(19)
(11)EP 1 177 048 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
03.08.2005 Bulletin 2005/31

(21)Application number: 00923356.0

(22)Date of filing:  14.04.2000
(51)Int. Cl.7B05B 1/10, B60S 1/48, B60S 1/60
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2000/010052
(87)International publication number:
WO 2000/062938 (26.10.2000 Gazette  2000/43)

(54)

AUTOMATICALLY CONTROLLED WASHER SYSTEM FOR HEADLAMPS

AUTOMATISCH GESTEUERTES WASCHSYSTEM FÜR SCHEINWERFER

SYSTEME DE LAVAGE A COMMANDE AUTOMATIQUE POUR PHARES AVANT


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AT BE CH CY DE DK ES FI FR GB GR IE IT LI LU MC NL PT SE

(30)Priority: 15.04.1999 US 292508

(43)Date of publication of application:
06.02.2002 Bulletin 2002/06

(73)Proprietor: McCORD WINN TEXTRON INC.
Manchester, NH 03103 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • DANIELS, George, F.
    Stratham, NH 03885 (US)
  • KACKENMEISTER, Carl, F.
    Stratham, NH 03885 (US)

(74)Representative: Lippert, Stachow, & Partner 
Patentanwälte Frankenforster Strasse 135-137
51427 Bergisch Gladbach
51427 Bergisch Gladbach (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
DE-A- 2 457 485
DE-C- 4 403 938
US-A- 3 609 450
DE-A- 19 539 422
FR-A- 2 390 312
US-A- 5 446 586
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] This invention relates to headlamp cleaning systems and more particularly to headlamp cleaning systems wherein washer fluid is directed against a lens for removing a dirt build-up from the lens so as to improve light distribution therefrom.

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0002] Various headlamp cleaning systems are known wherein a headlamp with a housing; a source of light and a covering lens is cleaned by a lens washer system including a source of fluid, a pump for the fluid and a nozzle for distributing the fluid against the lens for removing dirt build-up.

    [0003] One such system is set-forth in United States Patent Nos. 3,609,450 and 3,736,560. These patents disclose a controller that senses dirt build-up on a lens by use of a photometrics sensor that is separate from the headlamp. The controller includes a dash board display of headlamp condition after washing.

    [0004] United States Patent No. 4,713,583 discloses a cleaning system wherein the headlamp dirt build-up sensing is provided by reflective sensing and the sensor is integrated within the headlamp.

    [0005] United States Patent No. 4,210,841 discloses a headlamp assembly having a plastic lens but there is no suggestion of a dirt build-up deterioration of the lens affecting the transmission of light.

    [0006] While suitable for their intended purpose, the aforesaid prior art arrangements do not disclose the use of headlamp cleaning systems especially adapted for use with light sources such as an HID (high intensity discharge) headlamp or a tungsten halogen headlamp that includes a plastic lens. In such cases the road dirt on the surface of a plastic lens covering a high temperature, high intensity discharge lamp such as is the case with HID headlamps can be literally baked onto a lens so that the outer surface of the lens becomes less light transmissive over time even after a washer cleaning cycle or cycles.

    [0007] A vehicle headlight washer that is automatically actuated by a photocell actuator whenever the intensity of the light being passed through the headlight lens is reduced to a predetermined level by road grime and the like is disclosed in US patent No. 3,609,450.

    [0008] DE OS 24 57 485 discloses a vehicle headlight washer system which is activated each time the vehicle ignition is activated, however, this cleaning system does not use a cleaning fluid. The cleaning effect is achieved by mechanical friction.

    [0009] Therefore a problem to be solved by the present invention is to provide a better cleaning of the head lamp lenses.

    [0010] This problem is solved by the characterizing features of claim 1.

    SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0011] Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to provide an automatically operated headlamp cleaning system that will prevent road dirt buildup on a plastic lens of a headlamp in a manner that will maintain the light transmissiveness of the headlamp lens over time.

    [0012] A feature of the invention is to provide a headlamp washer system that will automatically direct cleaning fluid against the plastic lens of a headlamp periodically to remove dirt from the lens

    [0013] A further feature of the invention is to provide such automatic direct cleaning by a controller that will initiate a cleaning cycle automatically upon each ignition key operation of a motor vehicle.

    [0014] A still further feature of the invention is to provide for such automatic direct cleaning by a controller that will additionally initiate a cleaning cycle automatically upon a predetermined dirt buildup and will continually repeat a predetermined washing cycle until all dirt buildup has been removed from the lens surface.

    [0015] A still further object is to provide the aforesaid headlamp cleaning systems with an accurate low cost road lens dirt build-up detection system that is easily integrated into a headlamp housing arrangement.

    [0016] A still further object is to provide such a lens dirt build-up detection system wherein the sensor includes a photodiode located within a tube integrated into the lamp housing such that the photodiode will detect light scattering internally of the lens.

