US20160375931A1 - Rotation control system for a steering wheel and method - Google Patents

Rotation control system for a steering wheel and method Download PDF

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Publication number
US20160375931A1
US20160375931A1 US14/984,311 US201514984311A US2016375931A1 US 20160375931 A1 US20160375931 A1 US 20160375931A1 US 201514984311 A US201514984311 A US 201514984311A US 2016375931 A1 US2016375931 A1 US 2016375931A1
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US
United States
Prior art keywords
steering wheel
control system
rotation control
steering
rotational condition
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
US14/984,311
Inventor
Frank P. Lubischer
Richard K. Riefe
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Steering Solutions IP Holding Corp
Original Assignee
Steering Solutions IP Holding Corp
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 US201562184511P priority Critical
Application filed by Steering Solutions IP Holding Corp filed Critical Steering Solutions IP Holding Corp
Priority to US14/984,311 priority patent/US20160375931A1/en
Assigned to STEERING SOLUTIONS IP HOLDING CORPORATION reassignment STEERING SOLUTIONS IP HOLDING CORPORATION ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: LUBISCHER, FRANK P., RIEFE, RICHARD K.
Publication of US20160375931A1 publication Critical patent/US20160375931A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B62LAND VEHICLES FOR TRAVELLING OTHERWISE THAN ON RAILS
    • B62DMOTOR VEHICLES; TRAILERS
    • B62D6/00Arrangements for automatically controlling steering depending on driving conditions sensed and responded to, e.g. control circuits
    • B62D6/08Arrangements for automatically controlling steering depending on driving conditions sensed and responded to, e.g. control circuits responsive only to driver input torque
    • B62D6/10Arrangements for automatically controlling steering depending on driving conditions sensed and responded to, e.g. control circuits responsive only to driver input torque characterised by means for sensing or determining torque
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B62LAND VEHICLES FOR TRAVELLING OTHERWISE THAN ON RAILS
    • B62DMOTOR VEHICLES; TRAILERS
    • B62D1/00Steering controls, i.e. means for initiating a change of direction of the vehicle
    • B62D1/02Steering controls, i.e. means for initiating a change of direction of the vehicle vehicle-mounted
    • B62D1/16Steering columns
    • B62D1/18Steering columns yieldable or adjustable, e.g. tiltable
    • B62D1/183Steering columns yieldable or adjustable, e.g. tiltable adjustable between in-use and out-of-use positions, e.g. to improve access
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B62LAND VEHICLES FOR TRAVELLING OTHERWISE THAN ON RAILS
    • B62DMOTOR VEHICLES; TRAILERS
    • B62D6/00Arrangements for automatically controlling steering depending on driving conditions sensed and responded to, e.g. control circuits
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05DSYSTEMS FOR CONTROLLING OR REGULATING NON-ELECTRIC VARIABLES
    • G05D1/00Control of position, course or altitude of land, water, air, or space vehicles, e.g. automatic pilot
    • G05D1/0055Control of position, course or altitude of land, water, air, or space vehicles, e.g. automatic pilot with safety arrangements
    • G05D1/0061Control of position, course or altitude of land, water, air, or space vehicles, e.g. automatic pilot with safety arrangements for transition from automatic pilot to manual pilot and vice versa

