantial need exists for an inflatable vehicle cover for use in emergency situations, which is light, fully covering the vehicle, and allows an individual to re-enter the vehicle for temporary shelter from the elements. Applicant's invention, through a novel combination of component pieces, provides such a jack mechanism.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In view of the foregoing, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved inflatable vehicle cover.
  • It is another object of the present invention to provide an inflatable vehicle cover that provides protection from the force of impacting foreign objects such as hail.
  • It is another object of the present invention to provide an inflatable vehicle cover for quick and easy deployment onto a vehicle for use in emergency situations.
  • It is another object of the present invention to provide an inflatable vehicle cover that may be inflated remotely.
  • It is another object of the present invention to provide an inflatable vehicle cover that automatically shuts off at the proper level of inflation.
  • It is another object of the present invention to provide an inflatable vehicle cover that allows for entry and exit of the vehicle after deployment.
  • In satisfaction of these and other related objectives, the present invention provides an inflatable vehicle cover for protecting the entire body of a vehicle from damage from the force of impacting foreign objects, such as hail. The cover is configured as an inflatable bladder, preferably heat sealed along the edges and in other strategic positions in order to create a plurality of air pockets, all in fluid communication with one another. The cover is ideally constructed of nylon, polyester, polypropylene, acrylic, or other light weight material as will render the cover an easily manageable size and weight. The cover will also preferably contain an integrated receptacle for placement of the cover's light weight inflation unit, which may be operated remotely via a remote control unit. The cover will optimally be configured to allow entrance into or exit from the vehicle, resealing via hook and loop fasteners or the like. The cover may also be configured of clear materials in the areas of vehicle windows to allow an individual seeking shelter inside the vehicle visual contact to monitor his or her surroundings. Finally, the cover of the present invention will contain elasticized edges and/or magnets or other latching mechanisms for retaining the cover in place on the vehicle.
  • In operation, it is foreseen that the present invention will be lightweight and small enough to stow in the trunk, tool box, or behind the seat of a vehicle. As the operator becomes aware of an impending hail storm, the operator removes the lightweight cover from its stowed position and rolls it onto the vehicle in the appropriate configuration. After ensuring that the cover is securely installed onto the vehicle, the operator may then re-enter the vehicle (or take nearby cover if available) and activate the inflation mechanism via a remote control. An internal sensor in the inflation mechanism detects when the volume of air in the cover is at its optimum level and automatically shuts off the device. The inflation process takes less than a minute. The operator may then monitor his or her surroundings from inside the vehicle through the transparent portions of the cover, generally in the location of the existing windows of the vehicle. Finally, once the storm has subsided, the operator may then emerge from the vehicle through the resealable entry port and reverse the process.
  • In summary, then, the inflatable vehicle cover of the present invention may be used in a variety of emergency situations where immediate protection of the vehicle is required, such as in a severe thunderstorm or hail storm. The present invention thus provides a solution to a long-unsolved problem, that of providing emergency protection for the body of a vehicle.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Applicant's invention may be further understood from a description of the accompanying drawings, wherein unless otherwise specified, like referenced numerals are intended to depict like components in the various views.
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the present invention installed on a vehicle.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • Referring to FIG. 1, the inflatable vehicle cover (10) in its preferred embodiment installed to a motor vehicle. Cover (10) is constructed as an inflatable bladder, which when inflated, substantially conforms to the outer shape of all but the underside of a vehicle. Cover (10) is constructed in a one-piece bladder fashion, heat welded at the edges for an airtight seal. Cover (10) is also heat welded at particular points throughout the body to form a plurality of individual air pockets (12), all in fluid communication with one another. In its preferred embodiment, cover (10) is constructed of a thin nylon based material. The innermost surface of cover (10) being configured in a knitted fashion so as to provide a soft surface in contact with the outer surface of a vehicle, such as a knitted nylon. Alternatively, outer cover (10) may be fashioned of other materials as well including, but not limited to polyester, polypropylene, acrylic, or such other light weight material as will render the cover an easily manageable size and weight.
  • Still referring to FIG. 1, cover (10) incorporates integrated compartment (14) to house removable inflation device (16), which snaps into compartment (14) allowing fluid communication of device (16) with the interior of cover (10). In its most preferable form, device (16) is a battery powered air pump; however, it is also contemplated that device (16) may be powered via the vehicles power unit as well. Device (16) may be manually controlled or controlled remotely via control unit (18). Control unit (18) may be one of any of the known varieties of remote control technology such as wired, infrared, or others as known in the art.
  • In addition to the foregoing, still referring to FIG. 1, cover (10) incorporates entry port (20) to allow entrance and exit of the vehicle during or after full deployment of cover (10). Entry port (20) is preferably a slit in the general area of the driver's side door of a motor vehicle. Entry port (20) is resealable via fastening mechanism (22). Fastening mechanism (22) is preferably an industrial hook and loop fastening strip; however, other fastening means such as a zipper of snaps are contemplated as well. Cover (10) is also supplied with transparent regions (24) to allow visual inspection of the environment by an operator that has reentered the motor vehicle. Finally, cover (10) incorporates band member (26) and attachment mechanisms (28) for quickly and efficiently securing cover (10) to a motor vehicle in an emergency situation. Band member (10) is preferably comprised of an elasticized band or the like, and attachment mechanisms (28) are preferably magnetic members. Optionally, band member (26) be comprised of a cable member and locking mechanism for securing cover (10) onto a vehicle for longer periods of time, such as overnight when severe weather is eminent.
  • In operation, cover (10) will be lightweight and small enough to stow in the trunk, tool box, or behind the seat of a vehicle. As the operator becomes aware of an impending hail storm, the operator removes cover (10) from its stowed position and rolls it onto the vehicle in the appropriate configuration. After ensuring that the cover is securely installed onto the vehicle via band member (26) and attachment members (28), the operator may then re-enter the vehicle via entry port (20) and resealing the opening in cover (10) using fastening mechanism (22) (or take nearby cover if available) and activate the inflation device (16) via a remote control (18). An internal sensor in inflation device (16) detects when the volume of air in cover (10) is at its optimum level and automatically shuts off device (16). The inflation process takes less than a minute. The operator may then monitor his or her surroundings from inside the vehicle through the transparent regions (24) in cover (10), generally in the location of the existing windows of the vehicle. Finally, once the storm has subsided, the operator may then emerge from the vehicle through the resealable entry port (20) and reverse the process.
  • Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, this description is not meant to be construed in a limited sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments of the inventions will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon reference to the description of the invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claims will cover such modifications that fall within the scope of the invention.

