WO2011028263A2 - Method and apparatus for processing data on vehicle monitoring, location and/or opperation - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for processing data on vehicle monitoring, location and/or opperation Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2011028263A2
WO2011028263A2 PCT/US2010/002367 US2010002367W WO2011028263A2 WO 2011028263 A2 WO2011028263 A2 WO 2011028263A2 US 2010002367 W US2010002367 W US 2010002367W WO 2011028263 A2 WO2011028263 A2 WO 2011028263A2
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
vehicle
location
indication
processing facility
information
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2010/002367
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2011028263A3 (en
Inventor
John Wellehan
Original Assignee
John Wellehan
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.)
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Publication date
Priority to US23745209P priority Critical
Priority to US61/237,452 priority
Application filed by John Wellehan filed Critical John Wellehan
Publication of WO2011028263A2 publication Critical patent/WO2011028263A2/en
Publication of WO2011028263A3 publication Critical patent/WO2011028263A3/en

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/01Detecting movement of traffic to be counted or controlled
    • G08G1/052Detecting movement of traffic to be counted or controlled with provision for determining speed or overspeed
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/09Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions
    • G08G1/0962Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions having an indicator mounted inside the vehicle, e.g. giving voice messages
    • G08G1/0967Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits
    • G08G1/096708Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where the received information might be used to generate an automatic action on the vehicle control
    • G08G1/096716Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where the received information might be used to generate an automatic action on the vehicle control where the received information does not generate an automatic action on the vehicle control
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/09Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions
    • G08G1/0962Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions having an indicator mounted inside the vehicle, e.g. giving voice messages
    • G08G1/0967Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits
    • G08G1/096733Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where a selection of the information might take place
    • G08G1/096741Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where a selection of the information might take place where the source of the transmitted information selects which information to transmit to each vehicle
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/09Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions
    • G08G1/0962Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions having an indicator mounted inside the vehicle, e.g. giving voice messages
    • G08G1/0967Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits
    • G08G1/096766Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where the system is characterised by the origin of the information transmission
    • G08G1/096775Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where the system is characterised by the origin of the information transmission where the origin of the information is a central station
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08GTRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS
    • G08G1/00Traffic control systems for road vehicles
    • G08G1/09Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions
    • G08G1/0962Arrangements for giving variable traffic instructions having an indicator mounted inside the vehicle, e.g. giving voice messages
    • G08G1/0967Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits
    • G08G1/096766Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where the system is characterised by the origin of the information transmission
    • G08G1/096783Systems involving transmission of highway information, e.g. weather, speed limits where the system is characterised by the origin of the information transmission where the origin of the information is a roadside individual element

Abstract

Embodiments of the invention provide methods and apparatus whereby a vehicle's location may be reported (e.g., by a controller) to a remote processing facility; an indication may be received from the remote processing facility that the vehicle is approaching a first location at which speeds of vehicles are being or likely will be monitored; and a user may be notified upon the indication being received. A controller may also receive notification from detection device disposed in the vehicle that a monitoring signal is detected; and report the notification and a location of the vehicle to the processing facility.

Description

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR PROCESSING DATA ON VEHICLE MONITORING, LOCATION AND/OR OPERATION

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates generally to processing data relating to a vehicle, such as an indication that the speed of the vehicle is being monitored and/or the location of the vehicle when monitoring is detected.

BACKGROUND

Conventional devices that are used to detect when the speed of a vehicle (e.g.. an automobile, truck, boat, etc.) is being monitored (e.g., radar detectors, laser detectors, etc.) are typically either single-bodied, dash-or window-mounted devices, or custom-installed devices which are integrated with a vehicle's electronic systems. In general, these devices detect signals (e.g., radar signals) indicating that the speed of the vehicle is being monitored, and alert the vehicle's operator when such monitoring is detected. The output of conventional devices tends to be primarily binary in nature, indicating that either monitoring is detected or it is not, and fleeting, as conventional devices do not record an indication that monitoring previously was detected in a particular location. As a primary goal for conventional devices is to provide the operator with the earliest possible warning that monitoring is occurring,

manufacturers of the devices tend to compete in the marketplace by producing increasingly sensitive devices, requiring significant investment in research and development that is passed on to customers. In the consumer market, there is also considerable price competition.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

Some embodiments of the invention provide a method for use in relation to a vehicle having therein a controller operable to provide an indication of the controller's location to a processing facility. The method comprises determining and signaling to an operator of the vehicle that the controller is approaching a first location at which speeds of vehicles are being or likely will be monitored, without reliance upon a detection device in the vehicle detecting a monitoring signal. The determining may, for example, be performed in response to receiving an indication from the processing facility of monitoring activity having occurred at the first location with respect to another vehicle.