    [0017] A still further object is to provide such a lens dirt build-up detection system wherein the sensor is an infrared sensor that is arranged to sense the temperature increase in the headlamp caused by light not passing through the lens.

    [0018] A still further object is to provide such a lens dirt build-up detection system wherein the sensor is a layer of transparent electrically resistive material either with an integrated circuit or without located on the inner surface of a headlamp lens and, when the temperature changes in the lens due to light not passing through the lens, operates to change the resistance of the material in accordance therewith.

    [0019] A still further object is to provide such a lens dirt build-up detection system wherein the sensor is an infrared sensor arranged inside or outside the lens of a headlamp to detect the variability of the I/R emissivity of the lens surface caused by the build-up of dirt deposits thereon.

    [0020] A still further object is to provide such a lens dirt build-up detection system wherein the sensors are arranged to detect the emissions in a plane perpendicular to the light source for detecting the changes light scatter to the edges of an headlamp lens due to road dirt build-up and wherein either the lamp or a separate source is used for emission/baseline.

    [0021] A still further object is to provide such a lens dirt build-up detection system wherein the sensor is arranged to detect light coming through the lens of a headlamp and wherein the light is provided by a separate light source arranged either above or below the lens.

    [0022] A still further object is to provide such a lens dirt build-up detection system wherein the sensor is as provided in the preceding object but wherein the light is provided by the headlamp and wherein the lamp lens is modified to increase sensitivity/reliability of detection in the vicinity of the sensor or is modified to provide a filter.

    [0023] A still further object is to provide such a lens dirt build-up detection system wherein the sensor is arranged as an array of individual sensors integrated into the lens and arranged to detect a spatial non-uniformity in light detection across the array indicative of a dirty lens requiring cleaning action.

    [0024] A still further object is to provide such a lens dirt build-up detection system wherein the sensor is arranged as an array of individual sensors integrated into the lens and arranged to provide a spectral analysis of light indicative of a dirty lens requiring cleaning action.

    [0025] Yet another object is to provide a detection system of the preceding object that uses emission lines of an HID lamp by looking at peak strengths (intensities) and/or ratios of peak strengths (intensities) and/or widths.

    [0026] Still another object is to provide the aforesaid detection system to generate a signal indicating performance degradation of the HID source.

    [0027] A still further object of the invention is to provide a headlamp washer system with a washer fluid spray nozzle having a sensor integrated therein for detecting the build-up of dirt on the nozzle for providing a signal of possible headlamp lens dirt build-up to initiate a lens cleaning action by the washer system.

    [0028] These and other objects, advantages and features of the present invention will become more apparent from the following specification when taken with the accompanying drawings wherein:

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0029] 

    Figure 1 is a diagrammatic view of a HID headlamp cleaning system including fixed nozzle discharge components;

    Figure 2 is a diagrammatic view of a HID headlamp cleaning system including retractable and extendible nozzle discharge components;

    Figure 3 is a diagrammatic view of a HID headlamp cleaning system including a wiper blade component;

    Figure 4 is a diagrammatic view of a monitoring system for use in the cleaning systems of Figures 1-3;

    Figure 5 is a flow chart of a control sequence for operating headlamp cleaning systems according to the method of the present invention;

    Figure 6 is a diagrammatic view of another embodiment of a sensor for detecting light scattering internally of a HID headlamp lens;

    Figure 7 is a diagrammatic view of an integrated tube and photodiode sensor embodiment for detecting light scattering internally of a HID headlamp lens;

    Figure 8 is a diagrammatic view of another embodiment of a lens dirt build-up detection system including an infrared sensor to detect the variability of the I/R emissivity of a HID headlamp lens surface;

    Figure 9 is a diagrammatic view of another embodiment of a dirt film detecting system;

    Figure 10 is a diagrammatic view of still another embodiment of the invention;

    Figure 11 is a diagrammatic view of still another embodiment for sensing lens dirt build-up wherein the sensors are arranged to detect the emissions in a plane perpendicular to the light source;

    Figure 12 is a diagrammatic view of yet another embodiment of a lens dirt build-up detection system including a sensor and a separate light source and wherein the sensor is arranged to detect light coming through the lens of an HID lamp from the separate light source;

    Figure 13 is diagrammatic view of still another embodiment of the invention including a lens dirt build-up detection system wherein the sensor is as provided in the preceding object but wherein the light is provided by a light source and wherein the lamp lens is modified in the vicinity of the sensor or is modified to provide a filter;

    Figure 14 is a diagrammatic view of another embodiment of the invention provide as a lens dirt build-up detection system wherein the sensor is arranged as an array of individual sensors integrated into the lens and arranged to detect a spatial non-uniformity in light detection across the array indicative of a dirty lens requiring cleaning action;

    Figure 15 is a diagrammatic view of a still further embodiment to provide a lens dirt build-up detection system wherein the sensor is arranged as an array of individual sensors integrated into the lens and arranged to provide a spectral analysis of light that if a narrow band monitoring only a couple of absorption lines indicative of a dirty lens requiring cleaning action; and

    Figure 16 is a diagrammatic view of a still further embodiment of the invention configured to provide a headlamp washer system with a washer fluid spray nozzle having a sensor integrated therein for detecting build-up of dirt thereon as an indicator of a headlamp lens dirt build-up requiring initiation of a lens cleaning action by the washer system.


    DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS



    [0030] Referring now to Figure 1, a headlamp cleaning system 10 has one or more headlamps 12 (one shown in Figure 1). Each of the headlamps 12 has a housing 14 for a high intensity discharge light source 16 of the type shown in United States Patent Nos. 4,754,373 and 5,036,439. The housing is closed by a covering lens 18 that will disperse light from the light source 16 in a known manner.

    [0031] In order to maintain the light transmission from the lens, the headlamp cleaning system 10 includes a lens washer system 20. In Figure 1 the lens washer system includes a source of cleaning fluid 22 that is in communication with a pump 24 that has an electrically controlled driver such as an electric motor 25. The pump 24 is connected by suitable conduits 26 to a nozzle 28 having its outlet arranged so as to direct cleaning fluid against the outer surface of the lens 18 automatically under the control of a controller 30. The nozzle discharge is arranged for distributing the cleaning fluid against the lens for removing dirt build-up.

    [0032] The lens 18 is formed from plastic having good light transmission and adequate strength against stone impact and the like. Such a plastic headlamp lens 18 can be formed from a plastic material such as polycarbonate copolymers such as Lexan® sold by General Electric Company or polysulfone covered by a suitable abrasion resistant material such as acrylate resins, melamine resins, or siloxane resins. Such plastic lens configurations, however, are heated in HID lamps to a temperature level that can retain road dirt in the outer surface of the lens unless removed therefrom in a timely fashion. Such retention of the dirt has been found to cause dirt to reduce the transparency of the lens material over time. Accordingly, in practicing the present invention, the controller 30 is programmed as will be discussed to cause the lens washer system 20 to be automatically operated so that the pump will discharge fluid through the nozzle 28 each time that the vehicle ignition is turned on. Such cycling of the washer fluid against the lens surface tends to remove road dirt buildup from the previous vehicle driving cycle.

    [0033] However, in certain cases, the road dirt buildup can exceed the ability of a one time cleaning cycle each time the vehicle ignition is turned on.

    [0034] Thus, in the embodiment of Figure 1, the controller 30 is connected to a photometric sensor 32 that is integrated into each of the headlamps 12 and operably connected to the controller 30. The photometric sensor 32 will determine the level of light that is reflected back from excessive road dirt buildup that cannot be removed by a single washer cycle produced on vehicle ignition. As long as road dirt build up is detected by the sensor 32, the controller 30 will produce a signal to the pump driver 25 in a predetermined number of separate washer cycles or in a continuous spray pattern until the road dirt buildup is removed or until the controller 30 detects an excessive number of washer cycles (due to factors such as pump failure or too low cleaning fluid) at which point a signal can be generated to indicate the need for a system check.

    [0035] In the embodiment of the invention shown in Figure 2 common components are identified with the same reference numeral as in the Figure 1 embodiment. The difference in this embodiment is that the lens washer system 20' has a retractable nozzle assembly 40 that can be positioned between a retracted position within the vehicle body as shown diagrammatically at 40a within a vehicle bumper fascia 42 and an extended position wherein the outlet of a nozzle 44 on the nozzle assembly 40 is located approximately 20 mm in front of the outer face of the lens 18' so that a low pressure pump having a discharge pressure of 40-60 psi that will be effective at such a proximate location for removing road dirt from the lens without the need for an expensive high pressure fluid source.

    [0036] While the embodiment of Figure 2 can be operated by the control components shown in the Figure 1 embodiment, in the Figure 2 embodiment, an infra-red sensor 46 is located exteriorly of the lens so that as the road dirt buildup increases less light energy will be directed from the light source 16' such that at a predetermined reduction the sensor 46 will produce a signal that will be converted by the controller 30' to initiate a washer operation to remove the excessive road dirt buildup that cannot be removed by a single washer cycle produced on vehicle ignition. As long as road dirt build up is detected by the sensor 46, the controller 48 will produce a signal to the pump driver 25' in a predetermined number of separate washer cycles or in a continuous spray pattern until the road dirt buildup is removed.

    [0037] A further feature of the present invention is shown in Figure 3 including the same parts as in the prior Figure 1 embodiment with the same reference numeral double primed. A wiper system 50 is provided that is operative to cause a wiper to be drawn over the headlamp lens 18" surface each time that the washer system 20" is turned on by controls corresponding to those previously described. The wiper system 50 includes a carrier 52 for a wiper blade 54. The carrier 52 is connected to a drive unit 56 operably connected to the controller 30". In the Figure 3 embodiment, cleaning fluid is provided by a washer system 20" with components like those in the embodiment of Figure 1.