Abstract

A rotation control system for a steering wheel is provided. The rotation control system includes a steering wheel and a steering shaft operatively coupled to the steering wheel. The rotation control system also includes at least one component operatively coupled to the steering shaft configured to switch the steering wheel between a rotational condition and a non-rotational condition.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This patent application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/184,511, filed Jun. 25, 2015, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • The embodiments described herein relate to steering wheel assemblies and, more particularly, to a rotation control system for a steering wheel.
  • As autonomously driven vehicles are developed, a number of opportunities will evolve related to entertainment and functionality for drivers. Steering wheels are commonly limited to standard driving positions due to the need for a driver to handle the steering wheel during operation of the vehicle. These limitations may be unnecessary during an autonomous driving mode of a vehicle.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • According to one aspect of the disclosure, a rotation control system for a steering wheel is provided. The rotation control system includes a steering wheel and a steering shaft operatively coupled to the steering wheel. The rotation control system also includes at least one component operatively coupled to the steering shaft configured to switch the steering wheel between a rotational condition and a non-rotational condition.
  • According to another aspect of the disclosure, an autonomous vehicle driving system is provided and includes a controller for providing a plurality of autonomous driving functions with a plurality of controller subsystems, wherein one of the controller subsystems comprises a steering wheel rotation control system. The rotation control system includes a steering wheel and a steering shaft operatively coupled to the steering wheel. The rotation control system also includes at least one component operatively coupled to the steering shaft configured to switch the steering wheel between a rotational condition and a non-rotational condition.
  • According to yet another aspect of the disclosure, a method of controlling a rotational condition of a vehicle steering wheel is provided. The method includes initiating steering control of a vehicle with an autonomous driving system. The method also includes switching the vehicle steering wheel from a rotational condition to a non-rotational condition.
  • These and other advantages and features will become more apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The subject matter which is regarded as the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the claims at the conclusion of the specification. The foregoing and other features, and advantages of the invention are apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 schematically illustrates a steering wheel having a rotation control system; and
  • FIG. 2 is a flow diagram illustrating a method of operation of the rotation control system.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • Referring now to the Figures, where the invention will be described with reference to specific embodiments, without limiting same, a rotation control system 10 for a steering wheel 12 is provided. The rotation control system 10 facilitates switching between a rotatable condition of the steering wheel 12 and a non-rotatable condition of the steering wheel 12. Such control is advantageous in a vehicle that is capable of operating in an autonomous driving mode. Autonomous driving refers to vehicles that are configured to perform operations without continuous input from a driver (e.g., steering, accelerating, braking etc.) and may be equipped with Advanced Driver Assist System(s) (ADAS) to allow the vehicle to be autonomously controlled using sensing, steering, and/or braking technology. The ADAS includes at least one controller 13 that is in operative communication with a plurality of components, including the steering wheel 12 and the steering shaft described below. When the ADAS system is activated, the steering wheel is not required for vehicle control and, therefore, rotation of the steering wheel is not required during the autonomous driving mode. Fixing the steering wheel 12 in a non-rotational condition provides opportunities for a driver to use the steering wheel 12 as a workspace or armrest, for example. Furthermore, non-rotation of the steering wheel 12 may be desirable in a self-steering mode due to the potential for a rotating wheel to be an inducement for the driver to take hold of the steering wheel 12 inadvertently or unnecessarily, thus possibly leading to unwanted disengagement of the self-driving mode.
