(19)
(11)EP 2 988 970 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
01.04.2020 Bulletin 2020/14

(21)Application number: 14724619.3

(22)Date of filing:  18.04.2014
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B60N 2/38  (2006.01)
B60N 2/39  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2014/034664
(87)International publication number:
WO 2014/176130 (30.10.2014 Gazette  2014/44)

(54)

SEAT SYSTEM FOR A VEHICLE

SITZSYSTEM FÜR EIN FAHRZEUG

SYSTÈME DE SIÈGE POUR VÉHICULE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 23.04.2013 US 201313868741

(43)Date of publication of application:
02.03.2016 Bulletin 2016/09

(73)Proprietor: ClearMotion Acquisition I LLC
Billerica, MA 01821 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • PARKER, Robert Preston
    Framingham, Massachusetts 01701-9168 (US)
  • KNOX, Lawrence D.
    Framingham, Massachusetts 01701-9168 (US)
  • HEIN, Travis Lee
    Framingham, Massachusetts 01701-9168 (US)
  • BROWN, Steven N.
    Framingham, Massachusetts 01701-9168 (US)
  • SELDEN, Brian A.
    Framingham, Massachusetts 01701-9168 (US)

(74)Representative: Hoffmann Eitle 
Patent- und Rechtsanwälte PartmbB Arabellastraße 30
81925 München
81925 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2007/058572
DE-A1- 19 915 003
DE-A1- 4 115 639
  
      
    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

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] This disclosure relates to a seat system for a vehicle. In an X, Y, Z coordinate system, a person can be subject to motion in six degrees of freedom. These degrees of freedom include rotation about the X, Y and Z axes, and translation substantially parallel to each of these axes. When traveling in a vehicle such as a farm tractor or a car, a person can be quite sensitive to vehicle rotations about roll and pitch axes. As such, passengers in vehicles with relatively stiff suspensions (e.g. farm tractors, sports cars) can be made uncomfortable when the vehicle starts rocking side-to-side and/or pitching back and forth due to an uneven surface over which the vehicle is traveling.

    [0002] U.S. Patent 5,857,535 discloses a low aspect self-propelled vehicle (1) operated by a driver (4) sitting on top of it, has its seat (7) supported from beneath by a flange (12) which is pivoted to tilt about a horizontal axis (15) in the mid-vertical plane of the vehicle. The spacing between the axis (15) and the seat (7) is sufficient to ensure that when the seat is tilted about the axis by operation of a tilt control mechanism (21), the center of seat also displaces a significant extent in the uphill direction of the slope. This reduces the downhill movement of the center-of-gravity (10) of the combination of vehicle plus driver, so that the risk of the vehicle toppling is reduced.
    DE 4115639 A1 relates to an ambulance for transporting a seriously injured person lying on a stretcher, the stretcher can be detachably secured to a bearing frame in the body of the ambulance which allows defined orientations of the stretcher to be adjusted during the drive. Depending on output signals characteristic of the position of the vehicle in space emitted by a sensor which continuously detects the instantaneous orientation of the longitudinal axis of the vehicle and of its transverse axis with respect to a direction fixed in space, a position regulator continuously stabilizes a predeterminable selectable orientation of the stretcher by controlling a X-Y steering system which determines the position of the bearing frame of the stretcher in the vehicle. This position regulator is designed in the same way as the stabilizing system of a tank cannon and by inclining the stretcher, it also compensates centrifugal forces acting on the stretcher.

    SUMMARY



    [0003] In one aspect, a seat system for a vehicle includes the features of claim 1.

    [0004] Embodiments may include one or more of the following features. The motion of the vehicle relative to earth is a rotation of the vehicle about an axis. The virtual pivot point is located above the axis about which the vehicle is rotating. The virtual pivot point is located above a floor of the vehicle. The virtual pivot point is located above a level where relative motion of the seat with respect to the vehicle occurs. The virtual pivot point is located about 2-3 feet above a surface of the seat bottom on which the person can sit. The seat is pivotally connected to the vehicle at or near a floor of the vehicle. The actuator causes the seat to rotate about a second axis in an opposite sense relative to the rotation of the vehicle about the first axis. The seat is able to rotate about a second axis which is non-intersecting with a horizontal plane. The second axis is substantially parallel to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. The second axis is substantially perpendicular to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. The seat system can further include a second actuator. The seat is able to rotate about a third axis which is non-intersecting with the horizontal plane. The first and second actuators are able to cause the seat to rotate about the second and third axes.

    [0005] Embodiments may also include one or more of the following features. The second axis is substantially parallel to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. The third axis is substantially perpendicular to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. The second and third axes are substantially orthogonal to each other. The seat is able to translate substantially parallel to a second axis which is non-intersecting with a horizontal plane. The second axis is substantially parallel to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. The second axis is substantially perpendicular to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. The seat system further includes a second actuator. The seat is able to translate substantially parallel to a third axis which is non-intersecting with the horizontal plane. The first and second actuators are able to cause the seat to translate substantially parallel to the second and third axes. The second axis is substantially parallel to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. The third axis is substantially perpendicular to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. The one or more sensors include a sensor for detecting a roll rate of the vehicle about the first axis which is substantially parallel to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. The one or more sensors includes a sensor for detecting a roll rate of the seat about a second axis which is substantially parallel to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line. The one or more sensors includes a sensor for detecting a lateral acceleration in a direction that is substantially perpendicular to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line and non-intersecting with the horizontal plane. The lateral acceleration sensor detects the lateral acceleration of the seat. The lateral acceleration sensor detects the lateral acceleration of the vehicle.

