WO2014074056A1 - Mobile phone charger with connection control - Google Patents

Mobile phone charger with connection control Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2014074056A1
WO2014074056A1 PCT/SE2013/051294 SE2013051294W WO2014074056A1 WO 2014074056 A1 WO2014074056 A1 WO 2014074056A1 SE 2013051294 W SE2013051294 W SE 2013051294W WO 2014074056 A1 WO2014074056 A1 WO 2014074056A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
plug
vehicle
mobile phone
configured
outlet
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/SE2013/051294
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Martin Ohlsson
Peter HÄNDEL
Isaac SKOG
Jens OHLSSON
Original Assignee
Movelo Ab
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 SE1230116A priority Critical patent/SE1230116A1/en
Priority to SE1230116-4 priority
Application filed by Movelo Ab filed Critical Movelo Ab
Publication of WO2014074056A1 publication Critical patent/WO2014074056A1/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RELECTRICALLY-CONDUCTIVE CONNECTIONS; STRUCTURAL ASSOCIATIONS OF A PLURALITY OF MUTUALLY-INSULATED ELECTRICAL CONNECTING ELEMENTS; COUPLING DEVICES; CURRENT COLLECTORS
    • H01R31/00Coupling parts supported only by co-operation with counterpart
    • H01R31/06Intermediate parts for linking two coupling parts, e.g. adapter
    • H01R31/065Intermediate parts for linking two coupling parts, e.g. adapter with built-in electric apparatus
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F1/00Details not covered by groups G06F3/00 – G06F13/00 and G06F21/00
    • G06F1/26Power supply means, e.g. regulation thereof
    • G06F1/266Arrangements to supply power to external peripherals either directly from the computer or under computer control, e.g. supply of power through the communication port, computer controlled power-strips
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07CTIME OR ATTENDANCE REGISTERS; REGISTERING OR INDICATING THE WORKING OF MACHINES; GENERATING RANDOM NUMBERS; VOTING OR LOTTERY APPARATUS; ARRANGEMENTS, SYSTEMS OR APPARATUS FOR CHECKING NOT PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE
    • G07C5/00Registering or indicating the working of vehicles
    • G07C5/08Registering or indicating performance data other than driving, working, idle, or waiting time, with or without registering driving, working, idle or waiting time
    • G07C5/0841Registering performance data
    • G07C5/085Registering performance data using electronic data carriers
    • G07C5/0858Registering performance data using electronic data carriers wherein the data carrier is removable
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01RELECTRICALLY-CONDUCTIVE CONNECTIONS; STRUCTURAL ASSOCIATIONS OF A PLURALITY OF MUTUALLY-INSULATED ELECTRICAL CONNECTING ELEMENTS; COUPLING DEVICES; CURRENT COLLECTORS
    • H01R13/00Details of coupling devices of the kinds covered by groups H01R12/70 or H01R24/00 - H01R33/00
    • H01R13/66Structural association with built-in electrical component
    • H01R13/665Structural association with built-in electrical component with built-in electronic circuit
    • H01R13/6683Structural association with built-in electrical component with built-in electronic circuit with built-in sensor

Abstract

A plug (100) for collecting a set of parameters representing the event history of the plug is designed to be connected to a cigarette lighter outlet (230) of a vehicle (200). The plug comprises an outlet (120) configured to allow transfer of information to a mobile phone (210), and to charge the mobile phone. The plug also comprises measuring equipment (380; 310; 320; 330) configured to detect parameters representingat least the connection of the plug to the vehicle. The plug further comprises a processor (350) configured to receive the detected parameters and store the detected parametersin amemory (340), where the stored parameters represent the event history of the plug,and/or to transfer the stored parameters from the memory to the mobile phone. The plug also comprises a voltage regulator (300) configured to convert the output voltage from the cigarette lighter outlet to a level suitable for charging of the mobile phone.

Description

MOBILE PHONE CHARGER WITH CONNECTION CONTROL

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention generally relates to electronic devices such as battery chargers for mobile phones and more particularly to a device for connection to the cigarette lighter outlet of a vehicle for charging of a mobile phone battery.

BACKGROUND

Most motor vehicles are equipped with a so-called cigarette lighter outlet. Historically this outlet was used for igniting the cigarette lighter, but nowadays it is used as a general outlet for powering and charging external units such as battery chargers, voltage converters, portable GPS receivers, mobile phones, laptop computers, air pumps, lamps and other equipment that requires voltage supply. Typically the outlet supplies a voltage around 12 Volt, but car models with 6 Volt or 24 Volt electric systems also exist.

