The present invention relates generally to the field of vehicle seats and more particularly relates to a method for stowing second and third row automotive seats.
It is known to provide a vehicle seat, for example, an automotive seat having a reclining back. It is also known to provide a vehicle seat having a reclining back and an independently movable seat base. It is also known to provide a vehicle seat having a movable seat base that pivots to an upright position. It is also known to provide a vehicle seat that slides from one position to another position along tracks in the vehicle floor. From prior art US 6 152 533 A
there is known a method for stowing a seat of a vehicle to assume a stow flat configuration comprising the pulling of a stow lever to unlock a seat back of the seat from a design position into the stow flat position while stowing a seat cushion of the seat forward as the corresponding seat back rotates to the stow flat position, wherein the seat is sliding in seat tracks between a full forward position and a full rear position. A comparable seat is also known from WO 03/033296 A1
. Further, there are known methods from EP 0 841 210 A2
, US 5 68 355 A
, JP 07 172223 A
for stowing second and third row seats of the back seats of a vehicle to assume a stow flat configuration comprising the pulling of a stow lever to unlock a seat back of each seat from a design position into the stow flat position wherein the each of the seats are sliding in seat tracks between a forward position and a rear position allowing to close any gap between the second and third row seats.
Notwithstanding the known devices, there remains a significant need to develop a vehicle seat having a seat base and seat back which is capable of pivoting to a flat position to act as a load floor for cargo storage.
There is provided a method for facilitating stowing of second and third row seats according to the appended claim.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Fig. 1 is a partial side sectional view of a vehicle interior including an exemplary embodiment for stowing second and third row seats.
Fig. 2 is a partial perspective view of a vehicle with one seat in an easy-entry position.
Fig. 3 is a partial side sectional view of a vehicle interior including an exemplary embodiment with second and third row seats in a stowed position.
Fig. 4 is a partial perspective view of a second row seat in a design (seating) position.
Fig. 5 is a partial perspective view of a second row seat in a stow position.
Fig. 6 is a partial perspective view of a second row seat in an easy-entry position.
Fig. 7 is a partial perspective front aspect view of a user commencing to exit from a third row seat in a vehicle having a second row seat in an easy-entry position.
Fig. 8 is a partial perspective rear aspect view of a user commencing to enter a vehicle with a second row seat in an easy-entry position.
Fig. shows vehicle seats configured in a 60/40% seat structure.
Fig. 1 shows vehicle seats configured in a 40/40% seat structure.
Fig. 11 is a side view of a second row seat in a design (seating) position.
Fig. 12 is a side view of a second row seat in an easy-entry position and a third row seat in a design position.
Fig. 13 is a side view of an exemplary embodiment of second row and third row seats in a stowed position.
Figs. 14a-g are side views of a second row seat illustrating the motion of the seat from a design position (14a) to an easy-entry position (14g).
Fig. 15 is a perspective view of a vehicle seat configured in a 40% seat structure without cushions and illustrating a flip-forward mechanism and rear track engagement device.
Fig. 16 is a perspective view of a vehicle seat configured in a 60% seat structure without cushions and illustrating a flip-forward mechanism and rear track engagement device.
Fig. 17 is an illustration of seat tracks in the floor of a vehicle.
Fig. 18 is an illustration of a non-removable seat mounted in the seat tracks and illustrating the seat-to-track interface.
Fig. 19 is an illustration of the removable vehicle seat coupled to a seat track.
Fig. 20 is an illustration of a seat release handle to release the seat from a vehicle track.
Fig. 21 is an illustration of a vehicle seat coupled to a seat track and illustrating various seat manipulation controls.
Fig. 22 illustrates a removable seat attachment mechanism.
Fig. 23 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of vehicle seat floor attachment features with the vehicle seat removed.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS
Before beginning the detailed description of an exemplary embodiment, several general comments are warranted about the applicability and the scope of the present invention.
First, the illustrations relate to a seat (also can be referred to as a chair) particularly adapted for motor vehicles, such as cars, SUVs, vans, trucks, buses and the like, but the invention is applicable also to seating used in aircraft, railroad vehicles, nautical vehicles or other environments. The illustrated seat is a back seat of a van or SUV and is also referred to as a stadium seat. The seat typically is located in the second and third rows of a vehicle. The seat may be configured as a bucket seat, split seat or a bench-type seat. The seat can be configured to a 20%, 40% or 60% seat structure.
Second, the seat of the present invention is illustrated in the Figures as a padded seat having certain contours, trim and the like. While this configuration is presently preferred, a wide variety of seat configurations and appearances will benefit from use of the mechanical support and movement mechanisms. Also the exterior of the seat can be covered by fabric, vinyl, leather or other materials known and used in the seating art.
Third, with regard to the seat described later herein, substantial modifications can be made as long as they remain within the invention's intended scope. For example, while certain mechanical systems are described to move seat components to achieve certain results, other mechanisms, manual or powered could be substituted therefore. For example, where a screw drive is used in moving the thorax pivot location, other mechanical equivalents including, but not limited to, four bar linkages, air or hydraulic cylinders, air bladders, rack and pinion systems, cams and cables, gears, etc. could be employed. They could be replaced by other known or subsequently developed support mechanisms. These mechanisms do not, in and of themselves, form part of the present invention, but when combined with the other pivot, support, rotation and moving mechanisms define the invention and result in more comfortable seating for the occupant.