    [0006] In a further aspect, a method of controlling motion of a person relative to a vehicle in which the person is located includes providing a seat with a seat bottom on which the person can sit. Motion of the vehicle relative to earth is a rotation of the vehicle about an axis. A first imaginary reference vertical centerline passes through a body of the person who is sitting in the seat when both the seat and the vehicle are in a nominal, level horizontal orientation. The seat is secured to the vehicle. An aspect of motion is measured with one or more sensors. A processor is operated to (i) receive input from each of the one or more sensors, and (ii) utilize the input to determine a desired movement of a first portion of the vehicle relative to a second portion of the vehicle such that a combined motion of the second portion of the vehicle relative to the first portion of the vehicle and the first portion of the vehicle relative to earth results in motion of the person about a virtual pivot point located substantially along the reference vertical centerline.

    [0007] Embodiments may include any of the above features and/or the following. An intermediate support structure is secured to the seat and the second portion of the vehicle which allows the seat to move relative to the second portion of the vehicle. A first actuator is connected between the seat and the second portion of the vehicle which can be operated to cause the seat to move relative to the second portion of the vehicle. The second portion of the vehicle includes a cab of the vehicle. The seat is able to be moved relative to the cab. The cab is able to be moved relative to the first portion of the vehicle.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0008] 

    Fig. 1A is front view of a tractor;

    Fig. 1B shows the tractor of Fig. 1 in a tilted orientation;

    Fig. 2 is a perspective view of a seat used in the tractor of Fig. 1A;

    Fig. 3 is a front view of the seat of Fig. 2 secured to a floor of the tractor of Fig. 1A;

    Fig. 4 is a front view of another example of a seat system;

    Fig. 5 is a modification of the seat of Fig. 4;

    Fig. 6 is a perspective view of another example of a seat system in which the seat can be rotated about two axes;

    Fig. 7 is a perspective view of another example of a seat system in which the seat can be translated substantially parallel to a first axis;

    Fig. 8 is similar to Fig. 1B except that the seat system of Fig. 7 is shown in place of the seat system in Fig. 1B;

    Fig. 9 is a perspective view of another example of a seat system in which the seat can be translated substantially parallel to a second axis;

    Fig. 10 is a perspective view of another example of a seat system in which the seat can be translated substantially parallel to two axes; and

    Fig. 11 is a plot of frequency versus a magnitude of the sensitivity of a human to lateral accelerations.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0009] The description below relates to a seat system for a vehicle. When a vehicle is rocked from side-to-side and/or fore/aft due to a disturbance in the road surface, the driver of the vehicle also experiences this motion. With the seat system discussed below, when the vehicle is rocked in one direction, the seat is rotated or translated relative to the vehicle in the opposite direction. As a result, acceleration of the driver's head in a horizontal direction is substantially reduced which results in a more pleasing driving experience for the driver.

    [0010] Turning to Fig. 1A, a vehicle 10 in the form of a tractor is shown driving in a straight line on a substantially level road surface. Not all portions of the vehicle are shown in order to facilitate this description. A person 12 is sitting on a bottom 14 of a seat 16 which is part of a seat system that will be described in further detail below. The person is sitting in a substantially vertical orientation along an imaginary reference vertical centerline 17 which passes through the body of the person 12 who is sitting in the seat 16 and an axis 22 (explained further below). In this example the vertical centerline 17 bisects the person 12 and seat 16 when both the seat and the vehicle are in a nominal, level horizontal orientation as shown in Fig. 1. This is because the seat system is substantially symmetrical as viewed in Fig. 1A. In other types of vehicles the seat system may be located to the left or right of the vertical centerline 17.

    [0011] An intermediate support structure 18 is secured to the seat 16 and to a floor 20 of the vehicle 10 (structure 18 may be considered part of the seat 16). The intermediate support structure 18 allows the seat 16 to move/rotate relative to the vehicle about an axis 22 which is substantially parallel to a direction in which the vehicle 10 is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line(if the seat 16 can be rotated so that it is not facing forward, the axis 22 may be skewed relative to this direction). In this example the axis 22 is closer to the floor 20 than to the seat bottom 14, and is preferably non-intersecting with a horizontal plane. The axis 22 can be located lower or higher than shown, but the seat 16 is preferably connected to the vehicle 10 at or near the floor 20. The axis 22 is fixed relative to the vehicle 10. Factors such as the distance it is desired to move the person's head about the axis 22, and sway space requirements (interference between seat parts and other portions of a vehicle cab 11 as the seat rotates) can be considered in choosing the height of axis 22 above the floor 20. The vehicle 10 can roll about an axis 24 which is substantially parallel with the axis 22.

    [0012] In an alternative example, an asymmetrical seat system may be used. This can occur if, for example, a relatively large user interface for controlling the vehicle is mounted on one of two arm rests of the seat system (e.g. as on some farm tractors). In order to balance the seat over the axis 22, the seat 16 (including the seat bottom 14) will be offset relative to the support structure 18. For example, as viewed in Fig. 1A, if the user interface is mounted on the left armrest, the seat 16 will be mounted to the support structure 18 in an offset position to the right of center so that the seat system is balanced over the axis 22. It is preferred that the vertical centerline 17 passes through the axis 22 and the center of gravity of the seat 16 when the vehicle 10 is oriented as shown in Fig. 1A. As such, with an asymmetrical seat system (e.g. the seat is offset to the right as viewed in Fig. 1A to offset the weight of a large user interface on the left armrest of the seat), the vertical centerline 17 may pass through a different portion of the body of the person 12 (e.g. through the left ear of the person 12 as viewed in Fig. 1A).