The most common connector exists in two variants for cars with a 12 Volt electric system and a variant for cars with a 6 Volt electric system. These connectors are standardized in UL standard 2089 and ANSI/SAE J563, which describe connectors for connection to cigarette lighter outlets.

For motorcycles is often used a connector according to standard ISO 4165, which is shorter and thinner than a traditional cigarette lighter connector. It is also known as "Powerlet connector", BMW accessory socket, or Hella connector.

Scattered attempts with other connectors for voltage supply of external equipment in vehicles are also known, for example Magcode connectors which have been used in car brands such as Volkswagen and Maybach. Nominal voltage for vehicles is 6 Volt, 12 Volt, or 24 Volt. The voltage level in the electric system of the vehicle varies however, for example 13.8 Volt is common for a 12 Volt system during operation. These voltage variations and the fact that external power consumers utilize other voltage levels than what the vehicle provides, battery chargers that are connected to the cigarette lighter outlet of a vehicle are typically equipped with both voltage conversion and voltage regulation (or voltage stabilization), for example for supplying a stable 5 Volt voltage to external consumers, which are usually connected through a USB connector. Also higher direct voltages than what the vehicle supplies may be created in these battery chargers, for example for charging of computer batteries for laptop computers. Also alternating currents may be created in converters, for example for powering of equipment that normally requires mains voltage of around 230 Volt. Commercially, a variety of chargers can be found in the form of connectors where connectors according to UL standard 2089 and ANSI/SAE J563 are used for connection of the connector to the vehicle, and (1 ) USB connector (female) or (2) USB plug (male) on a cable for connection to the external power consumer. In the case (1 ) the connection is done with a separate USB cable, while in the case (2) the connection is done directly. The reason for this is that nowadays the micro-USB connector is used as a standard for charging of for example mobile phones.

A common accessory that is powered via the cigarette lighter outlet of the vehicle is portable navigation equipment that bases itself on positioning, where the position is obtained via satellite systems or via positioning in the mobile phone networks, or combinations of the two methods. Several satellite navigation systems exist such as for example GPS (United States NAVSTAR Global Positioning System), GLONASS (Russian Global Navigation Satellite System), Galileo (Europe), COMPASS (China) - which are gathered under the collective name GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System). An example of GNSS with support from local positioning with the aid of the mobile phone systems is assisted GPS (A-GPS). In particular GPS of the different GNSS-systems has had a major impact, and GPS receivers are nowadays found in a majority of mobile phones, in a great majority they have support for A-GPS. Today's mobile phone contains apart from GNSS receiver, a large number of sensors that can be used for example for positioning and monitoring of driving behaviour, for example camera, accelerometer, and gyroscope. From consecutive position fixes the speed of the vehicle may be determined. Speed is also obtained directly from for example a GPS receiver. Signal processing of the speed signal can for example give information about average speeds and variations in speed.

A car insurance premium P [SEK] for a private car is classically based on the classification of the vehicle owner and the vehicle in terms of vehicle type, driving distance, age, gender, geographical residence and number of damage free years. These are by necessity blunt instruments for determining an insurance premium. The EU Court of Justice has decided that from December 2012 insurance companies are no longer allowed to include the gender as a risk factor in insurances, which makes the instrument even more blunt. Similar calculation rules apply for other types of motor vehicles such as buses and trucks.

A fundamental factor for calculation of a traditional or behaviour-based insurance premium is annual driving distance of the vehicle, usually quantized in intervals such as: up to 10000 km per year, 10000-15000 km per year, and so on. Via sampling, at a new premium period, or at an accident, are occasions when the odometer indication of the vehicle is read to ensure that the vehicle is neither under- nor over- insured. There is today no technical obstacle for a premium model based on actual annual driving distance, for example 12300 km during a year, where adjustment of a pre-paid premium occurs at the anniversary date of the insurance.

Premium calculation based on actual driving behaviour has been discussed for many years but is associated with great challenges. A basic thought here is that the insurance holder may deliberately change his/her driving behaviour in order to influence his/her premium. We denote the price of such a behaviour-based premium with B [SEK] which, in order to be attractive to the insurance holder, in the normal case should be lower than premium P. Through active monitoring of the vehicle speed, for example with GPS-based equipment, a premium may be calculated from the speed profile of the vehicle under the assumption that increased speed yields an increased risk. Unfortunately this is not entirely true since high speed on a road without other road users implies a lower risk compared to many and sudden lane changes at low speed on a highly busy road. So far, a fact within behaviour-based insurance models has been that the vehicle needs to be equipped with fixedly installed equipment for monitoring of driving behaviour. Typically, such equipment comprises functionality for positioning, speed monitoring, and detection of quick courses of events such as sudden braking and violent acceleration or evasive manoeuvres. Furthermore, the information needs to be sent to a central server at the insurance company or its representative, which is preferably done progressively with wireless broadband or other wireless data communication. The equipment used thus needs to have its own subscription for wireless communication, for example via SMS, MMS, or other wireless technique via mobile broadband.

