AIR OUTLET FOR HEATING AND VENTILATION OR AIR-CONDITIONING SYSTEMS OF MOTOR VEHICLES
1. An air outlet for a heating and ventilation or air-conditioning system of a motor vehicle, comprising:
- a body defining an air discharge outlet;
at least one elongated louver extending over said air discharge outlet; and
at least one electric device integrated into a surface of said at least one elongated louver.
The invention relates to an air outlet for a heating and ventilation or air-conditioning system of a motor vehicle, wherein the air outlet has a body defining an air discharge opening, over which at least one elongate louver extends, which is pivotable about a longitudinal axis. At least one electric or electronic display and/or operating element of the heating and ventilation or air-conditioning system of the motor vehicle is integrated in the at least one louver, wherein each display and/or operating element is carried by the louver and is substantially flush with a substantially flat surface of the louver.
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Current AssigneeGM Global Technology Operations LLC
Sponsoring EntityGM Global Technology Operations LLC
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Current AssigneeGM Global Technology Operations LLC
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- 1. An air outlet for a heating and ventilation or air-conditioning system of a motor vehicle, comprising:
a body defining an air discharge outlet; at least one elongated louver extending over said air discharge outlet; and at least one electric device integrated into a surface of said at least one elongated louver.
- View Dependent Claims (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
The invention relates to an air outlet for a heating and ventilation or air-conditioning system of a motor vehicle, wherein the air outlet has an air discharge opening, over which at least one elongate louver, which can be pivoted about a longitudinal axis, extends.
In the case of motor vehicles, a component for delivering and directing a controlled amount of ambient air or heated or cooled air into the vehicle interior is referred to as an air outlet or air register. The strength of the airflow flowing out can be adjusted for example by means of a fan arranged upstream of the air outlet.
An air outlet contains a sort of grate, which is usually formed by a number of adjustable louvers, also referred to as air baffles, ribs, or wings, with which the flow direction of the airflow exiting from the air discharge opening can be varied. The louvers are generally adjusted manually by tabs arranged on louver assemblies or by control wheels arranged next to the louver assemblies.
A number of air outlets are usually distributed over the width of the dashboard, also referred to as the instrument panel. For example, one may be arranged on the left and one on the right and one or two in the middle, in order to be able to satisfy the individual requirements of different vehicle occupants in respect of ventilation, heating and cooling.
In modern passenger vehicles there is still the problem of utilization of the limited space available. This problem is exacerbated by the trend of providing increasingly larger screens inside the motor vehicle, for example on the center console of the vehicle. Although the screen makes it possible to accommodate a multiplicity of functions, which can be controlled in a software-assisted manner via a corresponding manipulation on the screen, the screen significantly reduces the space necessary for various buttons and operating knobs provided in the form of hardware, for example for controlling the start-stop function of the vehicle or the parking assistance of the vehicle or for controlling the heating and ventilation or air-conditioning system and the like.
An air outlet, generally of the type described, is known from EP 1 842 702 B1 as part of an air distribution system for the passenger compartment of a vehicle. The flow of air from an air outlet into the passenger compartment is controlled by an activation device which comprises a proximity sensor intended to activate the air outlet following the detection of the presence of a body, for example a hand, a short distance from the air outlet.
The document DE 10 2012 021 519 A1, which is likewise generic, discloses a ventilation system for a motor vehicle having a display and operating unit for selecting a ventilation region within the motor vehicle toward which airflow is to be directed and having a control unit for controlling variably adjustable air outlets, such that these direct an airflow to the ventilation region.
The document DE 10 2010 018 105 A1, which is likewise generic, discloses a vehicle cockpit which comprises at least one air outlet of a ventilation and air-conditioning system and also an operating device for detecting user inputs. If, during the operation of the operating device, a hand or an arm of the user is located for example in a monitored spatial region, the ventilation and air-conditioning system is controlled in such a way that no airflow in the region of the hand or arm is caused during the operation of the operating device by the user.