Other embodiments of the invention provide a system comprising a processing facility and a plurality of controllers, each disposed in a corresponding vehicle, in networked communication with the processing facility. Each of the controllers is operable to provide an indication of the corresponding vehicle's location to the processing facility and to receive an indication from a detection device in the corresponding vehicle that a monitoring signal has been detected. Each of the controllers is operable to cause an indication of detection of a monitoring signal and a location at which detection occurred to be sent to the processing facility.

Still other embodiments of the invention provide a computer-readable medium having instructions stored thereon which, when executed in a vehicle, perform a method comprising: reporting the vehicle's location to a remote processing facility; receiving an indication from the remote processing facility that the vehicle is approaching a first location at which speeds of vehicles are being or likely will be monitored; and signaling the user upon the indication being received. The method may also comprise receiving notification from a detection device disposed in the vehicle that a monitoring signal is detected; and reporting the notification and a location of the vehicle to the processing facility.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

In the drawings, in which like reference characters represent like elements:

FIG. 1 is a block diagram depicting an example system for collecting and distributing information on vehicle operation and monitoring, in accordance with some embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a flowchart depicting an example process whereby a peripheral device may receive, process and transmit information relating to vehicle monitoring, , in accordance with some embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 3 is a flowchart depicting an example process whereby a peripheral devices receives may receive and process information reflecting monitoring activity detected by one or more other peripheral devices, in accordance with some embodiments of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a block diagram depicting an example computer which may be used to implement aspects of embodiments of the invention; and

FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a storage medium on which may be stored instructions and data defining aspects of embodiments of the invention.

DESCRIPTION

Some embodiments of the invention may supplement and/or enhance the information relating to the monitoring of a vehicle which is made available to the vehicle operator, by a conventional monitoring device. This may, for example, provide earlier warning of monitoring activity, and/or potential monitoring activity, than that which is provided by conventional devices. Earlier warning of monitoring activity or potential activity may encourage more judicious vehicle operation and improve operator and public safety. As embodiments of the invention do not necessarily rely on the sensitivity of a detection device to provide early warning of monitoring activity or the potential thereof, they also may provide a more cost- effective approach to monitoring detection than conventional devices.

Some embodiments of the invention employ a peripheral device (e.g., a suitably equipped smartphone such as an iPhone product produced by Apple Inc., a Blackberry device from Research In Motion, etc.) to process information provided by a detection device. For example, a peripheral device may be coupled to a detection device (e.g., radar detector, laser detector, etc.), using any one or more suitable communications media and/or protocols (e.g., a wired connection, wireless connection such as Bluetooth, etc.), and receive an indication from the detection device when a monitoring signal is detected. When the peripheral device receives an indication of monitoring activity, it may process the indication by determining the location of the vehicle when the indication is received (such as by using embedded global positioning system (GPS) or other location determination capability(ies) such as cellular triangulation, or some combination of techniques) and provide an indication of the monitoring activity and/or location. Such indication may be provided to one or more other peripheral devices or information systems, which may be remote from the vehicle. For example, some embodiments may employ a

(possibly remote) processing facility that receives indications of monitoring activity and/or location from multiple such peripheral devices used by multiple vehicles or vehicle operators, aggregates this data, and provides information back to individual peripheral devices (in, e.g., multiple vehicles) regarding the location(s) at which monitoring activity is, or has been, detected. By "crowdsourcing" information on monitoring activity in certain locations in this manner, embodiments of the invention may take advantage of the "network effect" and yield numerous benefits to users of the system. For example, an individual peripheral device may process information received from the processing facility, as well as information regarding the device's (and hence the vehicle's) current location and/or direction of travel, to determine whether the vehicle is approaching a location at which monitoring is or has been detected. Similarly, multiple independent users collecting data in concert, or using historical data inputs, would be able to locate locations from which traffic is - or likely is - being monitored. The peripheral device in a given vehicle then may alert the vehicle operator to the potential for, or expectation of, forthcoming monitoring activity even if a detection device in the vehicle has not actually detected a monitoring signal. As a result, the vehicle's operator may be choose to use increased caution. In addition, some embodiments of the invention may decrease the cost of monitoring speed detection activity, as the ability to detect monitoring activity comes not from cutting-edge, sensitive (and thus typically expensive) equipment but from data collected by or from others. When live and historical data (e.g., collected from onboard vehicle computers, GPS systems, detection devices, accelerometers, and/or others) are aggregated across a user population, historical, probabilistic and predictive representations also can be generated. The information collected and representations generated may be employed for such applications as decision support, automated action, augmented reality (e.g., in a manner analogous to Layar B.V. products), and/or other applications, and rendered on any of numerous types of devices, such as ubiquitous devices like personal digital assistants (PDAs) and/or others. Numerous advantages may accrue to system users (which include, but are not limited to, vehicle operators). Some examples are described in detail below.

