Forward facing sensing system for vehicle

  • US 8,614,640 B2
  • Filed: 10/22/2012
  • Issued: 12/24/2013
  • Est. Priority Date: 01/25/2007
  • Status: Active Grant
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First Claim
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1. A forward facing sensing system for a vehicle, the vehicle having a windshield, said forward facing sensing system comprising:

  • a radar sensor device disposed within an interior cabin of a vehicle equipped with said forward facing sensing system, and wherein said radar sensor device has a sensing direction forward of the equipped vehicle;

    an image sensor disposed within the interior cabin of the equipped vehicle and wherein said image sensor has a viewing direction forward of the equipped vehicle;

    wherein said image sensor is at least one of (a) in close proximity to the windshield of the equipped vehicle and (b) optically coupled at the windshield of the equipped vehicle;

    a control comprising an image processor, said image processor operable to analyze images captured by said image sensor in order to, at least in part, detect an object present forward of the equipped vehicle in its direction of forward travel;

    wherein at least one of (a) said radar sensor device utilizes at least one of beam aiming and beam selection, (b) said radar sensor device utilizes digital beam forming, (c) said radar sensor device utilizes digital beam steering, (d) said radar sensor device comprises an array antenna and (e) said radar sensor device comprises a phased array antenna and;

    wherein said image sensor comprises a pixelated imaging array sensor;

    wherein said radar sensor device transmits at a frequency of at least 20 GHz;

    wherein said control, at least in part, determines that a potentially hazardous condition may exist in the path of forward travel of the equipped vehicle, and wherein said potentially hazardous condition comprises at least one of (i) another vehicle, (ii) a person and (iii) an animal in the path of forward travel of the equipped vehicle;

    wherein said radar sensor device and said image sensor collaborate in a way that enhances the sensing capability of said sensing system for the potentially hazardous condition in the path of forward travel of the equipped vehicle;

    wherein said radar sensor device and said image sensor share, at least in part, common processing circuitry;

    wherein said common processing circuitry includes said image processor, said common processing circuitry processing images captured by said image sensor and radar data received from said radar sensor device to provide an indication of the detection of the presence of at least one of (i) another vehicle, (ii) a person and (iii) an animal in the path of forward travel of the equipped vehicle;

    wherein said radar sensor device, said image sensor, said image processor and said common processing circuitry are housed in a self-contained unit disposed behind and attached at the windshield of the equipped vehicle, and wherein said self-contained unit is removably installed at the equipped vehicle and is removable therefrom as a unit for at least one of service and replacement;

    wherein said image processor comprises an image processing chip that processes image data captured by said image sensor utilizing object detection software; and

    wherein said image processor processes image data captured by said image sensor for at least one of (i) an automatic headlamp control system of the equipped vehicle and (ii) a lane departure warning system of the equipped vehicle.

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