When it comes to positioning and speed monitoring, GPS receivers or receivers connected to other satellite navigation systems (see above) are suitable tools. Vehicle speed may also be monitored for example through equipment connected to the on-board diagnostic (OBD2) connection of the vehicle. When it comes to detection of quick courses of events, accelerometers and gyroscopes can be used, i.e. such sensors which are common within the vehicle industry and which are also used for applications such as air bags and traction control systems. Measuring equipment (a so-called black-box) fixedly installed in the vehicle and its installation in the vehicle both imply expenses, indirectly or directly, to the insurance holder. Dedicated equipment needs to be installed by a professional at a garage; with all the implications regarding time booking, travel times, lost work time and absence of the vehicle while it is at the garage.

The introduction of so-called Smartphones such as iPhone, Windows Phone, Blackberry, and Android-based phones such as for example HTC Desire has increased the availability of the information technology - the functionality of the mobile phone has been multiplied from being a device for voice calls, to a device with a versatile field of application. In summary, a modern smart mobile phone has the sensors, the access to digital communication, and the computing capacity that is needed in order to monitor the travel of a vehicle and report e.g. driving behaviour to a central server, to be used for example for implementation of flexible premium models for the vehicle insurance. As alternatives to a Smartphone also so-called tablets can be used such as iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab, or other equipment with the same functionality such as laptop computers. The mobile phone is in fact in every man's possession, so a behaviour-based premium model may be implemented with the insurance holder's own equipment in the form of a mobile phone, through dedicated functionality utilizing the sensors and receivers of the mobile phone, its opportunities for computational power and digital wireless communication with a central server. For example, with an iPhone the functionality may be downloaded via a so-called app in App Store, or for an Android- based mobile phone via Android Market / Google Play. Similar functionality is available for operating systems such as Unix, Linux, Windows and Windows Mobile.

A basic example of how a behaviour-based insurance premium for motor vehicles may be implemented is that the vehicle owner who is also the insurance holder installs an app in his/her iPhone - which allows the driver behaviour to be monitored during travel. The behaviour may then be monitored with the aid of the built-in mobile phone sensors, whose data is passed on to a central server - as raw data from the sensors, or alternatively as signal processed data where the signal processing is performed by the built-in signal processing capacity of the mobile phone. Examples of different factors that are of interest to insurance companies for premium calculations are listed below, classified by type.

Behavioural factors that may influence the insurance premium are for example:

· time of day when the vehicle is operated as well as the total amount of time that the vehicle is operated, which both may be registered by storing and processing of time stamps, which may be obtained from the clock of a mobile phone,

• driving distance, which may be obtained by summation of position differences, where the current positions may be obtained from a GPS receiver or other GNSS receiver of a mobile phone,

• speed, which may be obtained from a GPS receiver or other GNSS receiver of a mobile phone, • strong accelerations, decelerations or evasive manoeuvres, which may be detected by a built-in accelerometer (one- or multi-dimensional) of a mobile phone,

• strong rotational changes which may be detected by a built-in gyroscope (one- or multi-dimensional) of a mobile phone.

More qualifiedly calculated behavioural factors are for example how environment- friendly the driving is, based on calculated fuel consumption. Fuel consumption may for example be calculated from vehicle data such as weight, cylinder volume, and friction coefficients; and/or sensor data comprising quantities such as speed and acceleration. Vehicle data is available via data bases such as for example the Swedish vehicle register, and sensor data via built-in sensors of a mobile phone. An environment-friendly driving style is often denoted as eco-driving, or green driving. Another example of a more qualified behavioural factor is to link the measured vehicle speed to the current speed limit of the road section, where the speed limit is available for example via an electronic map. For example, the Swedish National road data base (NVDB) from the Swedish Transport Administration provides up-to- date speed limits for the Swedish road network.

External factors that may influence the insurance premium are for example: weather and light conditions, road conditions, geography, presence at severely accident prone road sections, traffic volume, etc. These external factors may be obtained from external data bases, with knowledge of the position of the vehicle at certain times - again available via a mobile phone.

Finally, internal factors may influence the insurance premium. These factors comprise for example fatigue, general health condition and concentration. These factors may be monitored by processing of accelerometer data or gyroscope data from built-in sensors of a mobile phone.

