WO2013023165A1 - Lighting system for a vehicle interior component - Google Patents

Lighting system for a vehicle interior component Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2013023165A1
WO2013023165A1 PCT/US2012/050404 US2012050404W WO2013023165A1 WO 2013023165 A1 WO2013023165 A1 WO 2013023165A1 US 2012050404 W US2012050404 W US 2012050404W WO 2013023165 A1 WO2013023165 A1 WO 2013023165A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
configured
light
surface
assembly
light guide
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2012/050404
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Jonathan M. FRENS
Scott R. Meyers
Original Assignee
Johnson Controls Technology Company
Flowerday, Craig, D.
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 US201161522103P priority Critical
Priority to US61/522,103 priority
Application filed by Johnson Controls Technology Company, Flowerday, Craig, D. filed Critical Johnson Controls Technology Company
Publication of WO2013023165A1 publication Critical patent/WO2013023165A1/en

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60HARRANGEMENTS OR ADAPTATIONS OF HEATING, COOLING, VENTILATING, OR OTHER AIR-TREATING DEVICES SPECIALLY FOR PASSENGER OR GOODS SPACES OF VEHICLES
    • B60H1/00Heating, cooling or ventilating [HVAC] devices
    • B60H1/34Nozzles; Air-diffusers
    • B60H1/3414Nozzles; Air-diffusers with means for adjusting the air stream direction
    • B60H1/3421Nozzles; Air-diffusers with means for adjusting the air stream direction using only pivoting shutters
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60QARRANGEMENT OF SIGNALLING OR LIGHTING DEVICES, THE MOUNTING OR SUPPORTING THEREOF OR CIRCUITS THEREFOR, FOR VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60Q3/00Arrangement of lighting devices for vehicle interiors; Lighting devices specially adapted for vehicle interiors
    • B60Q3/20Arrangement of lighting devices for vehicle interiors; Lighting devices specially adapted for vehicle interiors for lighting specific fittings of passenger or driving compartments; mounted on specific fittings of passenger or driving compartments
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60QARRANGEMENT OF SIGNALLING OR LIGHTING DEVICES, THE MOUNTING OR SUPPORTING THEREOF OR CIRCUITS THEREFOR, FOR VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60Q3/00Arrangement of lighting devices for vehicle interiors; Lighting devices specially adapted for vehicle interiors
    • B60Q3/60Arrangement of lighting devices for vehicle interiors; Lighting devices specially adapted for vehicle interiors characterised by optical aspects
    • B60Q3/62Arrangement of lighting devices for vehicle interiors; Lighting devices specially adapted for vehicle interiors characterised by optical aspects using light guides
    • B60Q3/64Arrangement of lighting devices for vehicle interiors; Lighting devices specially adapted for vehicle interiors characterised by optical aspects using light guides for a single lighting device
    • GPHYSICS
    • G02OPTICS
    • G02BOPTICAL ELEMENTS, SYSTEMS, OR APPARATUS
    • G02B6/00Light guides
    • G02B6/0001Light guides specially adapted for lighting devices or systems
    • G02B6/0005Light guides specially adapted for lighting devices or systems the light guides being of the fibre type
    • G02B6/0008Light guides specially adapted for lighting devices or systems the light guides being of the fibre type the light being emitted at the end of the fibre
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B60VEHICLES IN GENERAL
    • B60HARRANGEMENTS OR ADAPTATIONS OF HEATING, COOLING, VENTILATING, OR OTHER AIR-TREATING DEVICES SPECIALLY FOR PASSENGER OR GOODS SPACES OF VEHICLES
    • B60H1/00Heating, cooling or ventilating [HVAC] devices
    • B60H1/34Nozzles; Air-diffusers
    • B60H2001/3471Details of actuators

Abstract

A vehicle (10) ventilation assembly (26) is provided that includes a movable vent (108) configured to direct an air flow from a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system into a vehicle interior (12). The vehicle ventilation assembly (26) also includes a lighting assem- bly (38) configured to illuminate a surface of the movable vent (108).

Description

LIGHTING SYSTEM FOR A VEHICLE INTERIOR

COMPONENT

BACKGROUND

[0001] The invention relates generally to a lighting system for a vehicle interior component.

[0002] Cup holders may be positioned throughout a vehicle interior for securing beverage containers. For example, the center console, armrests, door panels, or other interior structures of the vehicle may include one or more cup holders. Certain cup holder configurations include a recess disposed within the interior structure, and tabs extending inwardly from the recess. The tabs are biased inwardly, and configured to retract to accommodate various beverage container diameters. Contact between the tabs and the beverage container limits movement of the beverage container during operation of the vehicle. Typical cup holders may accommodate a variety of cups, cans, bottles, and/or other small items, such as electronic devices, sunglasses, and food containers, for example.