  • The embodiments described herein provide a steering shaft 14 that is operatively coupled to the steering wheel 12 and includes components of the rotation control system 10 to allow the steering wheel to be switched to a non-rotational condition that prevents rotation of the steering wheel 12, even while other steering components, such as all or portions of the steering shaft 14, are rotating during the autonomous driving mode.
  • The steering shaft 14 is equipped with at least one mechanism that facilitates switching between the rotational condition and non-rotational condition of the steering wheel 12. The mechanism(s) may be mechanical, electrical, or a combination thereof. In one embodiment, the rotation control system 10 physically decouples the steering shaft 14 from a steering gear and road wheels. The decoupling may occur at any portion along the length of the steering shaft 14, including an end proximate the steering wheel 12 or an end proximate the steering gear, or any location therebetween. In another embodiment, the system 10 deactivates steering wheel rotation in a “steer-by-wire” vehicle. For example, electrical deactivation of a component that provides rotational feedback to the steering wheel 12 is made to halt rotation of the steering wheel 12. In another embodiment, the system 10 counter-rotates the steering shaft 14. It is to be understood that the non-rotational condition may be achieved by alternative suitable methods.
  • Irrespective of the precise control employed to cause non-rotation of the steering wheel 12 during the autonomous driving mode, the driver may deactivate the autonomous driving mode by a prompt (e.g., “handshake”), such as a driver applied rotation or torque of the steering wheel 12. Alternative prompts may be used with a switch, button, handle, voice prompt, etc. Regardless of the prompt, the autonomous driving mode is ceased and driver control of steering is resumed subsequent to the prompt.
  • While the steering wheel 12 is in the non-rotational condition, the steering wheel 12 may be employed as a functional or entertainment related structure. For example, the steering wheel 12 may be tilted to a substantially horizontal position, or any other angle, while the vehicle is in an autonomous driving mode. This enables for non-steering uses of the steering wheel 12. In one embodiment, non-rotation allows the steering wheel 12 to be used as a tray table to rest arms or objects on. For example, a cell phone or laptop may be placed thereon for use during the autonomous driving mode. In another embodiment, forward retraction of the steering wheel 12 and steering shaft 14 toward the instrument panel of the vehicle enlarges the cabin space for additional driver comfort and convenience. In yet another embodiment, the non-rotating steering wheel provides a platform for electronic devices monitoring the cabin, driver, and vehicle controls due to the stationary orientation of the steering wheel.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, a method of controlling rotation of the steering wheel is illustrated in the form of a flow diagram. The method includes determining 20 if the ADAS is activated. If it is not activated, the driver provides steering control of the vehicle 22. If activated, the ADAS system provides steering control 24. In an activated state, it is determined 26 if the steering shaft is decoupled from the steering shaft gear or otherwise prevents rotation of the steering wheel. If the steering shaft is decoupled, the steering wheel enters the non-rotational condition 28 and the steering wheel may be employed for non-steering uses. When the driver desires to regain steering control of the vehicle, the driver prompts the ADAS, such as with gripping of the steering wheel 30. Once the proper prompt is provided, the steering wheel 12 is permitted to be rotated by any, of the processes described above in connection with decoupling or deactivation of the steering wheel 12. For example, mechanical coupling may be made to re-connect 32 the necessary components of the steering shaft 14 with the steering wheel 12. Alternatively, electrical activation may be employed in a “steer-by-wire” embodiment to allow the steering wheel 12 to resume rotation. Additional suitable re-connection or activation methods may be employed. Once steering wheel 12 rotation is permitted and the user is well-suited to control steering of the vehicle, the ADAS system disengages 34.
  • While the invention has been described in detail in connection with only a limited number of embodiments, it should be readily understood that the invention is not limited to such disclosed embodiments. Rather, the invention can be modified to incorporate any number of variations, alterations, substitutions or equivalent arrangements not heretofore described, but which are commensurate with the spirit and scope of the invention. Additionally, while various embodiments of the invention have been described, it is to be understood that aspects of the invention may include only some of the described embodiments. Accordingly, the invention is not to be seen as limited by the foregoing description.