    [0038] In Figure 4 a road dirt monitor system 60 is shown on an instrument panel 62. It indicates the status of the road dirt buildup by directing a signal from the controller 30 to a light emitting diode or other display 64 that will indicate the percentage of road dirt removal following each automatic cycle of the washer system 20.

    [0039] The embodiments in Figures 1-5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 all embody an accurate low cost road lens dirt build-up detection system that is easily integrated into a HID headlamp housing arrangement or in other headlamp assemblies including a light source and a covering lens.

    [0040] In the embodiment of Figure 6, a sensor 60 is arranged to detect light scattering internally of an HID headlamp lens 62. Grime or dirt on the front surface of lens 62 reduces output light that is scattered/reflected back towards sensor, increasing its output signal.

    [0041] More specifically, in the embodiment of Figure 7, a lens dirt build-up detection system 70 is shown in association with an HID headlamp 72 with a lens 73, a light source 75 and a housing 77. The detection system 70 includes a controller 74 like those described in the embodiment of Figures 1-5. In this embodiment a sensor is provided as a photodiode 76 located within a tube 78 that is integrated into the lamp housing 77 such that the photodiode 76 will detect light scattering internally of the lens 73.

    [0042] In the embodiment of Figure 8, a lens dirt build-up detection system 80 is shown associated with a HID headlamp 82 like that in the preceding embodiment. In this embodiment the headlamp lens 84 and housing 86 are heated to different temperatures depending upon the amount of road dirt on the lens. The temperature of the headlamp 82 is detected by an infra-red sensor 88 that signal a microcomputer 85 to produce a washer activation signal when the temperature increase in the HID lamp caused by light not passing through the lens is detected. In such systems, the headlamp 82 needs to reach a steady state temperature in order to obtain reliable operation. The increased temperature due to a dirty lens is compared to a reference value in a suitable lookup table in the microcomputer 85.

    [0043] In the embodiment of Figure 9, a lens dirt build-up detection system 90 is associated with an HID headlamp 92 including a lens 93, a housing 95 and a light source 97. In this embodiment a sensor is provided as a layer of light transparent, electrically resistive material 94 either with an integrated circuit 96 or without located on the inner surface 98 of the lens 93. The resistance of the material 94 varies in accordance with the temperature changes in the lens due to light not passing through the lens to provide an input signal to a control circuit 99 for initiating a headlamp washer sequence when the lens 93 is dirty.

    [0044] In the embodiment of Figure 10, a lens dirt build-up detection system 100 with a controller 101 is associated with an HID headlamp 102 including a lens 103, a housing 105 and a light source 107. In this embodiment wherein the sensor is an infrared sensor 108, 108' arranged inside or outside the lens of a HID lamp to detect the variability of the I/R emissivity of the lens surface 103a or 103b depending upon the location of the sensors 108, 108' as caused by the build-up of dirt deposits thereon. The sensor signal is processed by controller 101 to produce a washer activation output.

    [0045] Figure 11 shows a lens dirt build-up detection system 110 with a controller 111 that is associated with an HID headlamp 112 including a lens 113, a housing 115 and a light source 117. In this embodiment sensors 114, 114' such as, laser diodes, IR photodiodes, spectral type, UV fluorescence type, are arranged to detect the emissions in a plane P perpendicular to the light source for detecting the light scatter across the lens between at the peripheral edge 118 of the lens 113 as the road dirt builds and wherein either the light source 117 or a separate light source 117' is used for emission/baseline as sensed by sensors 114, 114'. The signals from sensors 114, 114' are compared and processed by controller 111 to produce a washer activation output.

    [0046] Figure 12 shows a lens dirt build-up detection system 120 with a controller 121 that is associated with an HID headlamp 122 including a lens 123, a housing 125 and a light source 127. In this embodiment a sensor 124, 124' (either a photodiode, IR sensor or other light sensitive device) is arranged to detect light coming through the lens 123 wherein the light is provided by a separate light source 126 or 128, respectively arranged either above or below the lens 123. When sensors 124, 124' detect less light, the signal therefrom is processed by controller 121 to produce washer activation output.

    [0047] In Figure 13 a lens dirt build-up detection system 130 with a controller 131 is associated with an HID headlamp 132 including a lens 133, a housing 135 and a light source 137. In this embodiment, a sensor 134, 134' is provided as shown in the preceding object but in this embodiment the light source is provided by the HID lamp source 137. The lamp lens is shaped at 138 to focus the light from the lamp source 137 for better reference than a general lens light scatter or is configured at 138' to provide a filter of the light from the source 137 for such improved reference. When sensors 134, 134' detect less light, the signal therefrom is processed by controller 131 to produce a washer activation output.