[0003] Certain cup holders include ambient lighting to increase the visibility of the cup holder and/or the beverage container in dark conditions (e.g., while driving at night). For example, certain cup holders may include a lit ring extending about the circumference of the cup holder to enhance the visibility of the cup holder in dark conditions. Unfortunately, employing a lit ring to provide ambient lighting may significantly increase the manufacturing cost of the cup holder assembly. In addition, directly lighting the lit ring assembly (e.g., via light emitting diodes coupled to a circuit board positioned adjacent to the lit ring) exposes the lighting assembly to fluids that may spill from the beverage container.

[0004] Typical vehicle interiors also include ventilation assemblies configured to provide heated and/or cooled air to vehicle occupants. Each ventilation assembly generally includes multiple movable vents configured to direct an air flow from a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system into the vehicle interior. The ventilation assembly may also include a control knob coupled to the movable vents, and configured to adjust an orientation of the vents relative to the air flow. The control knob enables a vehicle occupant to direct the air flow toward a desired region of the vehicle interior. Unfortunately, in dark conditions (e.g., while driving at night), the control knob may not be readily identifiable, thereby increasing the difficulty associated with vent adjustment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The present invention relates to a vehicle ventilation assembly including a movable vent configured to direct an air flow from a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system into a vehicle interior. The vehicle ventilation assembly also includes a control knob coupled to the movable vent, and configured to adjust an orientation of the vent relative to the air flow. The vehicle ventilation assembly further includes a lighting assembly configured to illuminate a surface of the control knob.

[0006] The present invention also relates to a vehicle ventilation assembly including a movable vent configured to direct an air flow from a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system into a vehicle interior. The vehicle ventilation assembly also includes a lighting assembly configured to illuminate a surface of the movable vent.

[0007] The present invention further relates to a vehicle ventilation assembly including a movable vent configured to direct an air flow from a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system into a vehicle interior. The vehicle ventilation assembly also includes a lighting assembly configured to illuminate a surface of the movable vent. The lighting assembly includes a fiber optic cable configured to transfer light from a remote light source to the surface of the movable vent. The lighting assembly also includes a light guide disposed within the movable vent, and optically coupled to the fiber optic cable. The light guide is configured to illuminate the surface of the movable vent. In addition, the lighting assembly includes a clip configured to secure the fiber optic cable to the light guide. DRAWINGS

[0008] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary vehicle that may include a lighting system for vehicle interior components.

[0009] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a part of the interior of the vehicle of FIG. 1.

[0010] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a cup holder assembly having multiple tabs configured to retain a beverage container.

[0011] FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of an embodiment of a lighting assembly configured to emit light from multiple tabs within a cup holder assembly.

[0012] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a tab including an embodiment of a lighting assembly configured to illuminate a surface of the tab.

[0013] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternative tab including an embodiment of a lighting assembly configured to emit light from the tab to illuminate an interior surface of the cup holder assembly.

[0014] FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the tab shown in FIG. 5.

[0015] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a vehicle ventilation assembly having movable vents and a control knob.

[0016] FIG. 9 is an exploded view of the control knob, as shown in FIG. 8. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0017] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a motor vehicle 10 that may include a lighting system for vehicle interior components. As illustrated, the vehicle 10 includes an interior 12 having a seat 14, an armrest 16 and a center console 18. As discussed in detail below, the seat 14, armrest 16, center console 18 and/or other areas within the interior 12 may include cup holders configured to secure beverage containers. In the present embodiment, a cup holder assembly includes a receptacle configured to receive a beverage container. The cup holder assembly also includes a movable part configured to secure the beverage container within the receptacle. For example, contact between the movable part and the beverage container limits movement of the beverage container during operation of the vehicle 10. In certain embodiments, the cup holder assembly includes a lighting assembly configured to emit light from the movable part. For example, in certain embodiments, the lighting assembly is configured to illuminate a surface of the movable part. In addition, the lighting assembly may be configured to emit light from the movable part to illuminate an interior surface of the receptacle. The light emitted from the surface of the movable part and/or reflected from the interior surface of the receptacle facilitates identification of the cup holder in low light conditions (e.g., while driving at night). As discussed in detail below, the lighting assembly may include a fiber optic cable configured to transfer light from a remote light source to movable part. Because the light source is positioned remote from the cup holder, the possibility of spilling liquid from a beverage container onto the light source circuit board is substantially reduced or eliminated.

[0018] Furthermore, in certain embodiments, the vehicle interior 12 also includes ventilation assemblies configured to provide heated and/or cooled air to vehicle occupants. As discussed in detail below, each ventilation assembly includes multiple movable vents configured to direct an air flow from a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system into the vehicle interior 12. The ventilation assembly also includes a control knob coupled to the movable vents, and configured to adjust an orientation of the vents relative to the air flow. The control knob enables a vehicle occupant to direct the air flow toward a desired region of the vehicle interior 12. In certain embodiments, the ventilation assembly includes a lighting assembly configured to illuminate a surface of the control knob. Consequently, visibility of the ventilation assembly may be enhanced in low light conditions (e.g., while driving at night).