Claims (19)

1. A rotation control system for a steering wheel comprising:
a steering wheel;
a steering shaft operatively coupled to the steering wheel; and
at least one component operatively coupled to the steering shaft configured to switch the steering wheel between a rotational condition and a non-rotational condition.
2. The rotation control system of claim 1, wherein the at least one component decouples the steering shaft from a steering shaft gear operatively coupled to road wheels of a vehicle.
3. The rotation control system of claim 1, wherein the at least one component decouples the steering shaft from the steering wheel.
4. The rotation control system of claim 1, wherein the at least one component comprises a mechanical device.
5. The rotation control system of claim 1, wherein the at least one component comprises an electrical device.
6. The rotation control system of claim 5, wherein the electrical device de-activates a component operatively coupled to the steering wheel.
7. The rotation control system of claim 1, further comprising a condition switching device configured to allow a user to switch between the rotational condition and the non-rotational condition.
8. The rotation control system of claim 7, wherein the condition switching device comprises at least one of a switch, button, handle and voice prompt.
9. The rotation control system of claim 7, wherein the condition switching device comprises the steering wheel, the application of a torque on the steering wheel switching from the non-rotational condition to the rotational condition.
10. An autonomous vehicle driving system comprising:
a controller for providing a plurality of autonomous driving functions with a plurality of controller subsystems, wherein one of the controller subsystems comprises a steering wheel rotation control system, the rotation control system comprising:
a steering wheel;
a steering shaft operatively coupled to the steering wheel; and
at least one component operatively coupled to the steering shaft configured to switch the steering wheel between a rotational condition and a non-rotational condition.
11. The autonomous vehicle driving system of claim 10, wherein the at least one component decouples the steering shaft from a steering shaft gear operatively coupled to road wheels of a vehicle.
12. The autonomous vehicle driving system of claim 10, wherein the at least one component decouples the steering shaft from the steering wheel.
13. The autonomous vehicle driving system of claim 10, wherein the at least one component comprises a mechanical device.
14. The autonomous vehicle driving system of claim 10, wherein the at least one component comprises an electrical device.
15. The autonomous vehicle driving system of claim 14, wherein the electrical device de-activates a component operatively coupled to the steering wheel.
16. The autonomous vehicle driving system of claim 10, further comprising a condition switching device configured to allow a user to switch between the rotational condition and the non-rotational condition.
17. A method of controlling a rotational condition of a vehicle steering wheel comprising:
initiating steering control of a vehicle with an autonomous driving system; and
switching the vehicle steering wheel from a rotational condition to a non-rotational condition.
18. The method of claim 17, wherein switching the vehicle steering wheel from the rotational condition to the non-rotational condition comprises mechanically decoupling at least a portion of a steering shaft from the vehicle steering wheel.
19. The method of claim 17, wherein switching the vehicle steering wheel from the rotational condition to the non-rotational condition comprises electrically de-activating a component operatively coupled to the vehicle steering wheel.
US14/984,311 2015-06-25 2015-12-30 Rotation control system for a steering wheel and method Abandoned US20160375931A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