However, the use of detachable equipment, such as a mobile phone, for monitoring of driving behaviour comprises the problem that it is not attached to the car, which means that it is possible to forget to bring it during travel, and/or to fail to activate the intended application for one reason or another.

Thus, in general there is a need for a system that in a simple and efficient manner can collect vehicle data, especially vehicle data that provides information about the status and driving history of the vehicle. This information can for example be used for calculating an insurance premium based on actual driving behaviour.

SUMMARY

An object of the present invention is to provide a device for collecting a set of parameters representing the event history of the device, where the device is designed to be connected to a cigarette lighter outlet of a vehicle.

This and other objects are met by the disclosed embodiments as defined by the accompanying patent claims.

An aspect relates to a plug for collecting a set of parameters representing the event history of the plug, where the plug is designed to be connected to a cigarette lighter outlet of a vehicle. The plug comprises an outlet configured to allow transfer of information to a mobile phone, and to charge the mobile phone. The plug also comprises measuring equipment configured to detect parameters representing at least the connection of the plug to the vehicle. The plug further comprises a memory configured to store the detected parameters, where the stored parameters represent the event history of the plug, and a processor configured to receive the detected parameters and store the detected parameters in the memory, and/or to transfer the stored parameters from the memory to the mobile phone when the mobile phone is connected to the outlet. The plug also comprises a voltage regulator configured to convert the output voltage from the cigarette lighter outlet to a level suitable for charging of the mobile phone.

The present invention has a number of advantages over alternative solutions, for instance: • The installation of the equipment does not have to be made by a

professional, which is a clear advantage over fixedly installed systems that require professional installation.

• The equipment remains in the vehicle and is not removed when the driver leaves the vehicle which is a clear advantage over systems that are based on that all functionality exists in mobile equipment.

Thus, the suggested invention combines some of the advantages of a mobile system with some of the advantages of a fixedly installed system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The embodiments, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by making reference to the following description taken together with the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig. 1 shows an example of an embodiment of the invention;

Fig. 2 shows an example of implementation of the invention; Fig. 3 shows an example of a block diagram of an embodiment in accordance with the invention; and

Fig. 4 shows an example of a block diagram of an embodiment of plug monitoring in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention generally relates to electronic devices such as battery chargers for mobile phones and more particularly to a device for connection to the cigarette lighter outlet of a vehicle for charging of a mobile phone battery.

Throughout the drawings, the same reference numbers are used for similar or corresponding elements. As discussed in the background section, there is in general a need for a system that in a simple and efficient manner can collect vehicle data, especially vehicle data that provides information about the status and driving history of the vehicle. Such information can for example be used for calculating an insurance premium based on actual driving behaviour.

A practical feasible solution with advantages when it comes to installation and operating costs is presented below. With reference to Fig. 1 , the present invention consists of a so-called cigarette lighter plug 100 for collecting a set of parameters representing the event history of the plug. With reference to Fig. 2, the plug 100 is designed to be connected to a cigarette lighter outlet 230 of a vehicle 200. The plug 100 comprises in one embodiment an outlet 120 configured to allow transfer of information to a connected mobile phone 2 0, and to charge the mobile phone 210. A block diagram of an embodiment of the plug is shown in Fig. 3, where the plug also comprises measuring equipment 380; 310; 320; 330 configured to detect parameters representing at least the connection of the plug 100 to the vehicle 200. In this embodiment the plug 100 further comprises a memory 340 configured to store the detected parameters, where the stored parameters represent the event history of the plug 100, and a processor 350 configured to receive the detected parameters and store the detected parameters in the memory 340, and/or to transfer the stored parameters from the memory 340 to the mobile phone 210 when the mobile phone 210 is connected to the outlet 120. Thus, this embodiment enables the information stored in the memory 340 to be transferred to the mobile phone 210 e.g. at the occasions when the user connects his/her mobile phone for charging via the plug 100 in the cigarette lighter outlet 230.

The plug 100 in the embodiment shown in Fig. 3 also comprises a voltage regulator 300 configured to convert the output voltage from the cigarette lighter outlet 230 to a level suitable for charging of the mobile phone 210. The plug 100 may in one particular embodiment further comprise a battery 370 configured to allow energy supply of the plug 00. Fig. 1 shows an example of an embodiment where one end of the plug 100 is basically cylindrically shaped and adapted for electrical and mechanical connection to the vehicle. Electrical connection to the vehicle comprises in this embodiment the electrical signals ground (GND) via spring connectors 1 10 (negative terminals) disposed on the lateral surface of a basically cylindrically shaped part of the plug, and the vehicle voltage (VC), nominally typically 6 Volt, 12 Volt, or 24 Volt, via a central connector 1 15 (positive terminal) disposed on the end surface of the basically cylindrically shaped part of the plug. In a preferred embodiment the plug 100 comprises two spring connectors 1 10.

