US20100280711A1 - System and method of using a portable device to recognize a frequent driver - Google Patents

System and method of using a portable device to recognize a frequent driver Download PDF

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US20100280711A1
US20100280711A1 US12/691,968 US69196810A US2010280711A1 US 20100280711 A1 US20100280711 A1 US 20100280711A1 US 69196810 A US69196810 A US 69196810A US 2010280711 A1 US2010280711 A1 US 2010280711A1
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vehicle
driver
device
associated
devices
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US12/691,968
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Shih-Ken Chen
Bakhtiar Brian Litkouhi
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GM Global Technology Operations LLC
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GM Global Technology Operations LLC
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Publication of US20100280711A1 publication Critical patent/US20100280711A1/en
Assigned to WILMINGTON TRUST COMPANY reassignment WILMINGTON TRUST COMPANY SECURITY AGREEMENT Assignors: GM GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY OPERATIONS, INC.
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F7/00Methods or arrangements for processing data by operating upon the order or content of the data handled
    • G06F7/02Comparing digital values
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60RVEHICLES, VEHICLE FITTINGS, OR VEHICLE PARTS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • B60R16/00Electric or fluid circuits specially adapted for vehicles and not otherwise provided for; Arrangement of elements of electric or fluid circuits specially adapted for vehicles and not otherwise provided for
    • B60R16/02Electric or fluid circuits specially adapted for vehicles and not otherwise provided for; Arrangement of elements of electric or fluid circuits specially adapted for vehicles and not otherwise provided for electric constitutive elements
    • B60R16/037Electric or fluid circuits specially adapted for vehicles and not otherwise provided for; Arrangement of elements of electric or fluid circuits specially adapted for vehicles and not otherwise provided for electric constitutive elements for occupant comfort, e.g. for automatic adjustment of appliances according to personal settings, e.g. seats, mirrors, steering wheel
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F7/00Methods or arrangements for processing data by operating upon the order or content of the data handled
    • G06F7/76Arrangements for rearranging, permuting or selecting data according to predetermined rules, independently of the content of the data

Abstract

A system and method for identifying a vehicle driver using a portable electronic device that the driver may be carrying that transmits a unique identification signal, and then using the identification of the driver to automatically put vehicle devices and systems in a desirable pre-set location for that driver. In one embodiment, the portable device is a wireless device employing Bluetooth communications protocol that wirelessly transmits an identification signal received by the vehicle to identify the driver. In another embodiment, the device is a USB device that is plugged into an appropriate USB port in the vehicle that allows the vehicle to identify the driver by the identified signal from the portable device.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application claims the benefit of the priority date of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/173,881, titled System and Method of Using a Portable Device to Recognize a Frequent Driver, filed Apr. 29, 2009.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • This invention relates generally to a system and method for identifying a vehicle driver using a portable electronic device that the driver carries and, more particularly, to a system and method for identifying a vehicle driver using an identification signal transmitted from a portable electronic device that the driver carries, such as a wireless Bluetooth device or a USB device, where identification of the vehicle driver is used to set various vehicle devices and systems to the driver's preference.
  • 2. Discussion of the Related Art
  • Various vehicle systems and devices, such as vehicle mirrors, seats, pedals, radio, etc., are typically set by the vehicle driver for the driver's size and interests to enhance the comfort of the driver while operating the vehicle. Modern vehicles typically allow a vehicle driver to set these various vehicle devices and systems to a particular desirable setting, and then allow the driver to record those settings as pre-sets by activating a storing button so that if the settings are changed from the last time the vehicle driver drove the vehicle, such as by another vehicle driver, then that vehicle driver can activate the pre-sets, such as by pressing the same or another button, so that all of the devices are returned to the desirable position for that driver. Thus, the various vehicle systems and devices can be returned to the desirable location for a particular driver typically by a single action, where multiple pre-set buttons can be provided for multiple drivers.
  • Storing vehicle device pre-sets as described above provides a driver convenience factor, but still requires the driver to perform some operation, such as pressing a button, for the system to recognize the driver. In order to further increase the convenience for the vehicle driver, various systems have been proposed in the art that automatically recognize the vehicle driver and perform some convenience function in response thereto. Various types of systems have been proposed in the art for automatically identifying the vehicle driver, such as biometric sensors, cameras, etc., where the identification of the driver can then be used for various things, including providing previously stored device pre-sets.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In accordance with the teachings of the present invention, a system and method are disclosed for identifying a vehicle driver using a portable electronic device that the driver may be carrying that transmits a unique identification signal, and then using the identification of the driver to automatically put vehicle devices and systems in a desirable pre-set location for that driver. In one embodiment, the portable device is a wireless device employing Bluetooth communications protocol that wirelessly transmits an identification signal received by the vehicle to identify the driver. In another embodiment, the device is a USB device that is plugged into an appropriate USB port in the vehicle that allows the vehicle to identify the driver by the identification signal from the portable device.
  • Additional features of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and appended claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a driver recognition system that recognizes a vehicle driver by an identification signal transmitted by a portable electronic device so as to provide automatic pre-sets of devices on the vehicle;
  • FIG. 2 is a flow-chart diagram showing a process for identifying a portable device on a vehicle driver; and
  • FIG. 3 is a flow-chart diagram showing a process for inputting an identified driver based on a portable device into the vehicle system.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS
  • The following discussion of the embodiments of the invention directed to a system and method for identifying a vehicle driver using a portable electronic device that the driver carries and that transmits a unique ID signal for setting vehicle pre-sets for the driver is merely exemplary in nature, and is in no way intended to limit the invention or its applications or uses.
  • Modern vehicles are becoming increasingly capable of recognizing or accepting various types of Bluetooth devices, such as cellular telephones, laptops, personal data assistants (PDAs), etc. Bluetooth is a communications protocol that allows a device to be wirelessly connected to another device. These types of wireless devices transmit a unique device identification signal that is read by the receiving device to identify it. The present invention proposes a system and method where that unique ID signal is used to identify a vehicle driver who would normally be carrying the device, where the identification of the driver is then used to automatically position vehicle devices and systems to a pre-set location as previously stored for that driver.
  • FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a system 10 for identifying a vehicle driver and then activating or positioning various vehicle devices and systems in response thereto. The system 10 includes a driver recognition and setting management processor 12 that receives signals from various vehicle sub-systems used to recognize the driver and provide signals to the various vehicle devices and sub-systems for setting those devices to the desirable location for the driver who is identified. The system 10 is capable of storing the settings for several vehicle drivers who may drive or operate the vehicle where the settings for the various devices and systems are stored in a driver profile database 14 as provided by the driver recognition and setting management processor 12. The vehicle driver can control the processor 12 to input pre-set or other information, or change settings through a human-vehicle interface (HVI) 32.
  • The driver can be identified by various vehicle device or sub-system settings. For example, the driver can be identified by one or more of the position or settings of vehicle mirrors 20, driver's seat 22, pedal position 24, steering wheel position 26, radio settings 28, and HVAC or climate control settings 30. The various settings for these devices are sent to a local control module (LCM) 18 for each device that then sends the signal for the position and/or setting of the device to a body control module 16. The body control module 16 then sends the position and/or setting signals for the several devices to the processor 12, which uses the combination of the signals to determine which driver is currently in the vehicle. The information about which settings go with which driver are stored in the database 14.
  • The system 10 also includes biometric sensors 34, such as a camera, that can be used to identify the vehicle driver in various ways, as is known to those skilled in the art. Signals received by the biometric sensors 34 identifying the vehicle driver are sent to a biometric ID module 36 that uses the signals to identify the driver. The identification of the driver is then sent to the processor 12 to be stored in the database 14 and to change the settings of the various devices for the identified driver, as discussed above.
  • The system 10 could also include a wireless transceiver 38 that receives wireless communications from various wireless devices 40 that may be operating using the Bluetooth communications protocol through an antenna 42. Signals received from the wireless device 40 will include a unique device ID that is sent to the processor 12 to identify the wireless device 40. That unique ID is associated with a particular vehicle driver as stored in the driver profile database 14 so that the processor 12 can identify the driver by the unique ID from the wireless device 40. The HVI 32 can be used by the vehicle driver to go through a recording process for the particular wireless device 40 so that the processor 12 knows to associate that device with that driver.
  • Alternately, the device carried by the vehicle driver may not be a wireless device, but may be some hard-wired electronic device 44, such as an MP3 player, that is connected to a vehicle port through an appropriate connection, such as a USB connection. The device 44 also would transmit a unique device ID that identifies that device, which is detected by an ID probe 46. The ID probe 46 sends a signal to the processor 12 identifying the device 44 which then accesses the driver profile database 14 to identify the vehicle driver associated with that device, as discussed above. The HVI 32 can be used by the vehicle driver to go through a recording process for the particular hard-wired device 44 so that the processor 12 knows to associate that device with that driver.
  • Once a particular vehicle driver is identified using the wireless device 40 or the hard-wired device 44, that driver's profile can be accessed from the database 14 for any suitable purpose. For example, the processor 12 can send signals to the body control module 16 to control the settings of the various vehicle devices and sub-systems. The body control module 16 disperses the signals to the LCMs 18. For example, the vehicle devices shown that are controlled by the LCMs 18 are the vehicle mirrors 20, the driver's seat 22, the pedal position 24, the steering wheel position 26, the radio settings 28, and the HVAC or climate control settings 30. Other vehicle systems or devices can also be controlled by the body control module 16, such as vehicle suspension tuning, human/machine interface (HMI) default display, etc., in response to identifying a particular vehicle driver. It is noted that the above identified devices and sub-systems are by way of non-limiting examples in that any suitable vehicle system can be controlled for a particular driver when that driver is identified.
  • FIG. 2 is a flow chart diagram 50 showing the algorithm and logic used by the processor 12 for identifying one or more of the portable devices for providing sub-system pre-sets for the vehicle, as discussed above. The transceiver 38, or some other suitable device, will be scanning for signals received from the wireless device 40 or from the device 44 plugged into a USB port in the vehicle at box 52. The algorithm determines whether a device has been located at decision diamond 54, and if not, returns to the box 52 to continue the scanning process. If a device is identified at the decision diamond 54, then the algorithm determines whether multiple devices have been detected at decision diamond 56. For certain occasions, the vehicle driver may enter the vehicle with more than one wireless device or more than one person will enter the vehicle each carrying a separate wireless device that can be received by the transceiver 38. If multiple devices are detected at the decision diamond 56, the algorithm will systematically go through each identification signal that is detected at decision diamond 58 to input each device into the system by going through a list of devices that the processor 12 has received. Each detected device is input into the system to then determine whether that device is associated with a pre-set vehicle driver, and if so, which driver. If only a single device is detected, then the algorithm inputs the device into the system at box 60. If multiple devices are detected, then the algorithm inputs each device into the system at box 62.
  • FIG. 3 is a flow chart diagram 64 showing a process for inputting an identified driver based on the detected devices into the system at the boxes 60 and 62. The algorithm first determines whether the particular device being input is a new device at decision diamond 66, and if not, identifies the ID associated with that device at box 68. If it is a new device at the decision diamond 66, then the algorithm determines whether an ID has been assigned to that device at decision diamond 70 to determine whether to store the device or by-pass the device. If it is determined to assign an ID to the device at the decision diamond 70, then the algorithm assigns that device an ID at box 72. The algorithm then determines whether the identified ID from the box 68 or the newly assigned ID at the box 72 is for a new user or driver at decision diamond 74, and if so, inputs that user into the system at box 76. The algorithm will allow the new user to input information into the system using the HVI 32 identifying that user as a driver and storing pre-sets for the various vehicle systems and devices for that new driver. If the algorithm does not assign the new device an ID at the decision diamond 70 or the assigned ID at box 72 is not for a new user at the decision diamond 74, then the algorithm exits the input device process at box 78.
  • Once each of the received devices has been input into the system, the algorithm then determines which driver is associated with those devices. Particularly, the algorithm identifies the driver at box 80 based on the detected device or devices. At box 80, the algorithm selects the driver from a priority list based on the devices that have been identified. If only a single device has been identified, then the vehicle device pre-sets are provided for that device. However, if multiple devices have been input into the system, then the algorithm goes to the priority list to identify which device has the highest priority, and sets the vehicle devices to the pre-set locations for the highest priority device received. The driver may wish to over-ride that decision using the HVI 32 at decision diamond 82 for various reasons, for example, the actual driver of the vehicle is going to be a lower priority device for that particular time. If an over-ride is not received from the driver at the decision diamond 82, then the algorithm exits the process at box 86 because the vehicle pre-sets have been provided for the right driver. If an over-ride is received at the decision diamond 82, then the algorithm selects the new driver as the actual driver at box 84, and exits the process at the box 86 to go back to scanning for devices.
  • The foregoing discussion discloses and describes merely exemplary embodiments of the present invention. One skilled in the art will readily recognize from such discussion and from the accompanying drawings and claims that various changes, modifications and variations can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.