    [0013] A distance L1 represents the length between the axis 22 and the axis 24. A distance L2 represents the length between the axis 22 and a center of a head 26 of the driver 12. The distance L2 is preferably assumed to be associated with a human being of above average height who is sitting in the seat 16 as opposed to setting L2 to be associated with a human being of average or below average height who is sitting in the seat 16. Preferably, the top end of L2 will reside at or above a position associated with a person's head who is sitting in the seat. It is preferred that L2 will be in the range of about 3-5 feet.

    [0014] Referring to Fig. 1B, the left tires 28 of the vehicle 10 have hit obstacles 30 while the vehicle travels in a straight line which causes the vehicle to move relative to earth (the surface over which the vehicle is traveling). As a result, the vehicle 10 has rotated counter-clockwise (when viewed from the front here and in like descriptions below) about the bottom of the right tires of the vehicle. Rotation about an axis 24 is an acceptable small angle approximation for the rotation of the vehicle 10 about the bottom of the right tires and is used for symmetry reasons. The vehicle 10 has approximately rotated by an angle θ1 which is the angle between the vertical centerline 17 and a vehicle centerline 29. If the seat 16 is not secured in the center of the vehicle 10 as in Fig 1A (meaning the seat is positioned to one side or the other of center), then θ1 is determined by the rotation of the vehicle centerline 29 from the nominal position in Fig 1A to a rotated position (e.g. in Fig. 1B). As the vehicle rotates counter-clockwise, the seat is automatically rotated clockwise (in the opposite direction to the roll of the vehicle) by an actuator (discussed in further detail below) about the axis 22 by an angle θ2 which is the angle between the vehicle centerline 29 and a seat centerline 31. The actuator causes the seat 16 to rotate about the axis 22 (pivot point) in an opposite sense relative to the rotation of the vehicle. Rotation of the seat 16 about the axis 22 in Fig. 1B is clockwise for a counterclockwise rotation of the vehicle 10 (e.g. about the axis 24). More details of how the seat is automatically rotated will be provided below.

    [0015] The angle θ2 is calculated as follows by the processor: θ2 = θ1 x (1 + L1/L2). This equation shows why locating the axis 22 close to the floor 20 is preferable. If L1 increases relative to L2 (the axis 22 is moved up away from the floor 20), θ2 increases. This means the seat 16 would have to be rotated through a larger angle to compensate for a fixed amount of vehicle roll as the axis 22 is moved up. This equation also shows that in this example θ2 will always be more than insubstantially larger than θ1. As a result, the person 12 is rotated about a position associated with their head 26 to substantially reduce or minimize side-to-side and/or front/back (discussed below) movement (i.e. acceleration in a horizontal direction) of the person's head. Preferably the head 26 remains substantially on the original vertical centerline 17. It should be noted that if the vehicle rotates through too large an angle (e.g. about axis 24), the seat may be rotated to its travel limit and not be able to rotate further to address the full angle of rotation of the vehicle. This would result in the head 26 of the person 12 not remaining on the vertical centerline 17. In an alternative example, the axis 22 can be located below the floor 20. A hole can be created in the floor, and the support structure 18 can be made longer in a vertical direction. This causes L1 to decrease and to L2 to increase, resulting in a relatively smaller θ2 (see the equation above).

    [0016] The person 12 has not just been rotated so that they remain in a vertical position: they have been rotated beyond a vertical position. In other words, a combined motion of the seat 16 relative to the vehicle 10 and the vehicle 10 rotating (e.g. about the axis 24) results in motion of the person 12 about a virtual pivot point 33 located substantially along the reference vertical centerline 17. The virtual pivot point 33 is the intersection of the reference vertical centerline 17 with the seat centerline 31 as the seat 16 is displaced in space relative to earth. The virtual pivot point 33 is located at least above the location of the axis 24 (the vehicle rotation center). Preferably, the virtual pivot point 33 is located above the floor 20 of the vehicle 10. Even more preferably, the virtual pivot point 33 is located above the axis 22 (or the level where relative translation of the seat 16 with respect to the vehicle 10 occurs). Still further preferably, the virtual pivot point 33 is located above a position of a torso of the person 12 (assuming this person is of nominal height) when seated in the seat. Yet further preferably, the virtual pivot point 33 is located at or above a position of a center of the head of the person 12 (assuming this person is of nominal height) when seated in the seat. Preferably the virtual pivot point is about 1-4 feet above a surface of the seat bottom 14 on which the person can sit. More preferably the virtual pivot point is about 2-3 feet above a surface of the seat bottom 14 on which the person can sit. In Fig. 1B the virtual pivot point 33 is located at approximately the center of the head of the person 12. Another way to describe the motion of the person 12 is that they are like a swinging pendulum with the center of their head being the pivot point. A third angle θ3 is the absolute angle of rotation of the seat off the vertical centerline 17 (more discussion is provided below relative to θ3).

