Vehicular imaging system with controlled illumination device and camera

  • US 10,075,650 B2
  • Filed: 02/23/2015
  • Issued: 09/11/2018
  • Est. Priority Date: 01/30/2009
  • Status: Active Grant
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First Claim
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1. A imaging system for capturing images rearward of a vehicle, the imaging system comprising:

  • a tail lamp assembly configured for mounting at a rear portion of a vehicle equipped with the imaging system, wherein the tail lamp assembly includes at least one light source that, when activated, emits light, and wherein, with the tail lamp assembly mounted at the equipped vehicle and with the at least one light source activated, the tail lamp assembly emits light that illuminates a field of illumination rearward of the equipped vehicle;

    a light source control that operates at least one light source of the tail lamp assembly, wherein, with the tail lamp assembly mounted at the equipped vehicle, the light source control operates the at least one light source in a repeating cycle that includes (i) a first illumination period wherein light emitted by the tail lamp assembly has a first brightness level, and (ii) a second illumination period wherein light emitted by the tail lamp assembly has a second brightness level that is lower than the first brightness level;

    a camera configured for mounting at the equipped vehicle, wherein, with the camera mounted at the equipped vehicle, and with the tail lamp assembly mounted at the rear portion of the equipped vehicle, and with the at least one light source activated, the camera captures image data representative of a region that is at least in part encompassed by the field of illumination;

    a camera control that controls the camera, wherein the camera control, with the camera mounted at the equipped vehicle, and with the tail lamp assembly mounted at the rear portion of the equipped vehicle, and with the at least one light source operated by the light source control in the repeating cycle, controls the camera to capture image data during at least part of the first illumination period and the camera control controls the camera to not capture image data during at least part of the second illumination period; and

    wherein the light source control operates the at least one light source in a repeating cycle that repeats sufficiently frequently such that the at least one light source, with the tail lamp assembly mounted at the rear portion of the equipped vehicle and when the at least one light source is operated in the repeating cycle, appears to onlookers to be illuminated at a constant third brightness level that is lower than the first brightness level and higher than the second brightness level.

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