[0019] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a part of the interior 12 of the vehicle 10 of FIG. 1. As illustrated, the vehicle interior 12 includes the center console 18 having a cup holder assembly 20. As previously discussed, cup holders may be positioned throughout the interior 12 of the vehicle 10. For example, cup holders may be positioned within an interior door panel 22, an armrest, or within the seats 14. As discussed in detail below, the cup holder assembly 20 includes movable parts (e.g., tabs) configured to retain a beverage container, and a lighting assembly configured to emit light from the movable parts. For example, in certain embodiments, the lighting assembly is configured to illuminate a surface of each movable part. In addition, the lighting assembly may be configured to emit light from a movable part to illuminate an interior surface of the cup holder receptacle. The light emitted from the surface of the movable part and/or reflected from the interior surface of the receptacle facilitates identification of the cup holder in low light conditions (e.g., while driving at night).

[0020] The vehicle interior 12 also includes an instrument panel 24 having a ventilation assembly 26. While a single ventilation assembly 26 is employed in the illustrated instrument panel 24, it should be appreciated that alternative embodiments may include multiple ventilation assemblies 26 distributed throughout the instrument panel 24. In addition, ventilation assemblies may be coupled to the interior door panel 22, to the center console 18, to the seats 14, and/or to other structures within the vehicle interior 12 (e.g., floor console, armrest, etc.). As discussed in detail below, the ventilation assembly 26 includes a control knob configured to enable a vehicle occupant to direct an air flow toward a desired region of the vehicle interior, and a lighting assembly configured to illuminate a surface of the control knob. The illuminated surface of the control knob enhances the visibility of the ventilation assembly in low light conditions (e.g., while driving at night).

[0021] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of a cup holder assembly 20. As illustrated, the cup holder assembly 20 includes two receptacles 28, each configured to receive a respective beverage container. As will be appreciated, alternative cup holder assemblies 20 may include more or fewer receptacles (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or more). In the illustrated embodiment, the cup holder assembly 20 includes multiple movable parts, such as the illustrated tabs 30, extending from a housing 32 of the cup holder assembly 20. Each tab 30 is biased in a radially inward direction 34, and configured to retract to accommodate various beverage container diameters. For example, as a beverage container is lowered into a receptacle 28, contact between the beverage container and the tabs 30 will drive each tab 30 in a radially outward direction 36. Because the tabs 30 are biased in the radially inward direction 34, the tabs 30 will limit movement of the beverage container within the receptacle 28 during operation of the vehicle 10. While each receptacle 28 includes four tabs 30 in the illustrated embodiment, it should be appreciated that alternative embodiments may include more or fewer tabs 30. For example, in certain embodiments, each receptacle 28 may include 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, or more tabs 30.

[0022] The cup holder assembly 20 also includes a lighting assembly 38 configured to emit light from each tab 30. In the illustrated embodiment, the lighting assembly 38 is configured to illuminate a portion 40 of an upper surface 42 of each tab 30. As discussed in detail below, certain embodiments of the lighting assembly 38 include fiber optic cables configured to transfer light from a remote light source to each tab 30. In such embodiments, each tab 30 includes a light guide optically coupled to a respective fiber optic cable, and configured to emit light from the surface 40 of the tab 30. While each tab 30 includes an illuminated surface 40 in the illustrated embodiment, it should be appreciated that only a portion of the tabs 30 (e.g., one half, one quarter, etc.) may be illuminated in alternative embodiments.

[0023] In addition, certain tabs 30 are configured to emit light from a lower surface 44, thereby providing illumination 46 to an interior surface of each receptacle. For example, in certain embodiments, a fiber optic cable is employed to transfer light from a remote light source to each tab 30. In such embodiments, each tab includes an opening in the lower surface 44, and the fiber optic cable is directed toward the opening to illuminate the interior surface of the receptacle 28. While each receptacle 28 includes one tab 30 configured to provide illumination 46 to the interior surface, it should be appreciated that alternative embodiments may include additional illuminated tabs. The light emitted from the surface of each tab 30 and/or reflected from the interior surface of the receptacle 28 facilitates identification of the cup holder assembly 20 in low light conditions (e.g., while driving at night). In embodiments that employ remote light sources to illuminate the tabs 30, the possibility of spilling liquid from a beverage container onto the light source circuit board is substantially reduced or eliminated. In addition, remote illumination simplifies construction of the cup holder assembly, as compared to directly lit ambient lighting assemblies (e.g., lit ring cup holders), thereby substantially reducing the manufacturing costs associated with producing the cup holder.