    [0017] With reference to Fig. 2, the seat 16 is shown with its bottom 14 and a seat back 32 which is connected to the bottom 14. A pair of arms 34 extend forward from the seat back 32. An advantage of this seat system is that any impact of the arms 34 against a torso of the person 12 due to side-to-side rocking of the vehicle 10 will be substantially reduced (or minimized). A similar improvement will occur on the seat back whereby the lateral translation of the seat back relative to a person's back will also be substantially reduced. A linear actuator 36 is pivotally connected to the seat 16 (at a location 35) and can interact with the seat 16 to cause the seat 16 to rotate about the axis 22. In this example, the linear actuator 36 is also pivotally connected to the floor 20 of the vehicle 10 at a location 37. The linear actuator 36 is extended or retracted in the direction of a two-headed arrow 38 to cause the seat to rotate about the axis 22 in the direction of a two-headed arrow 40. The linear actuator 36 can be, for example, an electromagnetic linear motor, a hydraulic cylinder, or a pneumatic cylinder. The linear actuator 36 instead can be some other type of actuator such as a rotary actuator (electromagnetic, hydraulic, or pneumatically powered) that is coupled between the seat 16 and the floor 20. Any type of actuator can be directly coupled to the seat or it may act thru some type of gear train, linkages or other transmission mechanism. The actuator 36 can be connected to a different portion of the seat 16 and a different portion of the vehicle 10 (other than the floor 20, e.g. a wall of the driver compartment). Control of the actuator is discussed below.

    [0018] The seat 16 described above has only a single degree of freedom about the axis 22 (a roll axis) relative to the vehicle 10. This single degree of freedom could instead be about a pitch axis. In this case, the axis 22 is oriented side-to-side as viewed in Fig. 1A and allows the seat 16 to be controlled for backwards and forwards pitching. In another example, the seat 16 may be outfitted with one or more additional actuators (not shown) to provide movement of the seat in one or more additional degrees of freedom. For example, instead of mounting the intermediate support structure 18 to the floor 20, the intermediate support structure 18 can be mounted to a platform (not shown) which is moved up and down in the vertical direction by an additional actuator to reduce the vertical vibrations felt by the driver as the vehicle travels over a road (or this vertical actuator can be interposed between the structure 18 and the seat 16). An example of this type of vertical active suspension system is shown in US Patent 8,095,268 which is incorporated herein by reference. The vertical active suspension system can be operated independently of the rotating seat system (or the translating seat system described below). The L2 distance (Fig. 1) will vary with the motions associated with a vertical isolation mechanism. This effect can be included in the processor calculations based on inputs from a sensor which detects a distance between the platform and the floor 20. In addition, the vertical isolation system can be used to offset any potential raising or lowering of the head of the person 12 due to the combined rotation of the vehicle 10 (e.g. relative to the ground), and rotation of the seat 16 relative to the vehicle 10.

    [0019] Turning to Fig. 3, operation of the actuator 36 is controlled by a processor 42. A sensor 44 can measure an aspect of motion which in this example is a roll rate of the vehicle 10. The processor 42 receives input from the sensor 44 in the form of roll rate data via a bus 46. The processor 42 calculates the integral of the roll rate data to determine an instantaneous roll angle θ1 (Fig. 1). The processor then plugs θ1 into the equation given above in paragraph 29 along with L2 and L1, and calculates θ2. Next, the processor 42 uses a lookup table to determine the desired actuator position in order to achieve the calculated θ2. Note that the processor 42 receives position data from the actuator 36 via a bus 48. The position data is indicative of a position of the actuator which is correlated to a position of the seat about the axis 22. As such, the processor is informed of the current position (e.g. displacement) of the actuator. It should be noted that the particular control law used by the processor to control θ2 is not important, and various control laws such as PI, PID, or other known control laws etc. can be used in the embodiments described herein.

    [0020] The processor 42 then issues a command to the actuator 36 via a bus 50 which cause the actuator to move to the desired actuator position. By successively repeating these steps, the processor 42 utilizes input from the sensor 44 to determine a desired motion of the seat 16 about the axis 22, and then operates the actuator 36 to cause the desired motion of the seat 16 about that axis. This results in a substantial reduction (or minimizing) of the acceleration of a person's head sitting in the seat 16 in a substantially horizontal direction. Preferably the processor 42 controls motion of the seat 16 in order to reduce displacement of the virtual pivot point 33 along the reference vertical centerline 17 as the vehicle 10 is rotated (e.g. about the axis 24 in Fig 1B). This example is advantageous in that it (a) is substantially insensitive to lateral accelerations caused by turning (when the vehicle makes a left or right turn) and gravity, and (b) requires minimal motion sensors. This arrangement assumes that there is a stationary roll center height (i.e. L1 does not vary).

    [0021] If it is desired to calculate L1 continuously in real time as the vehicle is moving, a lateral accelerometer (not shown) can be provided on, for example, the vehicle 10 or the seat 16. It is preferable that this accelerometer is located at substantially the same height (or location) as the axis 22. The processor 42 receives inputs from the lateral accelerometer and the roll rate sensor 44, and then calculates L1 using the equation L1 = lateral velocity/roll rate where the lateral velocity is calculated by integrating the lateral acceleration signal. It should be noted that preferably gravity correction is done on the output of any lateral accelerometers described in this application. This means that the component of gravity coupled into the lateral accelerometer as the vehicle 10 and/or seat 16 rotates is taken into consideration.

