Using vehicle sensor data to monitor environmental and geologic conditions

  • US 10,708,547 B2
  • Filed: 12/01/2016
  • Issued: 07/07/2020
  • Est. Priority Date: 11/11/2016
  • Status: Active Grant
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First Claim
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1. An apparatus of a vehicle for monitoring environmental conditions surrounding the vehicle, the apparatus comprising:

  • a plurality of sensors of the vehicle comprising at least one thermal imager, at least one high-definition imager, and an air quality sensor, wherein each of the at least one thermal imager and the at least one high-definition imager has a respective bubble of vision;

    a real-time communication interface that communicates information from the vehicle across a wireless communications channel while the vehicle is in motion;

    a short-range communication interface that communicates information from the vehicle across a short-range communications channel when the vehicle is stopped and is in range of the short-range communications channel;

    a geolocation system to determine a location of the vehicle at a selected point in time; and

    a vehicle computer communicatively coupled to the plurality of sensors, the geolocation system, the real-time communication interface, and the short-range communication interface, wherein the vehicle computer;

    receives, from the plurality of sensors, environmental information of the environment in which the vehicle is traveling, the environmental information comprising a plurality of thermal images, a plurality of high-definition images, and gas and particulate information defining a condition of the environment;

    determines, based on the environmental information, whether a hazard exists in the environment;

    determines, when the hazard is determined to exist in the environment, whether the hazard is a low-priority hazard associated with the environmental information comprising information about structures in the environment, a medium-priority hazard associated with the environmental information comprising information about a change in lighting or weather conditions in the environment, and a high-priority hazard associated with the environmental information comprising information about a fire or a fallen tree in the environment;

    stores, in a memory of the vehicle, the environmental information associated with the determined hazard along with a location of the vehicle at a time when the environmental information is received;

    displays, via a display device inside the vehicle only when the hazard that exists in the environment is determined to be the medium-priority hazard or the high-priority hazard, an alert informing occupants of the vehicle of the medium-priority hazard or the high-priority hazard;

    transmits, via the real-time communication interface, only the stored environmental information associated with the high-priority hazard when the hazard that exists in the environment is determined to be the high-priority hazard, to a database server in real time, andtransmits, via the short-range communication interface, only the stored environmental information associated with the low-priority hazard or the medium-priority hazard when the hazard that exists in the environment is determined to be the low-priority hazard or the medium-priority hazard, to the database server when the vehicle is stopped and is in range of the short-range communications channel.

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