Patent Number: 6,254,127

Title: Vehicle occupant sensing system including a distance-measuring sensor on an airbag module or steering wheel assembly

Abstract: Occupant position sensor system for a driver of the vehicle in which a sensor is arranged on or incorporated into a steering wheel assembly and provides an output signal which varies as a function of the distance between the sensor and the driver of the vehicle such that the position of the driver can be determined relative to a fixed point in the vehicle. The sensor can be arranged on a cover of the airbag module arranged in connection with the steering wheel assembly. The sensor may be, e.g., an ultrasonic transducer or a capacitance sensor. The sensor can be used in combination with an airbag deployment system including, in addition to the airbag in the airbag module, a crash sensor for determining that a crash requiring deployment of the airbag is required, and a control unit coupled to the sensor and crash sensor for controlling deployment of the airbag based on the determination that a crash requiring deployment of the airbag is required and the distance between the driver and the sensor. A steering wheel assembly, airbag module and occupant restraint system and deployment method including a sensor as described above are also disclosed.

Inventors: Breed; David S. (Boonton Township, NJ), Johnson; Wendell C. (San Diego, CA), Duvall; Wilbur E. (Kimberling City, MO)

Assignee: Automotive Technologies International Inc.

International Classification: B60N 2/00 (20060101); B60N 2/02 (20060101); B60N 2/48 (20060101); B60R 22/18 (20060101); B60R 1/08 (20060101); B60R 22/20 (20060101); B60R 21/01 (20060101); B60N 2/28 (20060101); B60N 2/26 (20060101); B60R 16/02 (20060101); G01S 7/02 (20060101); G01S 17/00 (20060101); G01S 17/88 (20060101); G06K 9/00 (20060101); G01S 7/41 (20060101); G01S 7/539 (20060101); G01S 7/48 (20060101); G01S 15/88 (20060101); G01S 15/00 (20060101); G01S 15/87 (20060101); B60R 21/26 (20060101); B60R 22/00 (20060101); B60R 22/48 (20060101); B60R 21/20 (20060101); B60R 1/12 (20060101); G01S 17/89 (20060101); G01S 15/06 (20060101); G01S 13/00 (20060101); G01S 13/04 (20060101); B60R 021/32 ()

Expiration Date: 07/03/2018