[0024] FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram of an embodiment of a lighting assembly 38 configured to emit light from multiple tabs 30 within a cup holder assembly 20. In the illustrated embodiment, the cup holder assembly 20 includes a first tab 48, a second tab 50, a third tab 52 and a fourth tab 54. In certain embodiments, the tabs 48, 50, 52 and 54 are positioned about a circumference of the receptacle 28, and configured to retain a beverage container. In the illustrated embodiment, the lighting assembly 38 includes a circuit board 56 positioned remote from the cup holder assembly 20 (e.g., within the center console 18, a floor console, etc.). Light is transmitted from the remote circuit board 56 to the tabs 30 via fiber optic cables 58. Specifically, light from a first light source 60 is conveyed to an illuminated surface 40 of the first tab 48 via a first fiber optic cable 62, light from a second light source 64 is conveyed to an illuminated surface 40 of the second tab 50 via a second fiber optic cable 66, light from a third light source 68 is conveyed to an illuminated surface 40 of the third tab 52 via a third fiber optic cable 70, and light from a fourth light source 72 is conveyed to an illuminated surface 40 of the fourth tab 54 via a fourth fiber optic cable 74. In addition, the circuit board 56 includes a fifth light source 76 optically coupled to a fifth fiber optic cable 78. The fifth fiber optic cable 78 is directed toward an opening in the fourth tab 54 to provide illumination 46 to the interior surface of the cup holder receptacle. While separate light sources 72 and 76, and separate fiber optic cables 74 and 78 are employed to illuminate the surface 40 and to provide the illumination 46, it should be appreciated that alternative embodiments may utilize a single light source and a single fiber optic cable to provide light to the fourth tab 54 for the illuminated surface 40 and the receptacle illumination 46.

[0025] As will be appreciated, the light sources may be any suitable device configured to emit sufficient light to illuminate the tabs, such as a light emitting diode (LED), incandescent bulb, or a fluorescent bulb, for example. In certain embodiments, the circuit board may be manufactured using light sources having substantially similar colors and/or intensities (e.g., selected from the same bin). Consequently, the illuminated surfaces may provide substantially uniform lighting, as compared to configurations employing distributed light sources that may vary in color and/or intensity. In addition, the circuit board 56 may be placed within a structure (e.g., center console 18, floor console, etc.) that has sufficient room to accommodate the dimensions of the board, as compared to the confined structure of the cup holder. Furthermore, because the circuit board 56 is positioned remote from the cup holder 20, the possibility of spilling liquid from a beverage container onto the circuit board is substantially reduced or eliminated, thereby increasing the longevity of the circuit board.

[0026] In the illustrated embodiment, the circuit board 56 includes control circuitry 80 configured to drive each light source. In certain embodiments, the control circuitry 80 is configured to selectively emit light from the illuminated surface 40 of each tab in a desired pattern. For example, the control circuitry 80 may sequentially illuminate the first light source 60, the second light source 64, the third light source 68, and then the fourth light source 72. As a result, the tabs 30 will illuminate in a sequential pattern about the receptacle, thereby providing a marquee lighting effect. As will be appreciated, the control circuitry 80 may be configured to illuminate the light sources in alternative patterns, thereby producing a variety of lighting effects. In addition, the control circuitry 80 may be configured to vary the intensity, frequency and/or color of each light source. For example, each light source may include a tricolor LED configured to emit a variety of colors via a combination of red, green and blue color elements. In such a configuration, a color of the illuminated surfaces 40 and/or the receptacle illumination 46 may be particular adjusted based on user input, for example. Furthermore, the control circuitry 80 may include a dimming feature to adjust lighting intensity and/or voltage conditioning elements to provide a desired voltage to the light sources.

[0027] In the illustrated embodiment, the lighting assembly 38 includes a sensor 82 communicatively coupled to the control circuitry 80. The sensor 82 is configured to output a signal indicative of presence of an activating object, temperature of the activating object and/or ambient temperature. The control circuitry 80, in turn, is configured to adjust a color, intensity and/or frequency of the light emitted from each tab based on the signal. For example, the sensor 82 may be a thermocouple imbedded within one of the tabs. In such an embodiment, the sensor 82 will output a signal indicative of a beverage container temperature to the control circuitry 80. The control circuitry 80 will then adjust the color emitted by each light source based on the detected temperature. For example, if a cold beverage is placed within the cup holder receptacle, the tabs may emit blue light, and if a hot beverage is placed within the cup holder receptacle, the tabs may emit red light. Similarly, the color of the tabs may be adjusted based on a detected ambient temperature within the vehicle interior. In certain embodiments, the cup holder assembly 20 is configured to actively heat or cool the beverage container (e.g., by directing heated or cooled air from the HVAC system to the cup holder assembly 20). In such embodiments, the control circuitry 80 may instruct each light source to emit red light if the beverage container is being actively heated, and to emit blue light if the beverage container is being actively cooled.

[0028] The sensor 82 may also be configured to detect the presence of an activating object (e.g., keys, sunglasses, coins, food/beverage containers, etc.) within the cup holder assembly 20. If the object is detected, the control circuitry 80 will instruct each light source to decrease luminous intensity or completely darken. In this manner, light reflected from the object within the cup holder may be significantly reduced or eliminated, thereby reducing driver distraction. Furthermore, once the sensor has detected that the object has been removed from the cup holder, the control circuitry 80 will instruct the light source to return to the initial illuminated state, thereby facilitating identification of the cup holder assembly in low light situations. In alternative embodiments, the control circuitry 80 may be configured to instruct the light source to increase luminous intensity, vary the color and/or vary the frequency of the emitted light upon detection of an activating object.

[0029] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a tab 30 including an embodiment of a lighting assembly 38 configured to illuminate a surface 40 of the tab. As previously discussed, each tab 30 extends from an interior surface of the receptacle 28, and is biased radially inward. In the illustrated embodiment, the tab 30 is coupled to the receptacle 28 by a pivot 84 that enables the tab to rotate in the radially inward direction 34 and the radially outward direction 36. In certain embodiments, the tab 30 includes a notch configured to receive a biasing member that urges the tab 30 in the radially inward direction 34. For example, a resilient band may be disposed about the receptacle 28 such that the band engages the notch of each tab 30. In such embodiments, the tension of the resilient band drives each tab 30 to rotate in the radially inward direction 34 about a respective pivot 84. Consequently, when a beverage container is lowered into a receptacle 28, contact between the beverage container and the tabs 30 will drive each tab 30 in the radially outward direction 36. Because the tabs 30 are biased in the radially inward direction 34, the tabs 30 will limit movement of the beverage container within the receptacle 28 during operation of the vehicle 10.

[0030] In the illustrated embodiment, light from a remote light source is conveyed to the illuminated surface 40 of the tab 30 via a fiber optic cable 58. As illustrated, the lighting assembly 38 includes a light guide 88 disposed within the tab 30, and optically coupled to the fiber optic cable 58. In addition, the upper surface 42 of the tab 30 includes an opening 90 configured to expose a portion of the light guide 88. In this configuration, light from the fiber optic cable 58 is transmitted through the light guide 88, and emitted from the illuminated surface 40, thereby enhancing the visibility of the cup holder assembly 20 in low light conditions (e.g., while driving at night). While the illuminated surface 40 is substantially rectangular in the illustrated embodiment, it should be appreciated that alternative embodiments may include illuminated surfaces having other sizes and/or shapes (e.g., circular, polygonal, elliptical, etc.). In addition, it should be appreciated that the light guide 88 may be tinted to provide a desired illuminated color. For example, if blue light is desired and white light is emitted from the remote light source, the light guide 88 may be tinted blue to provide the desired appearance.

[0031] In addition, the illuminated surface 40 of the light guide 88 may be coated with a reflective material 92 to enhance visibility of the tab 30 in daylight conditions. For example, the tab 30 may include a chrome coating over the illuminated surface 40. Such a coating may be configured to facilitate light passage from the light guide 88, thereby maintaining visibility of the tab 30 in low light conditions. It should also be appreciated that alternative light transmissive colored and/or textured coatings may be applied in alternative embodiments to enhance the appearance of the tab 30.

[0032] FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternative tab 30 including an embodiment of a lighting assembly 38 configured to emit light from the tab to illuminate the interior surface of the receptacle. In the illustrated embodiment, light from a remote light source is conveyed to the tab 30 via a fiber optic cable 58. As illustrated, the tab 30 includes a fiber optic cable retainer 94 configured to couple the cable 58 to the tab 30, and to direct the fiber optic cable toward an opening 96 in the lower surface 44 of the tab 30. Because the opening 96 is directed toward the interior surface of the receptacle, light from the fiber optic cable 58 will illuminate the receptacle, thereby enhancing the visibility of the cup holder assembly 20 in low light conditions (e.g., while driving at night). While a single opening 96 is included in the illustrated embodiment, it should be appreciated that alternative embodiments may include additional openings 96 (e.g., 2, 3, 4, 5, or more) configured to direct light toward different regions of the cup holder assembly 20. In addition, it should be appreciated that the shape and size of the opening 96 may be particularly configured to provide the desired lighting effect. Furthermore, certain embodiments may include a lens disposed within the opening 96, and configured to broaden or narrow the light beam emitted from the fiber optic cable 58.

[0033] FIG. 7 is an exploded view of the tab 30 shown in FIG. 5. As illustrated, the lighting assembly 38 includes a clip 98 configured to secure the fiber optic cable 58 to the light guide 88. In the illustrated embodiment, the clip 98 includes protrusions 100 configured to retain the fiber optic cable 58. For example, the protrusions 100 may be angled inwardly from the clip body, thereby enabling the protrusions 100 to facilitate passage of the fiber optic cable 58 into the clip, and blocking movement of the cable 58 out of the clip (e.g., via contact between the protrusions 100 and an outer covering of the fiber optic cable 58). As illustrated, the clip 98 also includes an exterior angled protrusion 102 configured to secure the clip 98 to the light guide 88. Specifically, the angled protrusion 102 facilitates passage of the clip 98 into a cavity 104 of the light guide 88, and blocks movement of the clip out of the cavity 104. In certain embodiments, the clip 98 may be formed by an injection molding process, and the protrusions 100 and 102 may be stamped into the surfaces of the clip body. Employing such an injection molded clip 98 to secure the fiber optic cable 58 to the light guide 88 may substantially reduce manufacturing costs, as compared to employing communications-grade optical connectors.