Claims (13)

1-9. (canceled)
10. An emergency vehicle cover comprising:
an integrated compartment configured to receive and hold an inflation device;
multiple pockets in fluid communication with one another and with the integrated compartment, the pockets configured for nested engagement against a body of a vehicle, the integrated compartment configured to provide fluid communication between the inflation device and the pockets; and
an entry port configured to provide an operator with access to the vehicle through the cover, the entry port re-sealable via a fastener.
11. The emergency vehicle cover of claim 10, wherein the cover further comprises:
one or more magnets configured to hold the cover against the body of the vehicle.
12. The emergency vehicle cover of claim 10, further comprising:
a band member attached to a perimeter of the cover, the band member configured to secure the cover to the vehicle.
13. The emergency vehicle cover of claim 12, wherein the band member comprises one of: (i) an elastic band and (ii) a cable member and a locking mechanism.
14. The emergency vehicle cover of claim 10, wherein the fastener comprises a hook and loop fastening strip.
15. The emergency vehicle cover of claim 10, further comprising:
one or more substantially transparent regions.
16. The emergency vehicle cover of claim 15, wherein the one or more substantially transparent regions comprise multiple transparent regions located proximate to multiple windows of the vehicle.
17. A method comprising:
inserting an inflation device into a vehicle cover, the vehicle cover comprising an integrated compartment receiving the inflation device and multiple pockets in fluid communication with one another and with the integrated compartment, the integrated compartment providing fluid communication between the inflation device and the pockets;
placing the cover on a vehicle such that the pockets of the cover are nested against a body of the vehicle;
inflating the cover using the inflation device;
opening an entry port in the cover, the entry port providing an operator with access to the vehicle through the cover; and
resealing the entry port using a fastener.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein placing the cover on the vehicle comprises:
using one or more magnets to hold the cover against the body of the vehicle.
19. The method of claim 17, wherein placing the cover on the vehicle comprises:
securing the cover to the vehicle using a band member attached to a perimeter of the cover.
20. The method of claim 17, wherein inflating the cover using the inflation device comprises activating the inflation device using a remote control unit.
21. The method of claim 17, wherein inflating the cover using the inflation device comprises fully inflating the cover using the inflation device in one minute or less.
US12/642,442 2004-05-10 2009-12-18 Emergency vehicle shelter Abandoned US20100096052A1 (en)

