Vehicle camera system

  • US 10,543,786 B2
  • Filed: 01/08/2018
  • Issued: 01/28/2020
  • Est. Priority Date: 01/31/2002
  • Status: Active Grant
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First Claim
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1. A vehicular camera system suitable for use in a vehicle, said vehicular camera system comprising:

  • a vehicle windshield that, as installed in a vehicle equipped with said vehicular camera system, is sloped at an acute angle relative to horizontal;

    a black-out layer disposed at an upper central region of the vehicle windshield as installed in the equipped vehicle;

    an attachment member configured for attachment at the upper central region of the vehicle windshield where the black-out layer is disposed;

    an accessory module comprising a camera;

    wherein said camera comprises a CMOS imaging array sensor and a lens;

    wherein said accessory module is configured to detachably mount at said attachment member;

    wherein the black-out layer comprises a light-transmitting aperture aligned with said camera when said accessory module is detachably mounted at said attachment member attached at the upper central region of the vehicle windshield;

    wherein, with said attachment member attached at the upper central region of the vehicle windshield where the black-out layer is disposed and with said accessory module mounted at said attachment member with said camera aligned with the light-transmitting aperture of the black-out layer, said lens of said camera is spaced from the vehicle windshield;

    wherein, with said attachment member attached at the upper central region of the vehicle windshield where the black-out layer is disposed and with said accessory module mounted at said attachment member, said camera views forward of the equipped vehicle through the light-transmitting aperture in the black-out layer via a tapered structure that is widest at the vehicle windshield and that tapers from the vehicle windshield towards where said lens of said camera is located;

    wherein, with said attachment member attached at the upper central region of the vehicle windshield where the black-out layer is disposed and with said accessory module mounted at said attachment member, said tapered structure is at an acute angle relative to the vehicle windshield, said angling compensating, at least in part, for slope of the vehicle windshield;

    wherein said accessory module comprises a housing having a windshield-facing side that faces towards the vehicle windshield when said attachment member is attached at the upper central region of the vehicle windshield where the black-out layer is disposed and when said accessory module is mounted at said attachment member, and wherein said housing of said accessory module has a cabin-facing side that faces away from the vehicle windshield towards the interior cabin of the equipped vehicle when said attachment member is attached at the upper central region of the vehicle windshield where the black-out layer is disposed and when said accessory module is mounted at said attachment member;

    wherein said tapered structure comprises a plurality of planar walls that converge towards one another;

    wherein, with said attachment member attached at the upper central region of the vehicle windshield where the black-out layer is disposed and with said accessory module mounted at said attachment member, said lens of said camera at least partially protrudes through said housing into a cavity that is at least partially bounded by said tapered structure;

    wherein electrical circuitry is disposed in said housing of said accessory module;

    wherein said electrical circuitry disposed in said housing of said accessory module comprises a microprocessor, memory and a power supply;

    wherein, with said attachment member attached at the upper central region of the vehicle windshield where the black-out layer is disposed and with said accessory module mounted at said attachment member, said electrical circuitry communicates over a vehicle communication bus with at least one system of the equipped vehicle;

    wherein said electrical circuitry receives input over the vehicle communication bus from at least one system of the equipped vehicle;

    wherein input received over the vehicle communication bus comprises at least one input selected from the group consisting of (i) intelligent headlamp control enabled status, (ii) intelligent headlamp control disabled status and (iii) steering angle;

    wherein said electrical circuitry communicates over the vehicle communication bus to at least one system of the equipped vehicle;

    wherein, with said attachment member attached at the upper central region of the vehicle windshield where the black-out layer is disposed and with said accessory module mounted at said attachment member, said camera captures image data for a driver assistance system of the equipped vehicle; and

    wherein said driver assistance system comprises an adaptive cruise control system of the equipped vehicle.

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