[0034] The light guide 88, in turn, is coupled to the tab 30 such that a protrusion 106 of the light guide 88 engages the opening 90. As a result, light from the fiber optic cable 58 will pass through the light guide 88, and illuminate the surface 40 of the tab 30. In certain embodiments, the light guide 88 may be glued, heat staked, clipped and/or otherwise connected to the tab 30. Alternatively, the light guide 88 may be integrally molded with the tab, thereby providing a unitary structure configured to receive light from the fiber optic cable 58. Because the light source is positioned remote from the cup holder, the possibility of spilling liquid from a beverage container onto the light source circuit board is substantially reduced or eliminated.

[0035] While the cup holder assembly described above employs tabs to retain the beverage container, it should be appreciated that alternative embodiments may utilize other movable parts to secure the beverage container within the receptacle. For example, in certain embodiments, the cup holder assembly may include a rotatable arm that urges the beverage container against an interior surface of the receptacle. In such embodiments, the lighting assembly may be configured to emit light from the rotatable arm to facilitate identification of the cup holder assembly in low light conditions. In addition, while the lighting system is described above with reference to a cup holder assembly, it should be appreciated that the lighting assembly may be employed within other retaining assemblies of the vehicle interior. For example, the vehicle may include a receptacle configured to retain a portable electronic device, and a movable part configured to secure the portable electronic device within the receptacle. In such a configuration, a lighting assembly may be configured to emit light from the movable part to facilitate identification of the retaining assembly in low light conditions. [0036] FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a vehicle ventilation assembly 26 having movable vents 108 and a control knob 110. The movable vents 108 are configured to direct an air flow from a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system into the vehicle interior 12. The control knob 110 is configured to adjust an orientation of the vents 108 relative to the air flow. As illustrated, the ventilation assembly 26 includes three horizontal vents 108, with the control knob 108 coupled to the center vent 108. While three horizontal vents 108 are included in the illustrated embodiment, it should be appreciated that more or fewer horizontal vents 108 (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or more) may be employed in alternative embodiments. Furthermore, it should be appreciated that certain embodiments may include vertical vents, either alone or in combination with horizontal vents. The control knob 110 is configured to direct the horizontal and/or vertical vents in a horizontal direction 112 and/or a vertical direction 114.

[0037] In the illustrated embodiment, the lighting assembly 38 is configured to illuminate a surface 116 of the control knob 110, thereby enhancing the visibility of the control knob 110 in low light conditions (e.g., while driving at night). In certain embodiments, the lighting assembly 38 includes a fiber optic cable configured to transfer light from a remote light source to the control knob 110, and a light guide disposed within the control knob 110, and optically coupled to the fiber optic cable. In such embodiments, the light guide is configured to receive light from the fiber optic cable, and to illuminate the surface 116 of the control knob. Similar to the illuminated surface of the tab, the surface 116 of the control knob 110 may be coated with a reflective material 118 to enhance visibility of the control knob 110 in daylight conditions. For example, the control knob 110 may include a chrome coating over the illuminated surface 116. Such a coating may be configured to facilitate light passage from the light guide, thereby maintaining visibility of the control knob 110 in low light conditions (e.g., while driving at night). It should also be appreciated that alternative light transmissive colored and/or textured coatings may be applied in alternative embodiments to enhance the appearance of the control knob 110.

[0038] In certain embodiments, the lighting assembly 38 includes control circuitry, such as the control circuitry 80 described above, configured to drive the remote light source. The control circuitry may be configured to vary the intensity, frequency and/or color of the remote light source to provide a desired illumination effect. For example, the light source may include a tricolor LED configured to emit a variety of colors via a combination of red, green and blue color elements. In such embodiments, a color of the illuminated surface 116 may be particular adjusted based on user input, for example. In further embodiments, the control circuitry may be communicatively coupled to the HVAC system. In such embodiments, the HVAC system is configured to output a signal indicative of target air temperature to the control circuitry. The control circuitry, in turn, will adjust the color of the light source based on the signal. For example, if the air conditioner is activated, the light source may emit a blue color, and if the heater is activated, the light source may emit a red color. Such a configuration provides a visual indication to the vehicle occupants of the HVAC target temperature. Alternatively, the lighting assembly 38 may include a sensor, such as the sensor 82 described above, configured to detect air temperature emitted from the ventilation assembly 26, and the control circuitry may adjust the color of the light source based on the detected air temperature. In further embodiments, the intensity, frequency and/or color of the light source may be adjusted based on air filter status, humidity, ambient temperature, and/or other detected or measured parameters.