    [0048] In Figure 14 a lens dirt build-up detection system 140 with a controller 141 is associated with an HID headlamp 142 including a lens 144, a housing 145 and a light source 146. In this embodiment, sensors are an array 148, 148' of individual sensors integrated into the lens and arranged to detect a spatial non-uniformity in light detection across the array indicative of a dirty lens requiring cleaning action. Such spatial arrays reduce false readings and can be configured to increase sensor sensitivity. When sensors 148, 148' detect less light, the signal therefrom is processed by controller 141 to produce a washer activation output. If array 148, 148' is inside, a separate source may/may not be required. Alternatively, one array 148 can be inside and one array 148' can be outside to produce a differential signal between clean and dirty to monitor output of the headlamp (and thus the level of dirt buildup).

    [0049] Figure 15 shows a lens dirt build-up detection system 150 that includes the controller and washer of Figure 14. The system 150 is associated with an HID headlamp 152 including a lens 154, a housing 155 and a light source 156. In this embodiment a sensor is arranged as an array 158 of individual sensors integrated into the lens and arranged to provide a spectral analysis of light that if a narrow band monitoring only two absorption lines indicative of a dirty lens requiring cleaning action. The sensor array 158 is tuned to monitor only either a narrow absorption and/or emission lines of the headlamp light source 156. The array 158 can be a layer thin film or filtered multiple sensitivity sensors.

    [0050] Figure 16 shows a lens dirt build-up detection system 160 that is associated with an HID headlamp 162 including a lens 164, a housing 165 and a light source 166. A still further object of the invention is to provide a headlamp washer system 168 with a washer fluid spray nozzle 170 having a sensor package 172 including a photodiode 173 or other suitable light sensitive device located on one side of a sensor lens 174. A light source 176 is included in the sensor package 172 to illuminate the lens 174. The sensor package is integrated with the nozzle 170 so that the washer system 168 and detection system 160 can be assembled on a vehicle as a single module that is arranged for detecting the build-up of dirt on the nozzle for providing a signal to a control system 178 to initiate a headlamp washer spray sequence for removing the dirt buildup from the outer surface of the lens 164. In the illustrated embodiment the amount of dirt buildup on the sensor 172 will approximate the dirt buildup on the lens due to the disposition of the sensor in a location such that its covering surface will of possible headlamp lens dirt build-up to initiate a lens cleaning action by the washer system. It will be cleaned by a secondary discharge from the spray nozzle 170 at the same time the lens 164 is cleaned.

    [0051] The controller 30, 30' 30" (etc.) is a microcomputer. A suitable flow chart of the control is set-forth in Figure 5 as follows: initializing the controller (60); once initialized the control sequence includes detecting vehicle ignition (62). If the vehicle ignition is on, the method includes cleaning cycles (64); road dirt is checked following each of the cleaning cycles (66); if the lens is clean, periodically repeat detection cycles.

    [0052] Further, while various of the embodiments are applicable especially for high temperature HID type headlamps, it should be understood that the application of the sensor/cleaning systems herein have use in other headlamp applications, including those with tungsten halogen bulbs and sealed beam resistance filament headlamps.

    [0053] The disclosed embodiments are representative of presently preferred embodiments but are intended to be illustrative rather than definitive thereof. The invention is defined in the claims.


    Claims

    1. A headlamp cleaning system having a headlamp (12, 12', 12", 72, 82, 92, 102, 112, 122, 132, 142, 152, 162) with a housing (14, 14', 14", 77, 86, 95, 105, 115, 125, 145, 155, 165), a source of light (16, 16', 16", 75, 97, 107, 117, 127, 137, 146, 156, 166) and a covering lens (18, 18', 18", 62, 73, 84, 93, 103, 113, 123, 133, 144, 154, 164) and a lens washer system (20, 20', 20'', 168) including a source of fluid (22), a pump (24) for the fluid and a nozzle (28, 170) for distributing the fluid against the lens for removing dirt build-up, further comprising a sensor (32, 46, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160) for sensing dirt build-up on said lens, characterized by:

    said lens being formed from a polymer and the system further comprising a control system (30, 30', 30", 74, 85, 99, 101, 111, 121, 131, 141) for energizing said pump during a cleaning cycle for distributing washer fluid against said lens each time that the vehicle ignition is turned on and wherein said control system continues the cleaning cycle until said dirt is removed from said lens following the indication of the dirt build-up sensor.


     
    2. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 1 wherein said sys tem includes a monitor (60) responsive to a signal from the control system for providing an indication of the status of the dirt build-up on an instrument panel (62).
     
    3. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 1 wherein said sensor (32, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150) is integrated into the headlamp.
     
    4. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 1 wherein said sensor (160) is integrated into said lens washer system (168).
     
    5. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 3 wherein said sensor (32) is a photometric cell.
     
    6. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 3 wherein said sensor (46) is an infrared sensor.
     
    7. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 1 characterized by having a headlamp housing (77) for said lens (73), said control system (74) including a lens dirt build-up detection system integrated into said headlamp housing (77).
     
    8. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 7 characterized by having a sensor (76) and a tube (78), said sensor including a photodiode (76) located within said tube (78); said tube (78) integrated into said lamp housing (77) such that said photodiode (76) will detect light scattering internally of said lens (73).
     