At the other end of the plug 100 in the embodiment shown In Fig. 1 there is an outlet 120, which is designed for connecting a mobile phone for charging of the mobile phone, and for transferring information to the connected mobile phone. In one embodiment, the outlet 120 is configured to allow transfer of information to the mobile phone 210 via wired communication. In a particular embodiment, the outlet 120 is a USB outlet, and in a particular example embodiment the outlet 120 is a USB connector of Type A Female.

As shown in Fig. 1 , also the mechanical connection to the vehicle is in this embodiment accomplished through the resilient spring connectors 1 10 disposed on the lateral surface of the basically cylindrically shaped part of the plug, and through a resilient central connector 1 15 disposed on the end surface of the basically cylindrically shaped part of the plug. In a preferred embodiment the plug 100 comprises two resilient spring connectors 1 10.

Fig. 2 shows an example of usage of the plug 100 in a car 200. In this embodiment a mobile phone 210 is connected with a power supply and signal cable 220 to the plug 100, and the plug 100 is connected to the cigarette lighter outlet 230 of the vehicle 200. The power supply and signal cable 220 in this embodiment enables connection and communication between the plug 100 and the mobile phone 210. This connection and possibility for communication between the plug 100 and the mobile phone 210 enables information stored in the plug to be transferred from the plug 100 to the mobile phone 210 for processing in the mobile phone in one embodiment or, in an alternative embodiment, for further transfer to a central server or other recipient of information.

In a particular embodiment the signaling functionality of the power supply and signal cable 220 may instead be performed by a wireless connection through suitable protocol such as IR (infrared) technology, Bluetooth, Wireless USB, Cypress WirelessUSB, ZigBee, WLAN or other available radio standard.

As described above, the present invention may for example be used for calculating an insurance premium based on actual driving behaviour. Some parameters that are important for calculating a behaviour-based insurance premium have been described in the background section and include for example time of day when the vehicle is operated, total amount of time that the vehicle is operated, driving distance, vehicle speed, strong accelerations, decelerations or evasive manoeuvres, and strong rotational changes. Thus, in a more advanced embodiment of the present invention the measuring equipment is further configured to detect parameters representing a position of the plug, and/or a speed of the plug, and/or a speed change of the plug, and/or a rotational change of the plug, and/or a time of day for use of the plug, and/or an amount of time for use of the plug.

The plug may, in a more advanced embodiment as described above, also be equipped with suitable sensors for detecting parameters that are important for calculating a behaviour-based insurance premium. As described in the background section, e.g. GPS receivers or receivers connected to other satellite navigation systems are suitable tools for positioning and speed monitoring. For detection of quick courses of events, e.g. accelerometers and gyroscopes can be used. Therefore, as an example, the measuring equipment of the present invention may in one embodiment comprise one or more of the following sensors 320, as schematically shown in Fig. 3: accelerometer in one or more dimensions, gyroscope in one or more dimensions, magnetometer or electronic compass, camera, microphone. In another embodiment the measuring equipment may also comprise one or more of the following RF receivers 330, as schematically shown in Fig. 3: satellite receiver for determining a position of the vehicle, broadcast radio receiver. The measuring equipment according to the present invention may in one embodiment, as alternative or complement, comprise a unit for vehicle monitoring 310, as schematically shown in Fig. 3. The unit for vehicle monitoring 310 is in one embodiment configured to provide information about the status of the vehicle based on extraction of information from the supply voltage of the plug, via the electrical connectors 1 10 and 1 15 shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 3. Thus, in this embodiment the measuring equipment is further configured to detect parameters representing the operational status of the vehicle based on extraction of information from a supply voltage of the plug.

Examples of information that can be extracted in this manner comprise:

• The battery voltage of the vehicle when the vehicle is switched off,

alternatively the operating voltage of the vehicle through the voltage level between the terminals 1 10 and 1 5. This measured voltage is denominated SIG_VC.

• Frequency components in the operating voltage of the vehicle. The voltage between the terminals 1 10 and 1 5 may be high-pass filtered to extract information for example proportional to the engine speed, where the

information originates from interferences from the generator or ignition system of the vehicle.