[0039] FIG. 9 is an exploded view of the control knob 110, as shown in FIG. 8. Similar to the illuminated tabs described above, the lighting assembly 38 includes a clip 98 configured to secure the fiber optic cable 58 to the light guide. In the illustrated embodiment, the clip 98 includes protrusions 100 configured to retain the fiber optic cable 58. For example, the protrusions 100 may be angled inwardly from the clip body, thereby enabling the protrusions 100 to facilitate passage of the fiber optic cable 58 into the clip, and blocking movement of the cable 58 out of the clip (e.g., via contact between the protrusions 100 and an outer covering of the fiber optic cable 58). As illustrated, the clip 98 also includes an exterior angled protrusion 102 configured to secure the clip 98 to the light guide. Specifically, the angled protrusion 102 facilitates passage of the clip 98 into a cavity 120 of the light guide 122, and blocks movement of the clip out of the cavity 120. In certain embodiments, the clip 98 may be formed from metal via a stamping process. Alternatively, the clip 98 may be formed by an injection molding process, and the protrusions 100 and 102 may be stamped into the surfaces of the clip body. Employing such an injection molded/stamped clip 98 to secure the fiber optic cable 58 to the light guide 122 may substantially reduce manufacturing costs, as compared to employing communications- grade optical connectors.

[0040] The light guide 122, in turn, is disposed within a cavity 124 of the control knob 110. As a result, light from the fiber optic cable 58 will pass through the light guide 122, and illuminate the surface 116 of the control knob 110. In certain embodiments, the light guide 122 may be glued, heat staked, clipped and/or otherwise connected to the control knob 110. In such embodiments, the control knob 110 is formed from a substantially transparent material (e.g., glass, transparent plastic, etc.), thereby enabling light from the light guide 122 to illuminate the surface 116 of the control knob 110. Alternatively, the light guide 122 may be integrally molded with the control knob, thereby providing a unitary structure configured to receive light from the fiber optic cable 58. In such a configuration, the illuminated surface 116 of the control knob 110 corresponds to an outer surface of the light guide 122.

[0041] While the embodiments described above employ fiber optic cables to transfer light from a remote light source to the illuminated trim component, it should be appreciated that alternative embodiments may employ a direct lighting configuration. For example, in certain embodiments, a light source (e.g., LED) may be disposed within each tab of the cup holder assembly. In such embodiments, the light source is optically coupled to the light guide, thereby directly illuminating the surface of the tab. Similarly, a light source may be disposed within the control knob of the ventilation assembly. In such a configuration, the light source is optically coupled to the light guide, thereby directly illuminating the surface of the control knob. Embodiments employing direct illumination may utilize electrical conductors (e.g., electrical wiring, flex circuits, etc.) to supply electrical power to the distributed light sources.

[0042] Furthermore, while the lighting assembly described above is configured to illuminate the surface of the control knob, it should be appreciated that alternative embodiments may employ a lighting assembly configured to illuminate the surface of the movable vents, such as the illustrated horizontal vents 108. For example, the lighting assembly may include a fiber optic cable configured to transfer light from a remote light source to the movable vent, and a light guide disposed within the movable vent and configured to illuminate the movable vent. Such a configuration may also include control circuitry configured to adjust a color, intensity and/or frequency of the light emitted from the surface of the movable vent.

[0043] While only certain features and embodiments of the invention have been illustrated and described, many modifications and changes may occur to those skilled in the art (e.g., variations in sizes, dimensions, structures, shapes and proportions of the various elements, values of parameters (e.g., temperatures, pressures, etc.), mounting arrangements, use of materials, colors, orientations, etc.) without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of the subject matter recited in the claims. The order or sequence of any process or method steps may be varied or re- sequenced according to alternative embodiments. It is, therefore, to be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and changes as fall within the true spirit of the invention. Furthermore, in an effort to provide a concise description of the exemplary embodiments, all features of an actual implementation may not have been described (i.e., those unrelated to the presently contemplated best mode of carrying out the invention, or those unrelated to enabling the claimed invention). It should be appreciated that in the development of any such actual implementation, as in any engineering or design project, numerous implementation specific decisions may be made. Such a development effort might be complex and time consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking of design, fabrication, and manufacture for those of ordinary skill having the benefit of this disclosure, without undue experimentation.