    [0022] In an alternative way of controlling the position of the seat 16 about the axis 22 in Fig. 3, the angle θ3 (Fig. 1) is used instead of θ2. Once the processor determines the instantaneous roll angle θ1 as described above, the angle θ3 is determined by the equation θ3 = θ1 x (L1/L2). Next, the processor 42 uses a lookup table to determine the desired actuator position in order to achieve the calculated θ3. The processor 42 then issues a command to the actuator 36 via the bus 50 which cause the actuator to move to the desired actuator position in order to achieve the calculated θ3 angle. By successively repeating these steps, the processor 42 utilizes input from the sensor 44 to determine a desired motion of the seat 16 about the axis 22, and then operates the actuator 36 to cause the desired motion of the seat 16 about that axis. This control scheme can be done with a stationary roll center height L1 or a time varying L1 as described above.

    [0023] With respect to Fig. 4, another example of a seat system is disclosed in which the vehicle roll rate sensor 44 of Fig. 3 has been removed, and a roll rate sensor 52 has been provided to rotate with the seat 16 as it is mounted on the intermediate support structure 18. The sensor 52 detects a roll rate of the seat 16 about the axis 22. A lateral accelerometer 54 has also been provided and is mounted on the floor 20 of the vehicle to detect a lateral acceleration of the vehicle.

    [0024] The seat system can include a mechanism (not shown in the Figures) to lock the seat 16 in its home position (shown in Fig. 1A) under certain conditions. For example, if the engine is running but the vehicle is stopped with the transmission in park or neutral, or when the ignition of the vehicle is switched off, the actuator 36 will rotate the seat 16 to its home position. Alternatively, the seat system may include a centering spring (not shown in the Figures) that can also rotate the seat 16 towards its home position. A metal rod is then automatically inserted (e.g. by a solenoid or a spring) into a hole in the support structure 18 to lock the seat 16 in its home position. Then the electrical power to the actuator 36 is switched off.

    [0025] Fig. 5 shows a seat system which is a modification of the seat system of Fig. 4. The main difference is that the roll rate sensor 52 and lateral accelerometer 54 of Fig. 4 have been combined into a single sensor package 56 (mounted on the seat intermediate support structure 18). The processor 42 (not shown in Fig, 5) uses the inputs from the sensor package 56 in the same way as in Fig. 4. That is, the lateral acceleration of the axis 22 is given as ẌP=ẌB-(dṘB/dt x L3), where ẌB is the lateral acceleration measured by the accelerometer 54 (mounted to the seat in package 56), dṘB/dt is the rotational acceleration of the seat 16 which is obtained by differentiating the output ṘB of the roll rate sensor 52 (mounted to the seat in package 56), and L3 is the vertical distance between the axis 22 and the lateral accelerometer 54 in the package 56 (even if the sensor 54 is not vertically aligned with the axis 22). The calculated acceleration at the position of the head of a fictitious person who is sitting in the seat 16 is given as ẌA=ẌP + (dṘB/dt x L2). The processor 42 then utilizes the ẌA term to issue a command to the actuator 36 (not shown in Fig. 5) which operates to rotate the seat 16 about the axis 22 in an effort to drive the ẌA term to zero. This is done because we are trying to substantially reduce, minimize or eliminate lateral accelerations of a person's head who is sitting in seat 16. The equations used for the rotating seat examples in this application are effective for the relatively small angle rotations through which the seat is rotated.

    [0026] In another example, the sensor package 56 is eliminated and a lateral accelerometer (not shown) is placed in a headrest (not shown) of the seat 16. The head rest, as is usual, can be adjusted to the height of the driver's head. The output of the lateral accelerometer is transmitted to the processor 42. The processor 42 uses the output from the lateral accelerometer to operate the actuator 36 in a way that substantially reduces, minimizes or eliminates acceleration of the drivers head in a horizontal direction (in this case, laterally). Gravity correction will need to be done on the output of the lateral accelerometer, and centrifugal forces from vehicle cornering need to be addressed by, for example, providing another accelerometer somewhere on the vehicle that can measure these centrifugal forces.

    [0027] Referring to Fig. 6, another example of a seat system is shown in which the seat 16 can be rotated about two different axes. This seat can address issues with the vehicle 10 pitching forwards and backwards about a pitch axis (not shown) which is substantially parallel with a front axle (Fig. 1A) of the vehicle 10. The pitch axis may, for example be located at the height of the front axle. The intermediate seat support 18 has been reoriented ninety degrees about a vertical axis and is pivotally secured to a rocker plate 58. The rocker plate 58 is pivotally secured to the floor 20 of the vehicle 10. This arrangement allows the seat 16 to rotate about the axis 22 and an axis 62 which is substantially perpendicular to the axis 22 and substantially parallel with a horizontal plane. A distance L4 is the height that the axis 62 is located above the pitch axis of the vehicle. A second actuator 64 is pivotally secured to the floor 20 and the seat 16. The control scheme described above with respect to Fig. 3 is generally used to control movement of the seat in Fig. 6. That is, operation of the actuators 36 and 64 is controlled by the processor 42. The sensor 44 measures a roll rate of the vehicle 10 about an axis parallel to the axis 22. A sensor 66 measures a pitch rate of the vehicle 10 about an axis parallel to the axis 62. The processor 42 receives inputs from the sensors 44 and 46 in the form of roll and pitch rate data via data buses.

