Electronic Intelligent Turn Signals

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Turn signal related issues are included in virtually all lists of driver’s pet peeves. Although every car and truck is built with turn signals and every driver is obliged by law to use them, many drivers neglect to use them. Also, they are designed such that they may be stuck-on for miles and miles if the mechanism fails to trip them off. Furthermore, they may trip off before the turn is even made if the steering wheel is moved just right while sitting at a light.
Any given driver has a right to a fundamental expectation from all surrounding vehicles on the roadways: turn signals should be “on” to indicate an intention to make a turn and turn signals should be “off” when going straight. But this is not the case for a high percentage of the time. Turn signals are either erroneously stuck-on or just missing much of the time.
An Electronic Intelligent Turn Signal equipped in a vehicle assures that turn signals are displayed in appropriate situations virtually 100% of the time by using computer control: that is, a turn signal is “on” when it should be “on”, and “off” when it should be “off”. By accurately reflecting a driver’s intentions, other drivers can safely anticipate and respond to go beyond just avoiding a crash, but serve to actively improve traffic flow. A paper presented at the 2010 Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress stated that if all vehicles had Intelligent Turn Signals, 1.5 million fewer crashes could occur in the U.S. each year.
Electronic Intelligent Turn Signals work by eliminating the traditional “trip” mechanism embedded in the steering column and instead use the existing vehicle dynamics sensors that would be used for Electronic Stability Control. By accurately measuring vehicle yaw, steering wheel angle, speed, deceleration, travel distance and other parameters, turn signal shut off is made precise in every instance to truly reflect a driver’s turn intent. There is actually a resulting COST SAVINGS for adding an Intelligent Turn Signal System, since the mechanism that was first used in 1940 can now be eliminated.
Additionally, it continuously measures turns and coinciding turn signal usage. So for the driver who habitually neglects to actuate a turn signal at all, or misses frequently, a short duration message is eventually displayed to the driver: “USE SIGNAL NEXT TURN”. Soon the driver will acquire the good habit of using a turn signal. For the driver who uses turn signals most of the time and only occasionally forgets to use the turn signal, the system is transparent and no message will ever be displayed: Good drivers never get a message and neglectful drivers will quickly become proper turn signal users. The proper use of the turn signal is simply NOT a “personal choice”. After all, we expect brake lights to come on with 100% reliability and we expect traffic lights to be 100% accurate, so we should therefore strive for the same reliability with vehicle turn signals.


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  • Name:
    Richard Ponziani
  • Type of entry:
  • Patent status: