VIDEO MIRROR SYSTEM SUITABLE FOR USE IN A VEHICLE

  • US 20070171037A1
  • Filed: 01/22/2007
  • Published: 07/26/2007
  • Est. Priority Date: 01/07/1998
  • Status: Active Grant
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First Claim
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1. A video mirror system suitable for use in a vehicle, said video mirror system comprising:

  • an interior rearview mirror assembly;

    said interior rearview mirror assembly comprising an electrochromic reflective element, said reflective element providing a rearward field of view to a driver of a vehicle when said interior rearview mirror assembly is mounted in the vehicle;

    said electrochromic reflective element comprising an electrochromic medium disposed between a first substrate and a second substrate;

    said first substrate being closer to the driver of the vehicle than said second substrate when said interior rearview mirror assembly is mounted in the vehicle;

    said first substrate having a first surface and a second surface;

    said first surface being closer to the driver of the vehicle than said second surface when said interior rearview mirror assembly is mounted in the vehicle;

    said second substrate having a third surface and a fourth surface;

    said third surface being closer to the driver of the vehicle than said fourth surface when said interior rearview mirror assembly is mounted in the vehicle;

    a transparent electrical conductor disposed at said second surface of said first substrate;

    a mirror reflector disposed at said third surface of said second substrate;

    said mirror reflector comprising a metal layer;

    said metal layer comprising at least one of (i) silver, (ii) aluminum, (iii) an alloy of silver, and (iv) an alloy of aluminum;

    said interior rearview mirror assembly comprising a video screen;

    said video screen disposed to the rear of said fourth surface of said second substrate;

    said video screen comprising one of (i) a back-lit liquid crystal device, (ii) a light emitting diode display device, (iii) an electroluminescent display device, (iv) a plasma display device, and (v) a field emission display device;

    said video screen emitting light when actuated to display a video image, said emitted light passing through said electrochromic reflective element to be viewed by the driver of the vehicle;

    said mirror reflector comprising a transflective mirror reflector and wherein the presence of said video screen disposed to the rear of said fourth surface of said second substrate is substantially unobservable to a driver of the vehicle until said video screen is actuated to emit light that passes through said electrochromic reflective element to be viewed by the driver of the vehicle;

    said interior rearview mirror assembly comprising at least one light sensing photosensor, said at least one light sensing photosensor sensing the intensity of ambient light present when said interior rearview mirror assembly is being operated in the vehicle;

    said interior rearview mirror assembly comprising control circuitry;

    said control circuitry increasing the intensity of light emitted by said video screen when said ambient light is high and said control circuit circuitry decreasing the intensity of light emitted by said video screen when said ambient light is low;

    said control circuitry increasing the intensity of light emitted by said video screen to compensate for loss of transmission through said electrochromic reflective element when said electrochromic medium dims responsive to a voltage applied thereto;

    said control circuitry comprising at least one of (i) electronic components that commonly control dimming of said electrochromic medium and actuation of said video screen and (ii) sub-circuitry that commonly controls dimming of said electrochromic medium and actuation of said video screen;

    said control circuitry receiving a signal indicative of selection of a reverse gear of the vehicle by the driver of the vehicle;

    wherein said control circuitry actuates said video screen upon selection of a reverse gear by the driver of the vehicle in order to display video images captured by a video imaging device disposed to the rear of the vehicle and having a field of view rearward of and external to the vehicle;

    wherein said control circuitry deactuates said video screen upon deselection of a reverse gear of the vehicle in order to cease display of video images captured by said video imaging device disposed to the rear of the vehicle and having a field of view rearward of and external to the vehicle; and

    wherein said video screen has a diagonal screen dimension in a range of about 1 inch to about 4 inches.

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