    [0028] The processor 42 calculates the integral of the roll rate data from the sensor 44 to determine an instantaneous roll angle θ1 (Fig. 1). The processor 42 also calculates the integral of the pitch rate data from the sensor 66 to determine an instantaneous pitch angle θ4. The processor then plugs θ1 into the equation given above in paragraph 29 along with L2 and L1, and calculates θ2. The processor also calculates θ5 = θ4 x (1 + L4/L2). The distance L2 is used because the axes 62 and 22 are located at about the same height). The angles θ1 and θ2 correspond respectively to the angles θ4 and θ5, the latter two angles being relevant to a side view of the tractor in which the tractor is pitched forwards or backwards.

    [0029] Next, the processor 42 uses a lookup table to determine the desired actuator positions in order to achieve the calculated θ2 and θ5 angles. Actuators 36 and 64 will change only the angle θ5 when they are moved in unison. Actuators 36 and 64 will change only the angle θ2 when they are moved in opposition at the same velocities. Actuators 36 and 64 will change both the angle θ2 and the angle θ5 when they are moved at different velocities in the same or opposite directions. Note that the processor 42 receives position data from the actuators 36 and 64 by respective buses. The position data is indicative of a position of the actuators which is correlated to a position of the seat about the axes 22 and 62. As such, the processor is informed of the current position (e.g. extension) of the actuators.

    [0030] The processor 42 then issues a command signal to each of the actuator 36 and 64 via respective buses which cause the actuators to move to the desired actuator positions. Note that the roll and pitch control signals for each actuator are combined by the processor 42 and then sent to the respective actuator 36 and 64. By successively repeating these steps, the processor 42 utilizes input from the sensors 44 and 66 to determine a desired motion of the seat 16 about the axes 22 and 62, and then operates the actuators 36 and 64 to cause the desired motion of the seat 16 about the axes. This example is advantageous in that it (a) is substantially insensitive to lateral accelerations caused by turning (when the vehicle makes a left or right turn) and gravity, as well as fore/aft accelerations caused by accelerating and braking the vehicle 10, and (b) requires minimal motion sensors. Note that the axes 22 and 62 are substantially orthogonal to each other. These axes can be oriented to be other than orthogonal to each other (i.e. other than 90 degrees offset from each other). -

    [0031] Turning to Fig. 7, another example of a seat system is provided in which the seat 16 is translated substantially parallel to the axis 62 instead of being rotated about one or both of axes 22 and 62. This system addresses issues with the vehicle 10 rolling about the axis 24 (Fig. 1B). A different intermediate seat support structure 68 is provided which is secured to a pair of rails 70 via four linear bearings 72. The seat 16 can be moved along the axis 62 on the rails 70 by an actuator 74 which is connected to the intermediate seat support structure 68 and the floor 20 of the vehicle. As above, the actuator 74 reports its current position state to the processor 42 and receives movement commands from the processor over a pair of data buses. The roll rate sensor 44 provides a vehicle roll rate about the axis 24 (Fig. 1B) to the processor 42. The processor 42 calculates the integral of the roll rate data to determine an instantaneous roll angle θ1 (Fig. 1). It should be noted that even though a translation of the seat 16 (and the driver's head) is being used to offset a rotation of the vehicle (and the driver's head), most of the movement that the driver's head would experience from vehicle roll is side-side (very little is up and down), so this is an acceptable solution to the problem.

    [0032] The processor then plugs θ1 into the equation ΔXhead = (L1 + L2) x θ1, where ΔXhead is the distance a person's head sitting in the seat 16 needs to be moved side-to-side to counteract rolling of the vehicle about the axis 24. For example, when the vehicle has rotated counter-clockwise (e.g. about the axis 24 in Fig. 1B) by an angle θ1, the driver's head is translated to the right parallel to the axis 62 by a distance ΔXhead. Next, the processor 42 uses a lookup table to determine the desired position of the actuator 74 in order to achieve the calculated ΔXhead. The processor 42 then issues a command to the actuator 74 which cause the actuator 74 to move to the desired actuator position. By successively repeating these steps, the processor 42 utilizes input from the sensor 44 to determine a desired motion of the seat 16 along the axis 62, and then operates the actuator 74 to cause the desired motion of the seat 16 along that axis. This example is advantageous in that it (a) is substantially insensitive to lateral accelerations caused by turning (when the vehicle makes a left or right turn) and gravity, and (b) requires minimal motion sensors. This arrangement assumes that there is a stationary roll center height (i.e. L1 does not vary). If it is desired to use a time varying L1, a lateral accelerometer can be used as described above. Rotating seat systems like those shown in Figs. 1-6 need less clearance around the seat at the height of the axis of rotation of the seat (e.g. about axis 22) so that the seat does not hit another part of the vehicle (e.g. the cab 11) as the seat is rotated. For a rotating seat this clearance requirement increases with distance above the axis of rotation. This allows the cab 11 to be designed with a narrower base. Translating seat systems such as the one shown in Fig. 7 need roughly the same clearance at all heights above the seat base.

    [0033] Fig. 8 is similar to Fig. 1B except that the translating seat system of Fig. 7 has replaced the rotating seat system of Fig. 1B. Here we can see that ΔXhead is the distance between the seat centerline 31 and the vehicle centerline 29. If the home position of the seat is not centered in the vehicle, then ΔXhead is the distance between the seat centerline 31 and the home position of the seat. The seat has been translated to the right (as viewed in Fig. 8) by a distance ΔXhead so that the head of the person 12 remains substantially on the vertical centerline 17.