    9. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 1 wherein said control system (85) includes an infrared sensor (88) that is arranged to sense the temperature increase in the HID lamp (82) caused by light not passing through the lens (84).
     
    10. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 1 wherein said control system (99) includes a layer (94) of transparent electrically resistive material located on the inner surface of said lens (93) and is operative when the temperature changes in the lens (93) due to light not passing through the lens (93) and is detected by a change in the resistance of the material (94).
     
    11. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 1 wherein said control system includes an infrared sensor (108, 108') arranged outside the lens (103) to detect the variability of the I/R emissivity of the lens surface caused by the build-up of dirt deposits thereon.
     
    12. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 1 wherein said lens (113) has a peripheral edge (118), said control system (111) including sensors (114, 114') configured to detect the emissions in a plane perpendicular to a source of light (117, 117') for detecting changes in the light scatter to said peripheral edge (118) of said lens (113) due to road dirt build-up thereon.
     
    13. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 12 wherein said source of light (117) is the source of light of the headlamp (112) and is used as an emission/baseline.
     
    14. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 12 including a separate source of light (117'), said separate source of light (117') being used as an emission/baseline.
     
    15. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 1 wherein said control, system (121) includes a sensor (124, 124') and a separate light source (126, 128), said sensor (124, 124') being arranged to detect light from said separate light source (126, 128) coming through said lens (123); said light source (126, 128) arranged either above or below said lens (123).
     
    16. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 1 wherein said control system (131) includes a sensor (134, 134') and said light source is an HID lamp (137); said lamp lens (133) being shaped to focus or to filter the light from the light source (137) in the vicinity of the sensor (134, 134').
     
    17. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 1 wherein said control system includes a sensor (148, 148') said sensor including an array of elements integrated into said lens (144) and arranged to detect a spatial non-uniformity in light detection across said elements indicative of a dirty lens requiring cleaning action.
     
    18. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 17 wherein said array of elements are operative to provide a spectral analysis of light as a narrow band monitoring of absorption lines indicative of a dirty lens requiring cleaning action.
     
    19. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 1 wherein said control system includes a washer fluid spray nozzle (170) having a sensor (172) integrated therein for detecting the build-up of dirt on the nozzle (170) for providing a signal of possible headlamp lens dirt build-up to initiate a lens cleaning action by the washer system (168).
     
    20. The headlamp cleaning system of claim 1 wherein said control system includes a sensor and said light source is an HID lamp; said lamp lens configured to provide a filter.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem mit einem Frontscheinwerfer (12, 12', 12", 72, 82, 92, 102, 112, 122, 132, 142, 152, 162) mit einem Gehäuse (14, 14', 14'', 77, 86, 95, 105, 115, 125, 145, 155, 165), einer Lichtquelle (16, 16', 16'', 75, 97, 107, 117, 127, 137, 146, 156, 166) und einer Abdecklinse (18, 18', 18'', 62, 73, 84, 93, 103, 113, 123, 133, 144, 154, 164) und einem Linsenwaschsystem (20, 20', 20'', 168) einschließlich einer Flüssigkeitsquelle (22), einer Pumpe (24) für das Fluid und einer Düse (28, 170) zur Verteilung des Fluids gegen die Linse zwecks Schmutzentfernung, weiterhin umfassend einen Sensor (32, 46, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160) zur Detektion von Schmutzaufbau auf der Linse, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Linse aus einem Polymer besteht und dass das System weiterhin ein Steuersystem (30, 30', 30'', 74, 85, 99, 101, 111, 121, 131, 141) zur Betätigung der Pumpe während eines Reinigungszyklus zwecks Verteilung des Reinigungsfluids auf der Linse umfasst, jedes Mal wenn die Fahrzeugzündung eingeschaltet wird, wobei das Steuersystem den Reinigungszyklus in Abhängigkeit von der Anzeige des Schmutzsensors so lange fortsetzt, bis die Verschmutzung von der Linse entfernt ist.
     
    2. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das System eine Anzeige (60) auf einem Instrumentenpaneel (62) umfasst, die auf ein Signal von dem Steuersystem anspricht, um eine Anzeige des Verschmutzungszustands vorzusehen.
     
    3. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Sensor (32, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150) in den Frontscheinwerfer integriert ist.
     
    4. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Sensor (160) in das Linsenreinigungssystem (168) integriert ist.
     
    5. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 3, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Sensor (32) als Fotozelle ausgebildet ist.
     
    6. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 3, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Sensor (46) als Infrarotsensor ausgebildet ist.
     
    7. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass es ein Frontscheinwerfergehäuse (27) für die Linse (73) umfasst, dass das Steuersystem (74) ein System zur Detektion von Schmutzaufbau auf der Linse umfasst, das in das Frontscheinwerfergehäuse (27) integriert ist.
     
