Vehicle Vision System Description Background of the Invention This invention is a system for generating and distributing real time vehicle accident data and provides an accident scene record which is automatically recorded and quickly accessible by authorized parties. This invention also provides real time video and audio monitoring of the inside of a said vehicle which is automatically recorded and accessible by authorized parties.
The formatted video/audio data is transmitted wirelessly from Unit A, received and saved into the portable memory storage in Unit B. Non authorized parties will not have access to the portable memory storage.
Summary of the Invention This invention uses three cameras mounted on the vehicle, one camera provides a visual record in the region in front of the vehicle, a second camera provides a visual record in the region behind the vehicle and a third camera provides a visual and audio record of the inside of the vehicle. For a specified time interval covering current, recent past and post-accident, camera images are digitally recorded into a compressed format and stored into portable memory wirelessly. The contents of portable memory will be over-written with new video/audio data at programmable intervals.
An accelerometer onboard the vehicle generates a trigger in response to an accident, such as the vehicle hitting something or being struck by another vehicle. When the system receives this trigger data is no longer wirelessly stored into portable memory.
The data can then be accessed by an authorized party (e.g. insurance company, fleet facility or private user) by directly or wirelessly (Bluetooth or WI-FI) accessing the portable memory storage (USB, SD memory card) and providing a password to open the contents of the portable memory.
Description of the Drawings FIG. 1 is a pictorial diagram of one instance of the CCD locations in a vehicle vision system in accordance to the description of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a functional block diagram of one instance of a vehicle vision system in accordance to the description of the invention.
FIG. 3 is a data flow diagram of the steps used to capture and make available vehicle and monitoring data in accordance to the description of the invention.
FIG. 4 is a pictorial drawing of one instance of Unit A in a vehicle vision system in accordance to the description of the invention., FIG. 5 is a pictorial drawing of one instance of Unit B in a vehicle vision system in accordance to the description of the invention.
Detailed Description of the Invention As shown in FIG.1 the front camera (2) is oriented so that its field of view is forward of the vehicle, the inside camera (3) is oriented so that its field of view is that of the inside of the vehicle. A third stand-alone camera (4) is located so that its field of view is behind the vehicle.
Referring to FIG. 4 the Unit A housing (8) which contains the video cameras (1) front &
(2) inside is mounted at the front of a vehicle. Unit A housing (8) also contains the data input connector (3) from the stand-alone rear view camera and a power input connector (5). System programming is accomplished by accessing the switches (6) located on Unit A. Referring to FIG. 1 the Unit B housing (1) is located at a concealed location within the vehicle and contains the portable memory storage.
As further explained in FIG. 4, the housing (8) contains system hardware and software necessary to detect when an accident has occurred and to record video and audio data related to the accident scene to portable memory. Additional data including the vehicles operation prior to the accident, during the accident and immediately after the accident is also recorded.
The system automatically stores all encrypted image and audio data and includes an interface (e.g. USB, SD card, Bluetooth, WI-FI) that allows the contents of the portable memory to be read by a personal computer.
Referring to FIG. 2 the vehicle vision system is comprised of hardware and software components included in both Unit A and Unit B.
The functions of each block in the camera unit (Unit A) are explained as follows:
Front Camera CCD: This block contains the camera CCD sensor that is installed facing towards the front of the vehicle.
G-Force Sensor: This is a G-Force sensor to detect the G-Force of the vehicle as a trigger input to the CPU and Data Formatter block.
Inside Camera CCD: This block contains the camera CCD sensor that is installed facing towards the inside of the vehicle.
Microphone: This microphone is installed inside the vehicle to monitor and record audio sound.
Rear Camera CCD: This block contains the camera CCD sensor that is installed facing towards the rear of the vehicle. This camera CCD sensor is a wired connection to Unit A.
LCD Display: This is a device which can display live or playback video. The system setting/status can also be displayed on this device.
GPS Receiver: This GPS receiver can receive GPS location data and have the data stored into system memory. The GPS data can be displayed on the LCD screen and used as a vehicle GPS device.
Settings: This block contains the control and setting selection buttons.
CPU and Data Formatter: CPU and Data Formatter block receives the data from the CCD cameras and microphone, formats it into video/audio files and then sends it to the storage unit (Unit B) via wireless communication. This block also receives data from Wireless Transceiver A.
Wireless Transceiver A: This is a wireless transceiver used to transmit and receive video/audio data with storage unit (Unit B).
The functions of each block in the storage unit (Unit B) are explained as follows:
Wireless Transceiver B: This is a wireless transceiver used to transmit and receive video/audio data with camera unit (Unit A).
General Interfaces: This block may contain some general interfaces (for example USB, SD card) to communicate with PCs.
CPU.- The CPU in Unit B takes the video/audio data from the Wireless Transceiver B and saves it into the portable memory storage. This block also sends data to Wireless Transceiver B.
Memory Storage: This is the portable memory space used to store the video/audio data.
This physical interface can be USB stick or a SD memory card.
Software components include the processor's operating system, a real time video compression application program (e.g. AVI, MPEG II) and an encryption application program.
Referring to FIG.2 and FIG. 3, the three CCD video cameras produce digital data of their viewing area, for example, the front of the vehicle, the inside of the vehicle and the rear of the vehicle. CCD camera data outputs go to the processor where the data is compressed, processed and then stored into portable memory. Digital data is stored into portable memory in a programmable time interval (for example 1- 5 minutes) and overwrites its memory contents when full.
The vehicle vision system detector is a two axis accelerometer which generates a trigger signal when an accident occurs. The output of the accelerometer is constantly being monitored and compared by the system CPU for a valid trigger signal. When the CPU
receives the accelerometer trigger input it will stop recording from the front, inside and rear cameras after a programmable predetermined interval.
The contents of the portable memory can be read by an authorized user by removing from Unit B, uploading to a personal computer, executing the file (AVI, MPEG) and providing the necessary password. The contents of the portable memory storage can also be read wirelessly by an authorised user from a personal computer.
The vehicle vision system contains a LCD screen FIG.4 (7) to display real time video, help align camera angles and to display system setting and status. The LCD can also be used to playback data from Unit B portable memory storage wirelessly upon request.
The vehicle vision system can contain a GPS receiver to receive GPS data. In combination with the other functional blocks in the system it can then be used as a GPS
Although the vehicle vision system contains three video cameras, the system may contain just one or all of the cameras depending on the requirements. For example, for the usage of vehicle accident evidence, the system may just contain the front and rear cameras, while for the usage of vehicle surveillance the system may just contain the inside camera.