Fig. 3 shows a block diagram of an embodiment of an advanced plug that is designed to be connected to a vehicle. In this embodiment the measuring equipment comprises plug monitoring 380, vehicle monitoring 310, sensors 320, and a radio frequency (RF) receiver 330, which respectively generate data that via a microprocessor 350 may be stored in a memory 340 in one embodiment. The plug monitoring 380 is intended to check the connection of the plug to the vehicle and will be described further below.

The embodiment shown in Fig. 3 also comprises a voltage regulator 300, which in a particular embodiment converts the voltage of the vehicle to 5 Volt according to standard for USB. In a particular embodiment the plug 100 may also comprise an internal battery 370 for powering the plug 100 when the vehicle is switched off. In the embodiment in Fig. 3 an RF receiver antenna 360 is also indicated, which in one embodiment may be internal or in another embodiment external. In the latter case also an outlet for an external antenna is required on the plug 100. Fig. 3 is schematic and does not explicitly show voltage supply for the different components.

RF receiver 330 shown in Fig. 3 refers to an information extracting unit which measures via an antenna that operates in the RF region. Examples of RF receivers comprise: · GPS receiver (Global Positioning System) or other satellite receiver for

determination of position such as GLONASS (Russian Global Navigation Satellite System), Galileo (Europe), COMPASS (China). These are often given the collective name GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System).

• Broadcast radio receivers, for example for extracting traffic information from the Radio Data System (RDS) of the broadcast radio.

The measuring equipment 380; 310; 320; 330 according to the present invention may in one embodiment comprise only an RF receiver 330 of the type GPS receiver. Also RF units for two-way traffic may be used in embodiments of the present invention. An example of such an RF unit is Bluetooth radio, which is able to set up wireless communication with an external unit, for example a sensor mounted elsewhere in the vehicle. A microprocessor, such as the microprocessor 350 shown in Fig. 3, typically has the possibility to receive and convert analogue data to digital data as well as directly handle digital data. Output data from the measuring equipment 380; 310; 320; 330 may in one embodiment be digitalized by the processor 350 for storing in the memory 340. In another embodiment data may be digitalized through separate A/D conversion. In yet another possible embodiment the measuring equipment 380; 310; 320; 330 may directly provide digital values, which thus may be sent more or less directly to the memory 340 for storing, for example in a particular embodiment via so-called Direct Memory Access (DMA). In a particular embodiment the microprocessor 350 also controls the electronics and comprises clock signals. The functionality of the present invention is only achieved when the plug 100 is powered. The plug 100 is powered when it is connected to the vehicle via contact with GND via the spring connectors 1 10 and operating voltage via the central connector 1 15 shown in Fig. 1 and Fig. 3, i.e. voltage supply of electronics, sensors, memories and processor. To achieve functionality when the vehicle is switched off or the plug 100 is not connected to the vehicle, the plug 100 may in one embodiment also comprise an internal battery 370, which is shown in Fig. 3. In a particular embodiment the battery 370 may also be charged when the plug 100 is connected to the vehicle. As described above, the plug 100 is powered when it is connected to the vehicle via contact with ground via the spring connectors 1 10 and operating voltage via the central connector 1 15. As is schematically shown in FIG. 3 and shown in FIG. 1 a common cigarette lighter plug usually has two mechanically resilient connectors 110 for electrical ground. Two or more mechanically resilient connectors is required for robust mechanical fitting between the plug and the connector socket of the vehicle, but for electrical connection of the plug to the vehicle only one ground connector is required.

When using the present invention for calculating an insurance premium, it is valuable to know if the plug is continuously connected to the vehicle during travel, or if it at some occasions, unintentionally or intentionally, is removed from the cigarette lighter outlet. Removing the plug from the vehicle may be considered as an attempt to prevent monitoring of the driving behaviour and thereby manipulating the calculation of the insurance premium. To increase the possibilities to detect such attempts the measuring equipment of the present invention is configured to detect parameters representing the connection of the plug to the vehicle, as described above. This functionality is represented in Fig. 3 as a unit for plug monitoring 380. The functionality for plug monitoring 380 is in one embodiment based on electrical contact between the two spring connectors 1 10 on the cigarette lighter plug when the plug is connected to the same electrical potential (or ground plate) in the connector socket of the vehicle. Thus, in this embodiment of the present invention 5 the measuring equipment is configured to detect parameters representing at least the connection of the plug 100 to the vehicle based on measuring of electrical resistance between electrical spring connectors 1 10 disposed on a part of the plug designed to be electrically and mechanically connected to the cigarette lighter outlet of the vehicle.