    8. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 7, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass es einen Sensor (76) und eine Röhre (78) umfasst, wobei der Sensor eine Fotodiode (76) umfasst, die innerhalb der Röhre (78) angeordnet ist, wobei die Röhre (78) in das Lampengehäuse (77) so integriert ist, dass die Fotodiode (76) das Streulicht im Inneren der Linse (73) erfasst.
     
    9. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Steuersystem (85) einen Infrarotsensor (88) umfasst, der so angeordnet ist, dass er einen Temperaturanstieg in der Hochdruckentladungslampe (82) erfasst, der durch das Licht hervorgerufen wird, das nicht durch die Linse (84) hindurchtritt.
     
    10. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Steuersystem (99) eine Schicht (94) eines transparenten elektrisch widerstandsfähigen Materials auf der inneren Fläche der Linse (93) umfasst und aktiviert wird, wenn sich die Temperatur der Linse (93) aufgrund des Lichts, welches nicht durch die Linse (93) hindurchtritt, ändert, was durch eine Widerstandsänderung des Materials (94) erfasst wird.
     
    11. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Steuersystem einen Infrarotsensor (108, 108') umfasst, der außerhalb der Linse (3) angeordnet ist, um die Veränderungen des Infrarotemissionsvermögens der Linsenoberfläche zu erfassen, die durch Schmutzablagerungen darauf verursacht werden.
     
    12. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Linse (113) eine randseitige Kante (118) umfasst, wobei das Steuersystem (111) Sensoren (114, 114') umfasst, die so ausgebildet sind, dass sie Streulichtemissionen in einer Ebene senkrecht zu der Lichtquelle (117, 117') erfassen, um Änderungen im Streulicht an der randseitigen Kante der Linse aufgrund von Aufbau des Straßenschmutzes darauf zu detektieren.
     
    13. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 12, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass als Lichtquelle (117) die Lichtquelle des Frontscheinwerfers (112) vorgesehen ist und diese als Emissionsbasislinie dient.
     
    14. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 12 umfassend eine separate Lichtquelle (117'), wobei die separate Lichtquelle (117') als Emissionsbasislinie Anwendung findet.
     
    15. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Steuersystem einen Sensor (124, 124') und eine separate Lichtquelle (126, 128) umfasst, wobei der Sensor (124, 124') so angeordnet ist, dass er das Licht von einer separaten Lichtquelle (126, 128), welches durch die Linse (123) hindurchtritt, erfasst, wobei die Lichtquelle (126, 128) entweder über oder unter der Linse (123) angeordnet ist.
     
    16. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Steuersystem (131) einen Sensor (134, 134') umfasst und dass die Lichtquelle als Hochdruckentladungslampe (137) ausgebildet ist, wobei die Linse (133) so geformt ist, dass sie das Licht von der Lichtquelle (137) in der Nähe des Sensors (134, 136') fokussiert oder filtert.
     
    17. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Steuersystem einen Sensor (148, 148') umfasst, wobei der Sensor ein Feld von Elementen umfasst, das in die Linse (144) integriert ist und zur Erfassung einer räumlichen Ungleichförmigkeit der Lichtaufnahme über die Elemente als Maß für eine eine Reinigung erfordernde Verschmutzung der Linse ausgebildet ist.
     
    18. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 17, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Feld von Elementen so wirkt, dass es eine Spektralanalyse des Lichts als schmales Band zur Überwachung der Absorptionslinien als Maß für eine eine Reinigung erfordernde Verschmutzung der Linse bereitstellt.
     
    19. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Steuersystem eine Waschflüssigkeitsdüse (170) mit einem darin integrierten Sensor (172) zur Erfassung von Schmutzaufbau auf der Düse (170) und zur Bereitstellung eines Signals möglichen Schmutzaufbaus auf der Frontscheinwerferlinse umfasst, um den Reinigungsvorgang durch das Reinigungssystem (168) zu initiieren.
     
    20. Frontscheinwerferreinigungssystem nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Steuersystem einen Sensor umfasst, und dass die Lichtquelle als Hochdruckentladungslampe ausgebildet ist, wobei die Linse als Filter ausgebildet ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant ayant un phare avant (12, 12', 12", 72, 82, 92, 102, 112, 122, 132, 142, 152, 162) avec un boîtier (14, 14', 14", 77, 86, 95, 105, 115, 125, 145, 155, 165), une source de lumière (16, 16', 16", 75, 97, 107, 117, 127, 137, 146, 156, 166) et une glace de protection (18, 18', 18", 62, 73, 84, 93, 103, 113, 123, 133, 144, 154, 164) et un système de lavage de glace (20, 20', 20", 168) incluant une source de liquide (22), une pompe (24) pour le liquide et une buse (28, 170) pour distribuer le liquide contre la glace afin d'éliminer l'accumulation de saleté, comprenant en outre un capteur (32, 46, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150, 160) pour détecter l'accumulation de saleté sur ladite glace, caractérisé par :

    ladite glace qui est formée à partir d'un polymère et le système comprenant en outre un système de commande (30, 30', 30", 74, 85, 99, 101, 111, 121, 131, 141) pour alimenter ladite pompe au cours d'un cycle de nettoyage pour distribuer le liquide de lavage contre ladite glace chaque fois que l'on met le contact du véhicule et dans lequel ledit système de commande continue le cycle de nettoyage jusqu'à ce que ladite saleté soit éliminée de ladite glace suite à l'indication du capteur d'accumulation de saleté.