FIG. 1 depicts an example system 10 implemented in accordance with some embodiments of the invention. System 10 includes peripheral device 1 10A, which includes controller 120 A. Controller 120A may, for example, be implemented using software code executing on one or more processors, one or more application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), one or more field-programmable gate array (FPGAs), and/or any other suitably configured hardware and/or software components.

Embodiments of the invention are not limited to being implemented in any particular manner.

Peripheral device 100A is coupled to detection device 105 A via link 101 A. Detection device 105 A may be any suitable device equipped to detect a vehicle monitoring signal, such as a radar detector, laser detector, other device or combination thereof. It should be appreciated that although example system 10 employs detection device 105 A to detect monitoring signals, any suitably equipped device(s) may perform this function, including those not configured to warn an operator when monitoring activity is detected.

Link 101 A may be implemented using any one or more suitable

communications media (e.g., a wired connection, wireless connection such as

Bluetooth, etc.) and employ any one or more suitable communications protocols. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that there may be numerous ways to implement link 101 A, and embodiments of the invention are not limited to any particular manner of implementation.

It should be appreciated that although example system 10 employs link 101 A to transmit an indication of detected monitoring activity from detection device 105A to peripheral device 100A, any suitable technique and/or component(s) may alternatively be used. For example, in some embodiments, a vehicle operator may provide manual or voice input to a peripheral device when monitoring is detected (e.g., if the operator sees a law enforcement officer monitoring the speed of traffic in a particular location), which input may be received by a corresponding controller 120. In other embodiments in which a peripheral device is equipped to discern an audible alert generated by a detection device (e.g., using sound recognition capabilities), controller 120 may be configured to "hear" when monitoring is detected, such as using voice or sound recognition capabilities. Embodiments of the invention may be implemented in any of numerous ways. In example system 10, peripheral device 100A communicates via network(s) 1 10 with processing facility 1 15. Like link 101 A, network(s) 1 10 may be

implemented using any suitable communications infrastructure and employ any suitable communications protocol(s). As an example, if peripheral device 100A is or includes a smartphone, a personal digital assistant, or other communication device, network(s) 1 10 may include any one or more telecommunications networks (including wired and wireless telecommunications networks), the Internet, a LAN, WAN and/or any other suitable network(s). Embodiments of the invention are not limited to being implemented in any particular manner.

Processing facility 1 15 communicates via network(s) 1 10 with peripheral devices lOOA-lOOC. Of course, processing facility 1 15 may communicate with any number of peripheral devices, as embodiments of the invention are not limited in this respect.

Like peripheral device 100A, each of peripheral devices 100B and 100C provides a respective controller (i.e., controllers 120B and 120C) and communicates with a respective detection device (i.e., detection devices 105B or 105C) via a respective link (i.e., links 101B or 101C). Links 101B-101C, like link 101A, are not limited to being implemented in any particular manner, as any suitable

communications media and/or protocol(s) may be employed.

In example system 10, each of peripheral devices 105A-105C may optionally

(as indicated by dotted lines) communicate with a respective vehicle computer 1 10 via link 102. That is, peripheral device 105 A may communicate with vehicle computer 1 10A via link 102A, peripheral device 105B may communicate with vehicle computer 1 10B via link 102B, and peripheral device 105C may communicate with vehicle computer 1 I OC via link 102C. A vehicle computer may, for example, include one or more computerized components integrated with a vehicle's control systems, and may provide information on vehicle operation such as speed, fuel consumption, fuel efficiency, etc to an controller 120 on a peripheral device 100.