10

The unit for plug monitoring 380 is in one embodiment configured to provide information about the connection of the plug 100 to the cigarette lighter outlet 230 via the connections 1 10 and 1 15. Examples of information that may be extracted in this manner comprise:

15 · The electrical resistance between the two spring connectors 1 10,

• The mechanical pressure between one of the two resilient spring connectors 1 10 and the cigarette lighter outlet 230,

• The mechanical pressure between the resilient central connector 115 and the cigarette lighter outlet 230.

20

Mechanical pressure may in one embodiment be detected via an electrical pressure sensor, or in another embodiment purely mechanical since mechanical depression of the resilient spring connectors 1 10 or the resilient central connector 1 15 may be configured to break or close a mechanical power switch.

25

As described above, extraction of information from the supply voltage of the plug, via the electrical connectors 1 10 and 1 15, will either give the battery voltage of the vehicle when the vehicle is switched off, or the operating voltage of the vehicle. This measured voltage is denominated SIG VC Typical levels of SiG VC when the plug 30 100 is connected to a vehicle with a 12 Volt system are: Vehicle in Switched-off vehicle

operation

SIG_VC 13.8 Volt 12.0 Volt or 0 Volt depending

[Volt] on whether the cigarette lighter

outlet is powered or not.

In the above table it can be seen that 0 Volt for SIG_VC is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for detecting that the plug has been removed from the cigarette lighter outlet.

5

In one embodiment SIG_VC may also be used for electrically controlling (voltage guard) the connection of the battery 370 for powering of the plug 100 when SIG VC drops to 0 Volt.

10 Fig. 4 shows an implementation of plug monitoring 380 according to an embodiment. In this embodiment, when the plug 100 is connected to a de-energized female connector 230 current will be conducted from one of the connector tongues to the other connector tongue in the spring connector 1 10 through a resistor 400 in one embodiment. The voltage is in one embodiment monitored via the processor

15 350, either through an input with high-ohmic analogue-digital conversion in one embodiment, or through a digital input in an alternative embodiment. The processor 350 is in one embodiment powered via the battery 370. The monitored signal is denominated SIG_Contact. With an implementation according to FIG. 4 SIG_Contact is low (0 Volt) when the plug 100 is connected to a de-energized

20 female connector 230.

When the plug 100 of the embodiment shown in Fig. 4 is not mechanically connected to the cigarette lighter output in the vehicle there is no electrical contact between the connector tongues of the spring connector 1 10, and thus there is no 5 current running through the resistor 400. SIG_Contact is in this case given by the voltage of the battery 370. Typical levels of SIG_Contact when the plug is connected to a vehicle with a 12 Volt system are: Plug connected to the Plug removed from the

cigarette lighter output, cigarette lighter output which is not powered of the vehicle

from the vehicle

SIG_Contact 0 Volt Voltage corresponding to voltage level on

[Volt]

battery 370

When SIG_VC is 0 Volt in this embodiment, the monitoring of SIG_Contact by the processor 350 may in one embodiment be done at one single occasion, or in another embodiment for a limited period of time, or in yet another embodiment continuously. Registered values of SIG_Contact monitored via the microprocessor 350 may in one embodiment be saved in the memory 340, possibly together with a time stamp in one embodiment, and / or in another embodiment together with data from sensors in block 320, and/or or in yet another embodiment together with data from the RF receiver in block 330.

In other embodiments, other circuit solutions may of course be possible to use in order to construct the signal SIG_Contact, where the electrical current running through the two connector tongues of the spring connector 1 10 is used to provide a voltage value over a resistor 400.

In summary, a plug 100 according to the above described embodiments is configured to enable calculation of an insurance premium based on the stored parameters representing the event history of the plug. The present invention has a number of advantages over alternative solutions, for instance:

• The installation is limited to the same step that is required for inserting a

battery charger in the cigarette lighter outlet of a vehicle. Hence the

installation does not have to be made by a professional, instead a layman is enough. This is a clear advantage over fixedly installed systems that require professional installation. • It is a fixed installation, i.e. the equipment remains in the vehicle and is not removed when the driver leaves the vehicle, which is a clear advantage over systems that are based on that all functionality exists in mobile equipment, such as in a mobile phone.

Another way to express this is that the advantages of a fixedly mounted, so-called black-box, system are obtained together with the advantages of a mobile system.

Conceptually, a White-box is the lowest common denominator of a fixedly mounted Black-box and a system that is entirely based on the driver's usage of a mobile phone.

Furthermore, the suggested system does not require its own subscription for wireless data transfer. This is a clear advantage over fixedly installed systems. Wireless data transfer is done via the mobile phone at or after the occasions when data has been transferred from the cigarette lighter plug to the mobile phone.