     
    2. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit système inclut un dispositif de contrôle (60) répondant à un signal provenant du système de commande pour fournir une indication du statut de l'accumulation de saleté sur un tableau de bord (62).
     
    3. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit capteur (32, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150) est intégré dans le phare avant.
     
    4. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit capteur (160) est intégré dans ledit système de lavage de glace (168).
     
    5. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 3, dans lequel ledit capteur (32) est une cellule photométrique.
     
    6. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 3, dans lequel ledit capteur (46) est un capteur infrarouge.
     
    7. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 1, caractérisé par le fait d'avoir un boîtier de phare avant (77) pour ladite glace (73), ledit système de commande (74) incluant un système de détection d'accumulation de saleté sur la glace intégré dans ledit boîtier de phare avant (77).
     
    8. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 7, caractérisé par le fait d'avoir un capteur (76) et un tube (78), ledit capteur incluant une photodiode (76) placée à l'intérieur dudit tube (78) ; ledit tube (78) étant intégré dans ledit boîtier de phare (77), de telle sorte que ladite photodiode (76) détecte la diffusion de la lumière à l'intérieur de ladite glace (73).
     
    9. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit système de commande (85) inclut un capteur infrarouge (88) qui est agencé pour détecter la hausse de température dans le phare DHI (82) provoquée par la lumière qui ne traverse pas la glace (84).
     
    10. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit système de commande (99) inclut une couche (94) de matériau transparent électriquement résistif placée sur la surface intérieure de ladite glace (93) et qui fonctionne lorsque la température change dans la glace (93) en raison de la lumière qui ne traverse pas la glace (93) et est détectée par un changement dans la résistance du matériau (94).
     
    11. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit système de commande inclut un capteur infrarouge (108, 108') agencé à l'extérieur de la glace (103) pour détecter la variabilité de l'émissivité I/R de la surface de la glace provoquée par l'accumulation de dépôts de saleté sur celle-ci.
     
    12. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ladite glace (113) a un bord périphérique (118), ledit système de commande (111) incluant des capteurs (114, 114') configurés pour détecter les émissions dans un plan perpendiculaire à une source de lumière (117, 117') afin de détecter les changements dans la diffusion de la lumière au niveau dudit bord périphérique (118) de ladite glace (113) en raison d'une accumulation de saleté provenant de la route sur celle-ci.
     
    13. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 12, dans lequel ladite source de lumière (117) est la source de lumière du phare avant (112) et est utilisée en tant que ligne de base d'émission.
     
    14. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 12, incluant une source de lumière distincte (117'), ladite source de lumière distincte (117') étant utilisée en tant que ligne de base d'émission.
     
    15. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit système de commande (121) inclut un capteur (124, 124') et une source de lumière distincte (126, 128), ledit capteur (124, 124') étant agencé pour détecter la lumière provenant de ladite source de lumière distincte (126, 128) traversant ladite glace (123) ; ladite source de lumière (126, 128) étant agencée soit au-dessus, soit au-dessous de ladite glace (123).
     
    16. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit système de commande (131) inclut un capteur (134, 134') et ladite source de lumière est un phare DHI (137) ; ladite glace de phare (133) étant formée de manière à focaliser ou à filtrer la lumière provenant de la source de lumière (137) à proximité du capteur (134, 134').
     
    17. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit système de commande inclut un capteur (148, 148'), ledit capteur incluant un ensemble d'éléments intégrés dans ladite glace (144) et agencés afin de détecter une non-uniformité spatiale dans la détection de la lumière à travers lesdits éléments indiquant une glace sale nécessitant une action de nettoyage.
     
    18. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 17, dans lequel ledit ensemble d'éléments fonctionne pour fournir une analyse spectrale de la lumière en tant que surveillance à bande étroite de lignes d'absorption indiquant une glace sale nécessitant une action de nettoyage.
     
    19. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit système de commande inclut une buse de pulvérisation de liquide de lavage (170) ayant un capteur (172) intégré à l'intérieur de celle-ci pour détecter l'accumulation de saleté sur la buse (170) pour fournir un signal de possible accumulation de saleté sur la glace de phare avant afin d'initier une action de nettoyage de glace par le système de lavage (168).
     
    20. Système de nettoyage pour phare avant selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit système de commande inclut un capteur et ladite source de lumière est un phare DHI ; ladite glace de phare étant configurée pour réaliser un filtre.
     




    Drawing