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US201562184511P true 2015-06-25 2015-06-25
US14/984,311 US20160375931A1 (en) 2015-06-25 2015-12-30 Rotation control system for a steering wheel and method

Applications Claiming Priority (3)

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US14/984,311 US20160375931A1 (en) 2015-06-25 2015-12-30 Rotation control system for a steering wheel and method
CN201610830186.2A CN107031699A (en) 2015-06-25 2016-06-24 Rotation control system and method for steering wheel
US15/827,511 US20180079442A1 (en) 2015-06-25 2017-11-30 Rotation control system for a steering wheel and method

Related Child Applications (1)

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US15/827,511 Continuation US20180079442A1 (en) 2015-06-25 2017-11-30 Rotation control system for a steering wheel and method

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US15/827,511 Pending US20180079442A1 (en) 2015-06-25 2017-11-30 Rotation control system for a steering wheel and method

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US9809155B2 (en) 2015-10-27 2017-11-07 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Retractable steering column assembly having lever, vehicle having retractable steering column assembly, and method
US9828016B2 (en) 2015-06-24 2017-11-28 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Retractable steering column system, vehicle having the same, and method
US9840271B2 (en) 2015-06-29 2017-12-12 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Retractable steering column with rake limiter
US9845106B2 (en) 2015-08-31 2017-12-19 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Overload protection for belt drive mechanism
US9845103B2 (en) 2015-06-29 2017-12-19 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering arrangement
US9849904B2 (en) 2015-07-31 2017-12-26 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Retractable steering column with dual actuators
US9862403B1 (en) 2016-11-29 2018-01-09 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Manually retractable steering column assembly for autonomous vehicle
US9919724B2 (en) 2015-05-29 2018-03-20 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Retractable steering column with manual retrieval
US9944307B2 (en) 2015-06-26 2018-04-17 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering assembly and method of monitoring a space within vehicle
US10029725B2 (en) 2015-12-03 2018-07-24 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Torque feedback system for a steer-by-wire vehicle, vehicle having steering column, and method of providing feedback in vehicle
US10029676B2 (en) 2014-01-29 2018-07-24 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Hands on steering wheel detect
US10112639B2 (en) 2015-06-26 2018-10-30 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Vehicle steering arrangement and method of making same
US10144383B2 (en) 2016-09-29 2018-12-04 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering wheel with video screen and airbag
US10160473B2 (en) 2016-09-13 2018-12-25 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering column decoupling system
US10160477B2 (en) 2016-08-01 2018-12-25 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Electric power steering column assembly
US10160472B2 (en) 2015-10-20 2018-12-25 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering column with stationary hub
US10189496B2 (en) 2016-08-22 2019-01-29 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering assembly having a telescope drive lock assembly
US10239552B2 (en) 2016-10-14 2019-03-26 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Rotation control assembly for a steering column
US10310605B2 (en) 2016-11-15 2019-06-04 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Haptic feedback for steering system controls
US10322682B2 (en) 2016-03-03 2019-06-18 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering wheel with keyboard
US10343706B2 (en) 2015-06-11 2019-07-09 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Retractable steering column system, vehicle having the same, and method
WO2019136245A1 (en) * 2018-01-04 2019-07-11 Joyson Safety Systems Acquisition Llc Systems and methods for autonomous front wheel steering
US10351161B2 (en) 2016-05-27 2019-07-16 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering column with manual retraction
US10351159B2 (en) 2015-05-01 2019-07-16 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Retractable steering column with a radially projecting attachment
US10351160B2 (en) 2016-11-30 2019-07-16 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering column assembly having a sensor assembly
US10363958B2 (en) 2016-07-26 2019-07-30 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Electric power steering mode determination and transitioning
US10370022B2 (en) 2017-02-13 2019-08-06 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering column assembly for autonomous vehicle
US10384708B2 (en) 2016-09-12 2019-08-20 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Intermediate shaft assembly for steer-by-wire steering system
US10385930B2 (en) 2017-02-21 2019-08-20 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Ball coupling assembly for steering column assembly
US10399591B2 (en) 2016-10-03 2019-09-03 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering compensation with grip sensing
DE102018203220A1 (en) * 2018-03-05 2019-09-05 Audi Ag Steering column switch and method for a steering device of a motor vehicle, which can be moved from a control room
US10421475B2 (en) 2016-11-15 2019-09-24 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Electric actuator mechanism for retractable steering column assembly with manual override
US10421476B2 (en) 2016-06-21 2019-09-24 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Self-locking telescope actuator of a steering column assembly
US10436299B2 (en) 2015-06-25 2019-10-08 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Stationary steering wheel assembly and method
US10442441B2 (en) 2015-06-15 2019-10-15 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Retractable handwheel gesture control
US10449927B2 (en) 2017-04-13 2019-10-22 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering system having anti-theft capabilities
US10457313B2 (en) 2016-06-28 2019-10-29 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation ADAS wheel locking device
US10481602B2 (en) 2016-10-17 2019-11-19 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Sensor fusion for autonomous driving transition control
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US10029676B2 (en) 2014-01-29 2018-07-24 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Hands on steering wheel detect
US10351159B2 (en) 2015-05-01 2019-07-16 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Retractable steering column with a radially projecting attachment
US10029724B2 (en) 2015-05-29 2018-07-24 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering assembly
US9919724B2 (en) 2015-05-29 2018-03-20 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Retractable steering column with manual retrieval
US10343706B2 (en) 2015-06-11 2019-07-09 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Retractable steering column system, vehicle having the same, and method
US10442441B2 (en) 2015-06-15 2019-10-15 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Retractable handwheel gesture control
US9828016B2 (en) 2015-06-24 2017-11-28 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Retractable steering column system, vehicle having the same, and method
US10436299B2 (en) 2015-06-25 2019-10-08 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Stationary steering wheel assembly and method
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US10160477B2 (en) 2016-08-01 2018-12-25 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Electric power steering column assembly
US10189496B2 (en) 2016-08-22 2019-01-29 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering assembly having a telescope drive lock assembly
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US10481602B2 (en) 2016-10-17 2019-11-19 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Sensor fusion for autonomous driving transition control
US10310605B2 (en) 2016-11-15 2019-06-04 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Haptic feedback for steering system controls
US10421475B2 (en) 2016-11-15 2019-09-24 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Electric actuator mechanism for retractable steering column assembly with manual override
US9862403B1 (en) 2016-11-29 2018-01-09 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Manually retractable steering column assembly for autonomous vehicle
US10351160B2 (en) 2016-11-30 2019-07-16 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering column assembly having a sensor assembly
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US10385930B2 (en) 2017-02-21 2019-08-20 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Ball coupling assembly for steering column assembly
US10449927B2 (en) 2017-04-13 2019-10-22 Steering Solutions Ip Holding Corporation Steering system having anti-theft capabilities
WO2019136245A1 (en) * 2018-01-04 2019-07-11 Joyson Safety Systems Acquisition Llc Systems and methods for autonomous front wheel steering
DE102018203220A1 (en) * 2018-03-05 2019-09-05 Audi Ag Steering column switch and method for a steering device of a motor vehicle, which can be moved from a control room

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