In summary, the present invention in combination with a mobile phone in an installation in accordance with Fig. 2 corresponds to a device with several advantages over prior art for calculation of an insurance premium based on driving behaviour.

The current invention may be implemented as a microprocessor, a digital signal processor (DSP), or a combination with corresponding software. Another possible implementation is to use programmable logic in FPGA (field programmable gate arrays) or ASIC (application specific integrated circuit).

The above described embodiments should be regarded as examples of the present invention. The skilled person realizes that different modifications, combinations and changes of the described embodiments may be done without diverting from the scope of the present invention. The scope of the present invention is however defined by the enclosed patent claims.

Claims

1. Plug (100) for collecting a set of parameters representing the event history of the plug (100), the plug (100) being designed to be connected to a cigarette lighter outlet (230) of a vehicle (200), wherein the plug (100) comprises:
an outlet (120) configured to allow transfer of information to a mobile phone (210), and to charge the mobile phone (210);
measuring equipment (380; 310; 320; 330) configured to detect parameters representing at least the connection of the plug (100) to the vehicle (200);
a memory (340) configured to store the detected parameters, where the stored parameters represent the event history of the plug (100);
a processor (350) configured to receive the detected parameters and store the detected parameters in the memory (340), and/or to transfer the stored parameters from the memory (340) to the mobile phone (210) when the mobile phone (210) is connected to the outlet (120); and
a voltage regulator (300) configured to convert the output voltage from the cigarette lighter outlet (230) to a level suitable for charging of the mobile phone (210).
2. Plug (100) according to claim 1 , further comprising a battery (370) configured to allow energy supply of the plug (100).
3. Plug (100) according to claim 1 or 2, in which the measuring equipment (320;
330) is further configured to detect parameters representing at least one of:
- a position of the plug (100),
- a speed of the plug (100),
- a speed change of the plug (100),
- a rotational change of the plug (100),
- a time of day for use of the plug (100),
- an amount of time for use of the plug (100).
4. Plug (100) according to any of the preceding claims, in which the measuring equipment (310) is further configured to detect parameters representing the operational status of the vehicle (200) based on extraction of information from a supply voltage of the plug (100).
5. Plug (100) according to any of the preceding claims, in which the measuring equipment (380) is configured to detect parameters representing at least the connection of the plug (100) to the vehicle (200) based on measuring of electrical resistance between electrical spring connectors (1 10) disposed on a part of the plug (100) designed to be electrically and mechanically connected to the cigarette lighter outlet (230) of the vehicle (200).
6. Plug (100) according to any of the preceding claims, in which the measuring equipment (380; 310; 320; 330) comprises at least one of the following sensors (320):
- accelerometer, in one or more dimensions,
- gyroscope, in one or more dimensions,
- magnetometer or electronic compass,
- camera,
- microphone.
7. Plug (100) according to any of the preceding claims, in which the measuring equipment (380; 310; 320; 330) comprises at least one of the following sensors (330):
- satellite receiver for determining a position of the vehicle,
- broadcast radio receiver.
8. Plug (100) according to any of the preceding claims, in which the outlet (120) is configured to allow transfer of information to the mobile phone (210) via wired communication.
9. Plug (100) according to any of the preceding claims, in which the outlet (120) is a USB outlet. Plug (100) according to any of the preceding claims, configured to enable calculation of an insurance premium based on the stored parameters representing the event history of the plug (100).
PCT/SE2013/051294 2012-11-06 2013-11-05 Mobile phone charger with connection control WO2014074056A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

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SE1230116A SE1230116A1 (en) 2012-11-06 2012-11-06 Mobile Phone Charger with connection control
SE1230116-4 2012-11-06

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GB2541668B (en) * 2015-08-25 2019-06-26 E Touch Solutions Ltd Telematics device

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US20110143785A1 (en) * 2009-12-15 2011-06-16 Cohen Meir S Phone Power Adapter for Car with GPS Tracking and Auto-Upload
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US6909907B1 (en) * 2000-11-10 2005-06-21 Pharos Science & Applications, Inc. Integrated connection assembly for global positioning system (GPS) receiver and personal digital assistance (PDA) device or cellular phones
WO2003069565A1 (en) * 2002-02-18 2003-08-21 Derrick Arthur Bishop Vehicle data logging systems
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GB2541668B (en) * 2015-08-25 2019-06-26 E Touch Solutions Ltd Telematics device
TWI631030B (en) * 2017-06-21 2018-08-01 精工電機股份有限公司 Charging system

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