    [0034] Fig. 9 shows a seat system that is similar to the seat system shown on Fig. 7 except that in Fig. 9 the seat 16 is being moved forwards and backwards substantially parallel to the axis 22 instead of side-to-side. This system addresses issues with the vehicle 10 pitching about the pitch axis (discussed above). The intermediate seat support structure 68 is substantially the same as in Fig. 7. However, a pair of rails 73 and four linear bearings 75 are provided instead of the rails 70 and the bearings 72 which allow the seat 16 to be moved forwards and backwards. The seat 16 can be moved substantially parallel to the axis 22 on the rails 73 by an actuator 76 which is connected to the intermediate seat support structure 68 and the floor 20 of the vehicle. As above, the actuator 76 reports its current position state to the processor 42 and receives movement commands from the processor over a pair of data buses. The pitch rate sensor 66 provides a vehicle pitch rate about the pitch axis to the processor 42. The processor 42 calculates the integral of the pitch rate data to determine an instantaneous pitch angle θ4.

    [0035] The processor then plugs θ4 into the equation ΔYhead = (L4 + L2) x θ4, where ΔYhead is the distance a person's head sitting in the seat 16 needs to be moved forwards or backwards to counteract pitching of the vehicle about the pitch axis. Next, the processor 42 uses a lookup table to determine the desired position of the actuator 76 in order to achieve the calculated ΔYhead. The processor 42 then issues a command to the actuator 76 which cause the actuator 76 to move to the desired actuator position. By successively repeating these steps, the processor 42 utilizes input from the sensor 66 to determine a desired motion of the seat 16 substantially parallel to the axis 22, and then operates the actuator 76 to cause the desired motion of the seat 16 substantially parallel to that axis. This example is advantageous in that it (a) is substantially insensitive to accelerations and decelerations caused by pressing the gas pedal or brake pedal of the vehicle 10, and gravity, and (b) requires minimal motion sensors. This arrangement assumes that there is a stationary pitch center height (i.e. L4 does not vary). If it is desired to use a time varying L4, a fore-aft accelerometer can be used as described above.

    [0036] In Fig. 10 a seat system is shown in which the seat 16 can be moved both side-to-side and forwards/backwards. The intermediate seat support structure 68 is secured to the rails 70 via the four linear bearings 72 as in Fig. 7. However, the rails 70 are secured to a plate 78 which is interposed between the floor 20 of the vehicle 10 and the intermediate support structure 68. The plate 78 is secured to the four linear bearings 75 which travel along the rails 73. The rails 73 are secured to the floor 20 of the vehicle 10 as in Fig. 9. With this arrangement the seat 16 can be moved substantially parallel to the axis 62 on the rails 70 by the actuator 74 which is connected to the seat intermediate support structure 68 and the plate 78. In addition, the seat 16 can be moved substantially parallel to the axis 22 on the rails 73 by the actuator 76 which is connected to the plate 78 and the floor 20 of the vehicle. As above, the actuators 74 and 76 report their current position state to the processor 42 and receive movement commands from the processor over a pair of wireless data buses 80.

    [0037] The roll rate sensor 44 provides a vehicle roll rate about the axis 24 to the processor 42. The pitch rate sensor 66 provides a vehicle pitch rate about the pitch axis (Fig. 6) to the processor 42. The processor 42 calculates the integral of the roll rate data and the pitch rate data to determine instantaneous roll angle θ1 and pitch angle θ4. Next, the processor 42 calculates the integral of the (a) roll rate data to determine an instantaneous roll angle θ1, and (b) pitch rate data to determine an instantaneous pitch angle θ4. Then the processor plugs θ1 into the equation ΔXhead = (L1 + L2) x θ1, where ΔXhead is the distance a person's head sitting in the seat 16 needs to be moved side-to-side to counteract rolling of the vehicle about the axis 24. The processor then plugs θ4 into the equation ΔYhead = (L4 + L2) x θ4, where ΔYhead is the distance a person's head sitting in the seat 16 needs to be moved forwards or backwards to counteract pitching of the vehicle about the pitch axis. The processor 42 uses a lookup table to determine the desired position of (a) the actuator 74 in order to achieve the calculated ΔXhead, and (b) the actuator 76 in order to achieve the calculated ΔYhead. The processor 42 then issues a command to the actuators 74 and 76 which cause the actuators 74 and 76 to move to the desired actuator positions. By successively repeating these steps, the processor 42 utilizes input from the sensors 44 and 66 to determine a desired motion of the seat 16 substantially parallel to the axes 22 and 62, and then operates the actuators 74 and 76 to cause the desired motion of the seat 16 substantially parallel to these axes. This example is advantageous in that it (a) is substantially insensitive to accelerations in a horizontal plane and gravity, and (b) requires minimal motion sensors. This arrangement assumes that there are stationary roll and pitch center heights (i.e. L1 and L4 do not vary). If it is desired to use a time varying L1 and/or L4, lateral and fore-aft accelerometers can be used as described above.

    [0038] Fig. 11 shows a plot of frequency versus a magnitude of the sensitivity of a human to lateral acceleration. It can be seen that humans are most sensitive to lateral accelerations in the vicinity of 1hz. Humans are not very sensitive to lateral accelerations below 0.1hz or above 30hz. The bandwidth of vehicle rotation that is addressed by the seat system is preferably between about 0.2hz to about 8 hz, and more preferably between about 0.1 hz to about 40hz.