Any of links 102 may be implemented using any suitable communications medium and/or protocol(s), such as a wireless connection employing Bluetooth, as an example. Any of links 102 may additionally include one or more interfaces enabling a respective peripheral device 100 to request and/or receive information generated by a respective vehicle computer 1 10. For example, any of links 102 may incorporate an OMBDl 1 or Controller Area Network (CAN) interface, as examples, and a Data Link Connector (DLC) providing access to information generated by a vehicle computer. Of course, links 102 are not limited to being implemented in this manner, and those skilled in the automotive electronics arts may envision numerous ways of enabling a peripheral device to request and/or receive information generated by a vehicle computer, and embodiments of the invention are not limited to being implemented in any particular manner.

A controller 120 provided by any of peripheral devices l OOA- l OOC may cause the peripheral device to send information to processing facility 1 15 relating to monitoring of a vehicle in which the device concerned is located. For example, if a monitoring signal is detected by detection device 105 A, an indication of this detection may be provided to controller 120 A on peripheral device 100 A via link 101 A.

Controller 120A may process the indication by, for example, associating the detection event with the vehicle's location at the time of the detection, the vehicle's speed and/or other information. The controller may then cause the peripheral device to send any or all of this data, as well as other data, to processing facility 1 15 via network(s) 1 10.

Processing facility 1 15 may receive the data sent by peripheral device 100A and process it in any of numerous ways. For example, processing facility 1 15 may transmit an indication of monitoring activity having been detected to peripheral devices 100B and/or l OOC, providing a real-time indication of detected monitoring activity. A controller 120 provided by a peripheral device that receives this indication may process it, as an example, to determine if a corresponding vehicle (e.g., in which the peripheral device is traveling) is near or heading toward the location where monitoring was detected, and if so alert the operator of the vehicle. Alternatively, processing facility 1 15 may determine that a vehicle is traveling toward a location where monitoring was detected, and send the result of this determination to a controller 120 in the vehicle. Processing may be performed in any suitable fashion, by any suitable component, as embodiments of the invention are not limited to any particular manner of implementation.

When controller 120 determines or receives an indication that the vehicle is at or heading toward a location at which monitoring was detected, controller 120 may cause the location to be presented to the operator (e.g., on a map, and/or using any other suitable representation(s)). As a result of being alerted to detected monitoring activity, the operator may opt to slow the vehicle, choose to avoid the location by selecting another route to his/her destination (e.g., with the system's assistance), etc.

It should be appreciated that embodiments of the invention are not limited to processing facility 1 15 providing an indication of detected monitoring activity to all peripheral devices with which it communicates. For example, processing facility 1 15 may select a subset of peripheral devices known to be near or traveling toward the location at which monitoring was detected (e.g., based on location data provided by peripheral devices to the processing facility), devices traveling above a particular speed, or using some other manner of selecting peripheral devices to which information is to be sent.

Processing facility 1 15 may aggregate information received from multiple peripheral devices to identify patterns relating to monitoring activity, such as correlations between detected monitoring activity and particular locations and times (e.g., at one or more particular locations and certain times of the day, week, month or year, at one or more particular locations at a determined periodicity, etc.), and provide this information to controllers on individual peripheral devices. As a result, the peripheral devices may be capable of alerting a vehicle operator when, as an example, the vehicle is approaching a location at which monitoring is more likely to occur at that time of day, when the system determines that the probability of monitoring occurring at a particular location exceeds a certain threshold, etc. Any suitable pattern(s) may be identified, as embodiments of the invention are not limited in this respect.

It should be appreciated that this aspect of the system may be especially useful to vehicle operators traveling in unfamiliar locations. For example, a peripheral device used by a driver from Boston traveling through Ohio at 4:45 a.m. may receive an indication that monitoring typically begins at around 5:00 a.m. at a location which the vehicle is then approaching, and alert the driver of this so that he/she may, for example, alter the vehicle's speed, route, etc.