On this basis, the object of the new air outlet, that is the subject matter of this document, is to provide an air outlet with which the space-related problem for accommodating display and/or operating elements in the interior of a motor vehicle is alleviated.
This object is achieved by an air outlet having the features set forth in the following claims.
In accordance with the air outlet, one or more electric or electronic display and/or operating elements of the heating and ventilation or air-conditioning system of the motor vehicle is/are integrated in the least one louver of the air outlet, wherein each display and/or operating element is carried by the louver and is substantially flush with a substantially flat surface of the louver.
The louvers of the air outlet can thus also take on functions that otherwise would have to be provided on a separate instrument panel for heating and ventilation or climate control and are located in an ergonomically particularly favorable location.
Electronic display elements that can be integrated in louvers of the air outlet are, for example, micro LEDs or very small screen display devices, which can also serve as operating elements when they are touch-sensitive. Pure operating elements that are suitable accordingly are, for example, microswitches or capacitive contact or proximity sensors.
A surface of the louver with which one or more display and/or operating elements can be substantially flush is in particular a broad side or a narrow side of the louver when the louver has a certain width and thickness transversely to its longitudinal direction, as is usual, wherein the width is several times greater than the thickness.
In preferred embodiments of the invention the air outlet has a plurality of louvers pivotable parallel to one another and jointly, as is known per se. As now disclosed for the first time, display and/or operating elements can be integrated in one or more louvers of the air outlet.
The louvers preferably have a width such that they can be pivoted in the manner of a blind into a closed position, in which they jointly substantially close the air discharge opening. In this way, the louvers in the closed state offer the viewer a more or less flat and more or less continuous surface, on which display and/or operating elements are located, each of which can extend over one or more louvers.
Air outlets according to the invention can be located in principle at any point in the motor vehicle, but are particularly suitable as air outlets in the vicinity of and in particular below or above a preferably touch-sensitive screen on the center console of the motor vehicle. Such a screen may be a part of what is known as an infotainment system, which amalgamates the display and operation of, for example, car radio, navigation system and various vehicle functions. A screen of this type can be fixedly installed or can be a removable touchscreen or a smartphone.
Central screens of this type can take up a lot of space and also offer space for full integration of display and/or operating elements of the heating and ventilation or air-conditioning system in the screen display when it is not desired to provide these elements as dedicated hardware in order to avoid overloading the center console with instruments. The screen display is then complex nonetheless, and the operator may have difficulty in finding the display and/or operating elements on the screen. With the invention, either in addition to or instead of the provision on the screen, the corresponding functions can be provided at least temporarily at the air outlet itself, i.e. where an operator expects them and thus finds them easily.
Particularly in the embodiment in which the air outlet is arranged in the vicinity of a screen on the center console, an automatic display toggle can—depending on signals of a position sensor of the air outlet—additionally or instead display on the screen those display and/or operating elements integrated in the louvers which, on account of the louver position, for example with open louvers, are not currently visible, in particular not to a seated driver or front passenger. By contrast, this screen display can be masked out whilst the display and/or operating elements are visible on account of the lower position, such that the screen displays less information in this state and/or is available for other information.
In the aforementioned embodiment the display and/or operating elements masked out from the screen in a position-dependent manner are preferably those that can possibly be displayed on the broad sides, but not on the narrow sides of the louvers. Elements displayed on the narrow sides can be a selection of display and/or operating elements reduced in terms of number and/or display size, which allow at least a vehicle occupant familiar therewith to have quick access to the associated information and functions without having to necessarily look at the screen.
The features specified individually in the claims can be combined with one another in any technically feasible manner and can thus lead to further embodiments of the invention. By way of example, only display elements or only operating elements can thus be integrated in the louvers.
A description will now be provided of exemplary embodiments with reference to perspective drawings, in which:
The region around the air outlet 4 encircled by a solid line 5 is illustrated additionally in an enlarged manner at the bottom in
The region of the louvers 6 of one of the air outlets 4 in
At the bottom in