Referring generally to the Figures there is shown a vehicle seat 10 for use in a vehicle 5 of any known type. The vehicle seat 10 includes a seat cushion frame 12 which supports a cushioned seat 14 and a seat back frame 16 supporting a seat back 18. Seat cushion frame 12 and seat back frame 16 are independently pivotally connected to a seat bracket 20 (See Figs. 15 and 16). The seat 10 can be either a manually adjustable seat or may be provided with electric motors to provide automated adjustment and electronic control of the seat. Such manipulation can be accomplished by the use of a change of position mechanism coupled to the seat back frame 16 and seat cushion frame 12. It is also contemplated that two separate mechanisms may be used to provide flexibility in seat configuration. The change of position mechanism may provide for the seat back frame 16 to move in proportional relation to the seat cushion frame 12 at a predetermined ratio. The seat 10 is connected to the vehicle floor 6 of a vehicle 5 in any of a variety of configurations or designs which allow for the movement and adjustment of the seat 10 within the vehicle 5 for example, seat tracks 22 as illustrated in Figs. 2, 4-6, 9-10, and 17-21 can be utilized. The vehicle seat 10 may optionally include a headrest which may also be adjustable with respect to an occupant of the seat 10 such as any known or appropriate headrest.
Referring to Figs. 7 and 8, a user can exit the vehicle as shown in Fig. 7 or enter the vehicle as shown in Fig. 8 by activating the vehicle stadium/slide seat system 11. Figs. 14a through 14g illustrate the movement of the second row 30 seat 10 from the design position 34 to the easy-entry position 38. The user rotates or pulls the easy-entry lever 52 located on the side of the seat 10 and lifting the seat cushion 14 upward. It should be understood that a biasing device or a motorized device can facilitate such seat cushion 14 movement. The seat cushion 14 and seat cushion frame 12 unlatches and rotates forward. The seat back 18 and seat back frame 16 will articulate forward at approximately the same time as the seat cushion 14 is moving. In an example of a vehicle stadium/slide seat system 11, the seat back 18 will articulate approximately 200 mm. The complete seat 10 can then be slid forward in the seat track 22 towards the front of the vehicle 5 to the easy-entry position 38. Examples of the vehicle stadium/slide seat system 11 can provide for the seat 10 forward movement of approximately 200 to 400 mm of total travel distance.
To return the stadium seat 10 to its design position 34, the user will grasp the release handle 54 to relocate the seat 10 from the full forward position and pull rearward. The seat cushion 14 will return to its design position 34 and the rear track engagement device 42 of the seat 10 will relatch in the seat track 22 in the full forward seating position.
An occupant in the third row seats 32 can activate the stadium seat 10 in the second row 30 by reaching to the side of the seat 10 and rotating the easy-entry lever 52 as described above and push the seat 10 forward to the easy-entry position 38.
The movement of the stadium seat 10 as described above is facilitated by a flip-forward mechanism 40 which is coupled to a seat bracket 20. A flip-forward mechanism 40 is mounted on each side of the seat 10. (See. Figs. 9, 10 and 15, 16.) A rear track engagement device 42 is coupled to the flip-forward mechanism 40 and engages the seat track 22. During the movement of the seat 10 from the design position 34 to the easy-entry position 38, the rear track engagement device 42 releases from the seat track 22 which allows the seat back 18 to articulate forward as described above. In the movement from the easy-entry position 38 back to the design position 34 as described above, the rear track engagement device 42 will re-engage with the track 22. Additional features of the seat track 22 and seat 10 interface are illustrated in Figs. 17-23.
Another feature of the vehicle stadium/slide seat system 11 is the ability of the second and third row seats 30, 32 to assume a stow flat configuration 36. To activate the stow flat position 36, a stow lever 50 is pulled to unlock the seat back 18 and rotate the seat back 18 forward as shown in Figs. 3, 5 and 13. The seat cushion 14 will stow forward as the seat back 18 rotates to a down position as shown in Figs. 3, 5 and 13. Such operation is performed on the seats of the second row 30 and the third row seats 32 as shown in Fig. 3. The second row seat 30 can be pushed back to a full rear position to close any gap between the second row 30 and third row seats 32. It should be noted by sliding the second row seat 30 to the most rearward position eliminates the need of a flipper panel between the second and third row seats.
To position the seats 10 from a stowed flat position 36 to the design position 34, the stow lever 50 is pulled to unlock the seat back 18 from the down position and lift the seat back 18 up. The seat cushion 14 will return to the seating or design position 34. The seat 10 can then be moved along the seat track 22 fore or aft as desired by an occupant.
For purposes of this disclosure, the term "coupled" means the joining of two components (electrical or mechanical) directly or indirectly to one another. Such joining may be stationary in nature or movable in nature. Such joining may be achieved with the two components (electrical or mechanical) and any additional intermediate members being integrally formed as a single unitary body with one another or with the two components or the two components and any additional member being attached to one another. Such joining may be permanent in nature or alternatively may be removable or releasable in nature
Although the claimed invention has been described in some detail, it should be understood that various changes, substitutions and alterations can be made to the embodiment as long as they remain within the scope of the appended claim.