A controller 120 on a peripheral device 1 10 may capture information relating to vehicle operation (e.g., acquired from a corresponding vehicle computer 1 10). For example, if monitoring of a vehicle's speed is detected, information captured may include the speed at which the vehicle was actually traveling at the time of detection, as indicated by the vehicle's computer. As a result, if the operator of the vehicle believes that he/she was unfairly ticketed for violating the speed limit, the information data captured from the vehicle's computer may assist him/her in protesting the ticket. Alternatively, the system may employ information collected from the computer to alert the user to actions that may decrease the probability of being ticketed. For example, the system may employ information on current vehicle speed and location to inform the operator that slowing the vehicle by some calculated amount (e.g., from 65 to 61 miles per hour) may reduce the probability of being pulled over by one standard deviation. Any of numerous operations, whether reactive or predictive, may be performed, as embodiments of the invention are not limited in this respect.

A controller 120 on an individual peripheral device 100 may cause

information on vehicle operation to be transmitted to processing facility 1 1 5, which may process the information to produce data useful to operators of other vehicles. For example, an indication that a ticket was issued to the operator of a particular vehicle traveling in a particular location, when data generated by the vehicle's computer indicated that the vehicle was traveling at two miles per hour over the speed limit when monitoring was detected, may be provided to other peripheral devices so that operators of other vehicles, when traveling near that location, may be apprised of a relative intolerance to speeding. As a result, an operator traveling in that area may be encouraged to operate the vehicle judiciously, choose an alternate route to his/her destination, etc.

In addition, components of the system may be configured to override driver inputs (e.g., via a vehicle computer's interface). For example, if a vehicle operator had set cruise control to maintain a steady speed that is five miles per hour greater than the speed limit in the location in which the vehicle is traveling, and the system determines that a ticket is likely to be issued to vehicles traveling more than two miles per hour greater than the speed limit, system components (e.g., controller 120) may be configured to issue instructions to the vehicle's computer to reduce the vehicle's speed to be less than two miles per hour over the speed limit.

Some embodiments of the invention may provide information relating to the operation of individual vehicles to devices other than those shown in FIG. 1. For example, data on the speeds at which vehicles are traveling in certain locations may be sent to devices employed by law enforcement officials, so that, for example, officers may be deployed to locations at which vehicle speeds are determined to be excessive. As such, embodiments of the invention may enable law enforcement officials to deploy officers to those locations at which excessive speeds are actually detected in real-time, rather than those at which excessive speeds are predicted to occur based on prior observations.

In addition, data on, for example, the speeds at which vehicles are traveling, and/or the rate at which vehicles are consuming fuel, in different locations may be sent to news agencies, so that information on traffic flow in those locations may be reported to interested individuals. (In this respect, a vehicle computer 1 10 may provide data on various vehicle operation metrics, such as real-time fuel consumption, speed, etc. to controller 120.) Using this information, a news agency and/or other entity may, for example, suggest route changes to an individual traveler so as to minimize their travel time, optimize their fuel consumption, etc., by sending information to the traveler's peripheral device 1 10. In addition, a news agency and/or other entity may glean information from the reports of multiple individual travelers and make that information more widely available (e.g., via broadcast or targeted distribution, such as to a selected subset of system users) so that recipients may select their own routes so as to minimize travel time, optimize fuel consumption, etc., thereby enabling users to, for example, self-manage and optimize traffic flow.

Similarly, fleet operators (e.g., trucking companies, shipping companies, etc.) may use the information to optimize relationships between delivery time and fuel costs, which can be one of an operator's greatest operating expenses. As such, fleet operators may be able to maintain or improve customer satisfaction while reducing costs. In addition, vehicle manufacturers may use the information to refine their products' performance, safety and value over time, yielding innumerable benefits to consumers.

Despite the potential for one or more categories of users (e.g., those who drive compact cars or passenger sedans) to predominate the user population, data gathered on this one or more categories may yield useful information for other populations. For example, data collected from drivers of compact cars may be analyzed (e.g., using any of numerous mathematical and statistical techniques, such as regression analysis, etc.) to produce information useful for other categories of users, such as truckers. For example, data indicating that compact car drivers attain, on average, a given fuel economy on a given grade at a given speed, may be analyzed to determine the fuel economy Class 8 truck drivers should expect to attain under similar conditions. Any of numerous types of analysis on data collected from users may be performed, as embodiments of the invention are not limited in this respect.

