Extended field of view exterior mirror element for vehicle

  • US 10,688,931 B2
  • Filed: 06/30/2017
  • Issued: 06/23/2020
  • Est. Priority Date: 05/20/2003
  • Status: Active Grant
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First Claim
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1. An exterior sideview mirror assembly suitable for use on a vehicle, said exterior sideview mirror assembly comprising:

  • a housing portion and an attachment portion;

    wherein said attachment portion is adapted for attachment at a side of a vehicle;

    a mirror backing plate element;

    a main mirror element disposed at and supported by a first portion of said mirror backing plate element;

    wherein said main mirror element comprises one of (a) a glass substrate having a surface coated with a metallic reflector and (b) a flat polymeric substrate having a thin glass element applied to a surface thereof and with an opposing surface thereof having a reflecting layer applied thereto;

    wherein, with said attachment portion of said exterior sideview mirror assembly attached at a side of a vehicle equipped with said exterior sideview mirror assembly, said main mirror element has a primary field of view towards the rear of the equipped vehicle;

    wherein said primary field of view of said main mirror element has a principal axis;

    an auxiliary curved mirror element disposed at and supported by a second portion of said mirror backing plate element;

    wherein said auxiliary curved mirror element comprises a convex-curved glass substrate coated with a metallic reflector;

    wherein, with said attachment portion of said exterior sideview mirror assembly attached at the side of the equipped vehicle, said auxiliary curved mirror element has an auxiliary field of view towards the rear of the vehicle equipped with said exterior sideview mirror assembly;

    wherein said auxiliary field of view of said auxiliary curved mirror element has a principal axis;

    wherein said mirror backing plate element is movable within said housing portion by an electrically-operable actuator;

    wherein movement of said mirror backing plate element by said electrically-operable actuator similarly moves said main mirror element and said auxiliary curved mirror element;

    wherein, with said attachment portion of said exterior sideview mirror assembly attached at the side of the equipped vehicle, said auxiliary field of view of said auxiliary curved mirror element views into a blind spot in a side lane adjacent the side of the equipped vehicle at which said exterior sideview mirror assembly is attached, and wherein the blind spot is outside said primary field of view of said main mirror element when said main mirror element is viewed by a driver of the equipped vehicle;

    wherein said main mirror element and said auxiliary curved mirror element are separately and adjacently disposed at said mirror backing plate element in a side-by-side relationship and are not superimposed with one mirror element on top of the other mirror element;

    wherein said mirror backing plate element comprises a thermoplastic polymer resin;

    wherein said second portion of said mirror backing plate element is convex-curved;

    wherein said primary field of view of said main mirror element overlaps said auxiliary field of view of said auxiliary curved mirror element;

    wherein said second portion of said mirror backing plate element is tilted with respect to said first portion of said mirror backing plate element whereby, with said auxiliary curved mirror element disposed at and supported by said second portion of said mirror backing plate element and with said main mirror element disposed at and supported by said first portion of said mirror backing plate element, said principal axis of said auxiliary field of view of said auxiliary curved mirror element is angled with respect to said principal axis of said primary field of view of said main mirror element;

    wherein, with said attachment portion of said exterior sideview mirror assembly attached at the side of the equipped vehicle, said principal axis of said primary field of view of said main mirror element is directed more towards the side of the equipped vehicle than is said principal axis of said auxiliary field of view of said auxiliary curved mirror element;

    wherein, with said attachment portion of said exterior sideview mirror assembly attached at the side of the equipped vehicle, said principal axis of said auxiliary field of view of said auxiliary curved mirror element is directed more downwards towards a road surface the equipped vehicle travels along than is said principal axis of said primary field of view of said main mirror element;

    wherein, with said attachment portion of said exterior sideview mirror assembly attached at the side of the equipped vehicle, said auxiliary curved mirror element is positioned at and occupies an outboard upper portion of said mirror backing plate element;

    wherein, with said attachment portion of said exterior sideview mirror assembly attached at the side of the equipped vehicle, said main mirror element is positioned at and occupies (i) an outboard lower portion of said mirror backing plate element and (ii) inboard upper and lower portions of said mirror backing plate element;

    wherein said primary field of view of said main mirror element overlaps said auxiliary field of view of said auxiliary curved mirror element by between 2 degrees and 20 degrees;

    wherein said main mirror element has a fixed reflectance;

    wherein said auxiliary curved mirror element has a fixed reflectance;

    wherein the combined field of view of said primary field of view of said main mirror element combined with said auxiliary field of view of said auxiliary curved mirror element is at least 25 degrees relative to the side of the equipped vehicle;

    wherein the combined field of view of said primary field of view of said main mirror element combined with said auxiliary field of view of said auxiliary curved mirror element is less than 50 degrees relative to the side of the equipped vehicle; and

    wherein said main mirror element comprises a flat polymeric substrate having a thin glass element applied to a surface thereof and with an opposing surface thereof having a reflecting layer applied thereto, and wherein said flat polymeric substrate is formed from an elongated sheet of substrate material comprising a polymeric resin material, and wherein said elongated sheet has a transparent functional film applied at a surface thereof, and wherein said transparent functional film provides at least one of (a) an anti-abrasion function, (b) a hydrophobic function and (c) a hydrophilic function, and wherein said functional film comprises an ultrathin glass material which is sufficiently flexible to be provided in a reel or roll, and wherein said functional film is sufficiently flexible to conform to said flat polymeric substrate of said main mirror element, and wherein said main mirror element comprises a reflective film disposed at a surface of said flat polymeric substrate opposite said transparent functional film, and wherein said thin glass element comprises a thin flexible glass sheet, and wherein said thin flexible glass sheet exists as a pre-formed glass sheet that is separate from said flat polymeric substrate, and wherein said thin flexible glass sheet has an attaching surface, and wherein said attaching surface is opposed to and adhered to said surface of said flat polymeric substrate when said thin flexible glass sheet is adhered to said exterior surface of said flat polymeric substrate, and wherein said thin flexible glass sheet provides an anti-abrasion function at said surface of said flat polymeric substrate when adhered thereto, and wherein said thin flexible glass sheet conforms to said exterior surface of said flat polymeric substrate when adhered thereto, and wherein said thin flexible glass sheet has a thickness of less than approximately 0.8 mm and greater than approximately 0.3 mm.

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