Claims

CLAIMS:
1. A vehicle ventilation assembly, comprising:
a movable vent configured to direct an air flow from a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system into a vehicle interior;
a control knob coupled to the movable vent, and configured to adjust an orientation of the vent relative to the air flow; and
a lighting assembly configured to illuminate a surface of the control knob.
2. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 1, wherein the lighting assembly comprises a fiber optic cable configured to transfer light from a remote light source to the control knob.
3. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 2, wherein the lighting assembly comprises a light guide disposed within the control knob, and optically coupled to the fiber optic cable, wherein the light guide is configured to illuminate the surface of the control knob.
4. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 3, wherein the lighting assembly comprises a clip configured to secure the fiber optic cable to the light guide.
5. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 4, wherein the clip comprises a plurality of first protrusions configured to retain the fiber optic cable, and a plurality of second protrusions configured to secure the clip to the light guide.
6. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 4, wherein the clip is formed by an injection molding process.
7. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 3, comprising a reflective coating disposed onto the surface of the control knob, wherein the reflective coating is configured to facilitate light passage from the light guide.
8. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 1, comprising control circuitry configured to adjust a color, intensity, frequency, or a combination thereof, of light emitted from the surface of the control knob.
9. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 1, wherein the lighting assembly comprises:
a sensor configured to output a signal indicative of a temperature of the air flow; and
control circuitry communicatively coupled to the sensor, and configured to adjust a color, intensity, frequency, or a combination thereof, of light emitted from the surface of the control knob based on the signal.
10. A vehicle ventilation assembly, comprising:
a movable vent configured to direct an air flow from a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system into a vehicle interior; and
a lighting assembly configured to illuminate a surface of the movable vent.
11. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 10, wherein the lighting assembly comprises a fiber optic cable configured to transfer light from a remote light source to the movable vent.
12. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 11, wherein the lighting assembly comprises a light guide disposed within the movable vent, and optically coupled to the fiber optic cable, wherein the light guide is configured to illuminate the surface of the movable vent.
13. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 12, comprising a reflective coating disposed onto the surface of the movable vent, wherein the reflective coating is configured to facilitate light passage from the light guide.
14. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 10, comprising control circuitry configured to adjust a color, intensity, frequency, or a combination thereof, of light emitted from the surface of the movable vent.
15. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 10, wherein the lighting assembly comprises:
a sensor configured to output a signal indicative of a temperature of the air flow; and
control circuitry communicatively coupled to the sensor, and configured to adjust a color, intensity, frequency, or a combination thereof, of light emitted from the surface of the movable vent based on the signal.
16. A vehicle ventilation assembly, comprising:
a movable vent configured to direct an air flow from a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system into a vehicle interior;
a lighting assembly configured to illuminate a surface of the movable vent, wherein the lighting assembly comprises:
a fiber optic cable configured to transfer light from a remote light source to the surface of the movable vent;
a light guide disposed within the movable vent, and optically coupled to the fiber optic cable, wherein the light guide is configured to illuminate the surface of the movable vent; and
a clip configured to secure the fiber optic cable to the light guide.
17. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 16, wherein the clip is formed by a metal stamping process.
18. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 16, wherein the clip comprises a plurality of first protrusions configured to retain the fiber optic cable, and a plurality of second protrusions configured to secure the clip to the light guide.
19. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 16, comprising a reflective coating disposed onto the surface of the movable vent, wherein the reflective coating is configured to facilitate light passage from the light guide.
20. The vehicle ventilation assembly of claim 16, comprising control circuitry configured to adjust a color, intensity, frequency, or a combination thereof, of light emitted from the surface of the movable vent.
PCT/US2012/050404 2011-08-10 2012-08-10 Lighting system for a vehicle interior component WO2013023165A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
US201161522103P true 2011-08-10 2011-08-10
US61/522,103 2011-08-10

Applications Claiming Priority (4)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
KR1020147006255A KR20140046477A (en) 2011-08-10 2012-08-10 Lighting system for a vehicle interior component
JP2014525182A JP2014524381A (en) 2011-08-10 2012-08-10 Lighting system for components inside the vehicle
CN201280048722.3A CN104024051A (en) 2011-08-10 2012-08-10 Lighting system for a vehicle interior component
EP12748360.0A EP2741941A1 (en) 2011-08-10 2012-08-10 Lighting system for a vehicle interior component

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WO2013023165A1 true WO2013023165A1 (en) 2013-02-14

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PCT/US2012/050404 WO2013023165A1 (en) 2011-08-10 2012-08-10 Lighting system for a vehicle interior component

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EP (1) EP2741941A1 (en)
JP (1) JP2014524381A (en)
KR (1) KR20140046477A (en)
CN (1) CN104024051A (en)
WO (1) WO2013023165A1 (en)

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US9539942B2 (en) 2014-07-28 2017-01-10 Ford Global Technologies, Llc Cup holder illumination
US9538874B2 (en) 2013-11-21 2017-01-10 Ford Global Technologies, Llc Photoluminescent cupholder illumination
FR3048058A1 (en) * 2016-02-22 2017-08-25 Valeo Vision Device for lighting the interior of a motor vehicle

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* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US9538874B2 (en) 2013-11-21 2017-01-10 Ford Global Technologies, Llc Photoluminescent cupholder illumination
US9539942B2 (en) 2014-07-28 2017-01-10 Ford Global Technologies, Llc Cup holder illumination
FR3048058A1 (en) * 2016-02-22 2017-08-25 Valeo Vision Device for lighting the interior of a motor vehicle
EP3210806A1 (en) * 2016-02-22 2017-08-30 Valeo Vision Device for lighting the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
KR20140046477A (en) 2014-04-18
CN104024051A (en) 2014-09-03
JP2014524381A (en) 2014-09-22
EP2741941A1 (en) 2014-06-18

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