In addition to the news agencies and law enforcement officials noted above, data may be sent to devices used by other concerned individuals as well. For example, data on a particular vehicle's operation may be sent to a device used by a parent of the operator, and/or of one or more of the passengers. For example, processing facility 1 15 may send an indication of the speed at which a certain vehicle is traveling, its location and/or travel conditions, to a device used by a parent of the vehicle's operator, even on a real-time basis. Some embodiments of the invention may additionally enable alerts to be established indicating that vehicle operation satisfies predefined criteria, so that an indication that criteria have been satisfied may be provided to the parent or the child. For example, a parent may set an alert so that he/she is notified when a vehicle in which their child is traveling (e.g., as a driver or passenger) exceeds the speed limit in normal conditions, is traveling close to the normal speed limit in inclement conditions, is determined to be outside of a predetermined area, exceeds the average speed of other vehicles traveling in the same location by a predetermined amount (e.g., perhaps indicating that the vehicle is being operated recklessly), etc. The alert may, for example, cause a message to be presented to the parent, to the child, etc. on a peripheral and/or other device. As a result, a parent may be apprised, for example, when their child is a passenger in a vehicle that is not being operated safely, and by extension that the operator of the vehicle is prone to unsafe vehicle operation.

An example method 20 whereby a peripheral device may receive, process and transmit information relating to vehicle monitoring is depicted in FIG. 2. At the start of process 20, in act 210, an indication that monitoring of a vehicle's operation is detected is received. For example, a controller 120 provided by peripheral device 100 (FIG. 1 ) may receive an indication from a detection device 105 that the speed of a vehicle in which the detection device is installed is being monitored via link 101. In act 220, an association is formed between the received indication and the location and/or time at which monitoring was detected by the detection device. For example, the controller may process the indication and store the time at which it was received and the device's physical location (e.g., determined via GPS capabilities) at that time.

In act 230, information produced in acts 210 and 220 is provided to a processing facility 1 15. For example, the controller may cause the information to be transmitted by the peripheral device to the processing facility via any one or more · networks, including one or more telecommunications networks, the Internet, and/or any one or more other networks. At the completion of act 230, process 20 completes.

An example process 30, whereby a controller 120 provided by peripheral device 100 receives and processes information reflecting monitoring activity detected by one or more other peripheral devices, is depicted in FIG. 3. At the start of process 30, in act 310, information is received from a processing facility 1 15. The

information may include, for example, a real-time indication of detected monitoring activity in a particular location, a determined correlation between detected monitoring activity and one or more locations and/or times, and/or other information.

Process 30 then proceeds to act 320, wherein the information received in act 310 is processed. For example, the controller may correlate received information with other data, such as that which specifies the device's current location, the current speed of a vehicle in which the device is traveling (e.g., as determined from information received from the vehicle's computer), and/or other data to determine whether the vehicle is approaching a location at which monitoring is, has been, and/or is likely to be occurring.

Process 30 then proceeds to act 330, wherein results of processing in act 320 are presented to a user. For example, an indication that the vehicle in which the user is travelling is approaching a location at which monitoring is currently occurring may be presented to the user, encouraging him/her to slow the vehicle and/or choose an alternate route to his/her destination. At the completion of act 330, process 30 ends.

Various aspects of the systems and methods for practicing features of the invention may, for example, be implemented on one or more computer systems, such as the exemplary computer system 400 shown in FIG. 4. Computer system 400 includes input device(s) 402, output device(s) 401 , processor(s) 403, memory system(s) 404 and storage 406, all of which are coupled or couple-able, directly or indirectly, via interconnection mechanism 405, which may comprise one or more buses, switches, networks and/or any other suitable interconnections. The input device(s) 402 receive(s) input from a user or machine (e.g., a human operator), and the output device(s) 401 display(s) or transmit(s) information to a user or machine (e.g., a liquid crystal display). The processor 403 typically executes a computer program called an operating system which controls the execution of other computer programs, and provides scheduling, input/output and other device control, accounting, compilation, storage assignment, data management, memory management, communication and dataflow control. Collectively, the processor and operating system define the computer platform for which application programs and other computer program languages are written.

The processor(s) 403 may also execute one or more computer programs to implement various functions. These computer programs may be written in any type of computer program language, including a procedural programming language, object-oriented programming language, macro language, or combination thereof. These computer programs may be stored in storage 406. Storage 406 may hold information on one or more volatile or non-volatile media, each of which may be fixed or removable. Storage 406 is shown in greater detail in FIG. 5.