Claims (17)

1. A method for identifying a vehicle driver, said method comprising:
detecting a wireless device;
identifying a unique ID signal associated with the wireless device that is detected;
determining if the ID signal is associated with a vehicle driver stored in a database; and
automatically setting vehicle devices to a predetermined setting associated with that driver if the wireless device ID signal is identified for that driver.
2. The method according to claim 1 wherein detecting a wireless device includes detecting multiple wireless devices in proximity to the vehicle and wherein setting vehicle devices includes setting the vehicle devices for a detected wireless device associated with a highest priority vehicle driver.
3. The method according to claim 2 further comprising over-riding the vehicle device settings for the highest priority driver and selecting another driver associated with another wireless device as the actual driver.
4. The method according to claim 1 further comprising assigning a new user to an identified ID signal if the identified ID signal is not associated with a vehicle driver stored in the database.
5. The method according to claim 1 wherein the wireless device employs a Bluetooth communications protocol.
6. The method according to claim 1 wherein the vehicle devices are selected from the group consisting of vehicle mirrors, driver's seat, vehicle pedals, vehicle steering wheel, vehicle radio, vehicle climate control system, vehicle suspension tuning and human/machine interface (HMI) default display.
7. A method for identifying a vehicle driver, said method comprising:
detecting a hard-wired device coupled to a vehicle;
identifying a unique ID signal associated with the hard-wired device that is detected;
determining if the ID signal is associated with a vehicle driver stored in a database; and
automatically setting vehicle devices to a predetermined setting associated with that driver if the hard-wired device ID signal is identified for that driver.
8. The method according to claim 7 wherein detecting a hard-wired device includes detecting multiple hardwired devices in proximity to the vehicle and wherein setting vehicle devices includes setting the vehicle devices for a detected vehicle device associated with a highest priority vehicle driver.
9. The method according to claim 8 further comprising over-riding the vehicle device settings for the highest priority driver and selecting another driver associated with another hard-wired device as the actual driver.
10. The method according to claim 7 further comprising assigning a new user to an identified ID signal if the identified ID signal is not associated with a vehicle driver stored in the database.
11. The method according to claim 7 wherein the hard-wired device is a USB device.
12. The method according to claim 7 wherein the vehicle devices are selected from the group consisting of vehicle mirrors, driver's seat, vehicle pedals, vehicle steering wheel, vehicle radio, vehicle climate control system, vehicle suspension tuning and human/machine interface (HMI) default display.
13. A method for identifying a vehicle driver, said method comprising:
detecting a Bluetooth device or a USB device;
identifying a unique ID signal associated with the Bluetooth device or the USB device that is detected;
determining if the ID signal is associated with a vehicle driver stored in a database; and
automatically setting vehicle devices to a predetermined setting associated with that driver if the ID signal is identified for that driver.
14. The method according to claim 13 wherein detecting a Bluetooth device or a USB device includes detecting multiple Bluetooth devices or USC devices in proximity to the vehicle and wherein setting vehicle devices includes setting the vehicle devices for a detected Bluetooth device or USB device associated with the highest priority vehicle driver.
15. The method according to claim 14 further comprising over-riding the vehicle device settings for the highest priority driver and selecting another driver associated with another Bluetooth device or USB device as the actual driver.
16. The method according to claim 13 further comprising assigning a new user to an identified ID signal if the identified ID signal is not associated with a vehicle driver stored in the database.
17. The method according to claim 13 wherein the vehicle devices are selected from the group consisting of vehicle mirrors, driver's seat, vehicle pedals, vehicle steering wheel, vehicle radio, vehicle climate control system, vehicle suspension tuning and human/machine interface (HMI) default display.
US12/691,968 2009-04-29 2010-01-22 System and method of using a portable device to recognize a frequent driver Abandoned US20100280711A1 (en)

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DE102010018268A DE102010018268A1 (en) 2009-04-29 2010-04-26 System and method of using a portable device to detect a frequent driver
CN2010101700775A CN101898561A (en) 2009-04-29 2010-04-29 System and method of using a portable device to recognize a frequent driver
US13/473,118 US8761998B2 (en) 2009-04-29 2012-05-16 Hierarchical recognition of vehicle driver and select activation of vehicle settings based on the recognition

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