Priority Applications (3)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US10/842,084 US20050246964A1 (en) 2004-05-10 2004-05-10 Emergency vehicle shelter
US11/622,393 US7640698B2 (en) 2004-05-10 2007-01-11 Emergency vehicle shelter
US12/642,442 US20100096052A1 (en) 2004-05-10 2009-12-18 Emergency vehicle shelter

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US12/642,442 US20100096052A1 (en) 2004-05-10 2009-12-18 Emergency vehicle shelter

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US20120154911A1 (en) * 2010-12-16 2012-06-21 Eric Huynh Car Mirror Cover
US8985672B2 (en) 2011-06-15 2015-03-24 Michael A. Siciliano Inflatable cover
CN104842762A (en) * 2015-06-09 2015-08-19 衢州市依科达节能技术有限公司 Vehicle cover-tent combination body
US20160001647A1 (en) * 2014-07-02 2016-01-07 Zelig - Serviços De Consultadoria Lda Motor vehicle protection system
WO2017219084A1 (en) * 2016-06-21 2017-12-28 Lily Johnstone Dawson Hail protective cover
USD905615S1 (en) * 2019-03-05 2020-12-22 Sarzia Pty Ltd Car cover

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US20070267545A1 (en) * 2005-04-18 2007-11-22 Orr James R Asset protection method and apparatus
US20070252406A1 (en) * 2006-03-20 2007-11-01 Webber Stephen E Car cover and deployment system therefor
GB2460583B (en) * 2007-04-02 2011-09-28 Zippmask Com Pty Ltd Vehicle masking cover
US20120285588A1 (en) * 2011-05-13 2012-11-15 James Sheppard Padded Weather Protection Cover
CN103129356A (en) * 2011-11-23 2013-06-05 张嘉雯 Car cover device
US20130276286A1 (en) * 2012-04-19 2013-10-24 Pro-Tech-It, Llc Vehicle opening coverings
WO2014089176A1 (en) * 2012-12-04 2014-06-12 Letithail, Llc Air-cushioned vehicle cover
US8910998B1 (en) * 2014-03-27 2014-12-16 Srinivas S. Devathi Systems and methods for altering the color, appearance, or feel of a vehicle surface
US9517685B2 (en) 2014-09-18 2016-12-13 Kathleen C. Stelzer Portable vehicle protection device
US9452666B1 (en) 2015-03-12 2016-09-27 John Suh Cushioning assembly
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US6340198B1 (en) * 2000-03-13 2002-01-22 Graciela Benites Multi-part and multi-function cover for selective portions of a vehicle
US6220648B1 (en) * 2000-04-03 2001-04-24 Steven B. Daniel Hail protective shield
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Cited By (7)

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US20120154911A1 (en) * 2010-12-16 2012-06-21 Eric Huynh Car Mirror Cover
US8985672B2 (en) 2011-06-15 2015-03-24 Michael A. Siciliano Inflatable cover
US20160001647A1 (en) * 2014-07-02 2016-01-07 Zelig - Serviços De Consultadoria Lda Motor vehicle protection system
US9561712B2 (en) * 2014-07-02 2017-02-07 Zelig—Serviços De Consultadoria Lda Motor vehicle protection system
CN104842762A (en) * 2015-06-09 2015-08-19 衢州市依科达节能技术有限公司 Vehicle cover-tent combination body
WO2017219084A1 (en) * 2016-06-21 2017-12-28 Lily Johnstone Dawson Hail protective cover
USD905615S1 (en) * 2019-03-05 2020-12-22 Sarzia Pty Ltd Car cover

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US20070107762A1 (en) 2007-05-17

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