Storage 406 typically includes a computer-readable and writable nonvolatile recording medium 501 , on which signals are stored that define a computer program or information to be used by the program. A medium may, for example, be a disk or flash memory. Typically, in operation, processor(s) 403 causes data to be read from the nonvolatile recording medium 501 into a volatile memory 502 (e.g., a random access memory, or RAM) that allows for faster access to the information by the processor 403 than does the medium 501. The memory 502 may be located in the storage system 406, as shown in FIG. 5, or in memory system 404, as shown in FIG. 4. The processor 403 generally manipulates the data within the integrated circuit memory 404, 502 and then copies the data to the medium 501 after processing is completed. A variety of mechanisms are known for managing data movement between the medium 501 and the integrated circuit memory element 404, 502, and the invention is not limited in this regard. The invention is also not limited to a particular memory system 404 or storage system 406.

The above-described embodiments of the present invention can be

implemented in any of numerous ways. For example, the above-discussed functionality can be implemented using software, hardware or a combination thereof. When implemented in software, the software code can be executed on any suitable processor or collection of processors (e.g., on a peripheral device). In this respect, it should be appreciated that any component or collection of components that perform the functions described herein can be generically considered as one or more controllers that control the above-discussed functions. The one or more controllers can be implemented in any of numerous ways, such as with dedicated hardware such as (but not limited to) one or more application-specific integrated circuits, field- programmable gate arrays, and/or by employing one or more processors that are programmed using microcode or software to perform the functions recited above. Where a controller stores or provides data for system operation, such data may be stored in a central repository, in a plurality of repositories, or a combination thereof. Further, it should be appreciated that a processor or controller may be embodied in any of a number of forms, such as a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), smart phone, other portable electronic device, rack-mounted computer, desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet computer, or other type of computer.

In addition, a processor or controller may have one or more input and output devices. These devices can be used, among other things, to present a user interface. Examples of output devices that can be used to provide a user interface include printers or display screens for visual presentation of output and speakers or other sound generating devices for audible presentation of output. Examples of input devices that can be used for a user interface including keyboards, and pointing devices, such as mice, touch pads, and digitizing tables. As another example, a computer may receive input by recognizing speech or other audible formats.

Computers may be interconnected by one or more networks in any suitable form, including a local area or a wide area network, such as the Internet and/or any one or more telecommunications networks. Such networks may be based on any suitable technology and may operate according to any suitable protocol and may include wireless networks, wired networks or fiber optic networks. Also, the various methods or processes outlined herein may be coded as software that is executable on one or more processors that employ any one of a variety of operating systems or platforms.

What is claimed is:

Claims

1. A method for use in relation to a vehicle having therein a controller operable to provide an indication of the controller's location to a processing facility, comprising:
determining and signaling to an operator of the vehicle that the controller is approaching a first location at which speeds of vehicles are being or likely will be monitored, without reliance upon a detection device in the vehicle detecting a monitoring signal.
2. The method of claim 1 , wherein the determining is performed by the controller in response to the controller receiving an indication from the processing facility of monitoring activity having occurred at the first location with respect to another vehicle.
3. The method of claim 1 , wherein the controller is implemented on a peripheral device used by the operator or a passenger of the vehicle.
4. The method of claim 3, wherein the peripheral device comprises a
smartphone.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein the smartphone comprises a processor, and wherein the controller comprises program code executable by the processor.
6. The method of claim 1 , further comprising:
receiving an indication from a detection device that a monitoring signal is detected; and
sending to the processing facility an indication of the monitoring signal having been detected.
7. The method of claim 2, wherein the vehicle is equipped with a computer that collects information relating to operation of the vehicle, and wherein the method further comprises:
requesting, from the computer, information relating to operation of the vehicle.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein the requesting is performed in response to the determining.
9. The method of claim 7, wherein the information comprises an indication of the vehicle's speed at or after, or at and after, a time at which the determining occurred.
10. The method of claim 7, further comprising acts of:
receiving the requested information;
causing the information to be stored; and
retrieving the information from storage.
1 1. A system, comprising:
a processing facility; and
a plurality of controllers, each disposed in a corresponding vehicle, in networked communication with the processing facility, each of the controllers being operable to provide an indication of the corresponding vehicle's location to the processing facility and to receive an indication from a detection device in the corresponding vehicle that a monitoring signal has been detected, each of the controllers being operable to cause an indication of detection of a monitoring signal and a location at which detection occurred to be sent to the processing facility.
12. The system of claim 1 1 , wherein at least one of the plurality of controllers is implemented on a peripheral device coupled via a link to a detection device in the corresponding vehicle, and wherein the indication of a monitoring signal being detected is received via the link.
13. The system of claim 1 1 , wherein at least one of the plurality of controllers is implemented on a peripheral device operable to receive audible input, and wherein the indication of detection of a monitoring signal is received as audible input from the detection device.
14. The system of claim 1 1 , wherein at least one of the plurality of controllers is operable to request information relating to operation of the vehicle from a computer implemented in the vehicle, and to send at least a portion of the information to the processing facility.
15. The system of claim 1 1, further comprising a component, in networked communication with the processing facility, which receives information relating to operation of the corresponding vehicle in which one of the plurality of controllers is traveling.
16. The system of claim 15, wherein the component is operated by a law enforcement organization, a news agency, a fleet operator, or a parent of a child traveling in the vehicle.
17. The system of claim 15, wherein the information relating to operation of the vehicle comprises one or more of the vehicle's speed, the vehicle's location, a speed limit at a location in which the vehicle is traveling, a result of a comparison between the vehicle's speed and a speed limit at a location in which the vehicle is traveling, and a result of a comparison between the vehicle's speed and an average speed of other vehicles at a location in which the vehicle is traveling.
18. The system of claim 15, wherein the component receives information from the processing facility relating to operation of a plurality of vehicles, the information comprising one or more of a speed at which one or more of the plurality of vehicles is traveling, and a location of one or more of the plurality of vehicles.
19. The system of claim 1 1 , wherein the processing facility, upon receiving a first indication of detection of a monitoring signal from one of the plurality of controllers, sends a second indication to one or more others of the plurality of controllers that the monitoring signal was detected.
20. The system of claim 19, wherein the processing facility determines the one or more other controllers to which the second indication is sent based on a location of the one controller when detection occurred and a location of the one or more other controllers.
21. The system of claim 1 1, wherein the processing facility processes information caused to be sent by each of the plurality of controllers to identify a correlation between detected monitoring activity and one or more locations.
22. The system of claim 1 1 , wherein the processing facility processes information caused to be sent by each of the plurality of controllers to identify a correlation between detected monitoring activity and one or more times of day, week, month or year.
23. The system of claim 1 1 , wherein at least one of the plurality of controllers is implemented via program code executable by a peripheral device.
23. A computer-readable medium having instructions stored thereon which, when executed in a vehicle, perform a method comprising: reporting the vehicle's location to a remote processing facility;
receiving an indication from the remote processing facility that the vehicle is approaching a first location at which speeds of vehicles are being or likely will be monitored; and
signaling the user upon the indication being received.
24. The computer-readable medium of claim 23, wherein a detection device is disposed in the vehicle, and wherein the method comprises:
receiving notification from the detection device that a monitoring signal is detected; and
reporting the notification and a location of the vehicle to the processing facility.
25. The computer-readable medium of claim 23, wherein the vehicle includes a computer for collecting information relating to operation of the vehicle, and wherein the method comprises requesting information relating to vehicle operation from the computer in response to receiving the notification from the detection device.
26. The computer-readable medium of claim 25, wherein the information comprises an indication of the vehicle's speed at or after receiving the notification.
27. The computer-readable medium of claim 26, further comprising acts of: storing the information;
retrieving the information.
PCT/US2010/002367 2009-08-27 2010-08-27 Method and apparatus for processing data on vehicle monitoring, location and/or opperation WO2011028263A2 (en)

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US61/237,452 2009-08-27

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US6118403A (en) * 1998-11-13 2000-09-12 Lang; Brook Speed trap information system
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Patent Citations (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6118403A (en) * 1998-11-13 2000-09-12 Lang; Brook Speed trap information system
US20020158922A1 (en) * 2001-04-05 2002-10-31 Clark Richard L. Portable real-time traffic information device and method
US20060238382A1 (en) * 2005-04-21 2006-10-26 Microsoft Corporation Real-time virtual earth driving information
US20080015748A1 (en) * 2006-07-14 2008-01-17 David Nagy System for monitoring, controlling, and reporting vehicle operation through onboard diagnostic port
WO2009026161A1 (en) * 2007-08-16 2009-02-26 Google Inc. Combining road and vehicle sensor traffic information

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