    [0039] A number of implementations have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that additional modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the inventive concepts described herein, and, accordingly, other embodiments are within the scope of the following claims. For example, another embodiment can include a seat that is both translated and rotated. This can be accomplished by modifying the seat shown in Fig. 10 so that the arrangement for moving the seat side-to-side is replaced by an arrangement for rotating the seat about an axis parallel to the axis 22 (e.g. as shown in Fig. 2).

    [0040] In another version of a seat that is both translated and rotated, the seat system in Fig. 10 is modified to replace the portion of the system that moves the seat forwards and backwards with the portion of Fig. 2 that rotates the seat 16 about the axis 22. If the seat is translated to the right (as viewed in Fig. 10), the seat would also be rotated clockwise. However, as the translation and rotation of the seat are being combined together, both motions can be done to a lesser extent as compared to a system where only rotation (e.g. Fig. 2) or translation (Fig. 7) was used.

    [0041] In all of the examples described above, the vehicle roll axis 24 was always shown located below the axis 22 about which the seat 16 is rotated (or below the level on which the seat is translated). The arrangements described above can also be used where a vehicle roll axis is located above a seat rotation axis or translation level. This can occur in a tram where a vehicle is suspended from a cable located above the vehicle.

    [0042] In another example, the axis 22 (see Fig. 1) can be a virtual pivot made with, for example, a four bar linkage or circular track. This arrangement will provide some degree of lateral translation at the floor 20, but without requiring the use of a second actuator. A benefit of this arrangement is that it reduces the lateral acceleration in the torso of a person sitting in the seat 16. This example will consume more sway space and create more relative motion between the person 12 and the pedals/steering wheel of the vehicle 10.

    [0043] In a further example, the cab 11 is moved relative to another portion of the vehicle (e.g. the frame or fenders) in order to keep the virtual pivot point 33 located substantially along the reference vertical centerline 17. Such movement of the cab 11 can be in place of moving the seat 16 (in this case the seat 16 is secured in place relative to the cab 11), or in addition to moving the seat 11 (in this case the seat 16 is moved relative to the cab 11 and the cab 11 is moved relative to another portion of the vehicle 10). In the former case, the cab is moved by one or more of ΔXhead, ΔYhead, θ2 and θ4 as described above relative to another portion of the vehicle. In the latter case, the combined motion of the seat 16 relative to the cab11, and the cab 11 relative to another portion of the vehicle is set to be one or more of ΔXhead, ΔYhead, θ2 and θ4 as described above. In this latter case the seat and cab move in the same direction which provides more travel room for the seat relative to the cab. U.S. Patent 5,044,455, incorporated herein by reference, discloses actively moving a cab of a truck to address pitching of the truck as the truck travels over a road. The cab 11 can be moved as described in the '455 patent to address pitch and/or roll motions of the vehicle 10 under the control scheme described above.

    [0044] The examples described above may include a processor with computer components and computer-implemented steps that will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, it should be understood by one of skill in the art that computer-implemented steps of a processor may be stored as computer-executable instructions on a computer-readable medium such as, for example, floppy disks, hard disks, optical disks, Flash ROMS, nonvolatile ROM, and RAM. Furthermore, it should be understood by one of skill in the art that the computer-executable instructions may be executed on a variety of processors such as, for example, microprocessors, digital signal processors, gate arrays, controllers, discrete logic, ASICs or other programmable logic device, or may be performed by analog circuitry, or by a combination of analog and digital circuitry.


    Claims

    1. A seat system for a vehicle (10), comprising:

    a seat (16) including a seat bottom (14) on which a person can sit, wherein

    a first imaginary reference vertical centerline (17) passes through a body of a person (12) who is sitting in the seat (16) when both the seat (16) and the vehicle (10) are in a nominal, level horizontal orientation;

    an intermediate support structure (18) is secured to the seat (16) and the vehicle (10) which allows the seat (16) to move relative to the vehicle (10);

    a first actuator (36, 64, 74, 76) that can interact with the seat to cause the seat to move relative to the vehicle;

    one or more sensors (44, 52, 56, 66) which can each measure an aspect of motion; and

    a processor (42) that can

    (i) receive input from each of the one or more sensors (44, 52, 56, 66), and

    (ii) utilize the input to determine a desired movement of the seat (16) relative to the vehicle (10) such that a combined motion of the seat (16) relative to the vehicle (10) and the vehicle (10) relative to earth results in motion of the person (12) about a virtual pivot point (33) located substantially along the reference vertical centerline (17); wherein

    the processor (42) controls motion of the seat (16) in order to minimize displacement of the virtual pivot point (33) along the reference vertical centreline (17) as the vehicle (10) is rotated, and wherein the virtual pivot point (33) is located about 30-122 cm [1-4 feet] above a surface of the seat bottom (14) on which the person (12) can sit.


     
    2. The system of claim 1, wherein the motion of the vehicle relative to earth is a rotation of the vehicle about a first axis (24), and wherein the virtual pivot point (33) is located above the first axis (24) about which the vehicle is rotating.
     
    3. The system of claim 1, wherein the virtual pivot point (33) is located above a position of a torso of the person (12) when seated in the seat.
     
    4. The system of claim 3, wherein the virtual pivot point (33) is located about 61 - 91 cm [2-3 feet] above a surface of the seat bottom (14) on which the person (12) can sit.
     
    5. The seat system of claim 2, wherein the seat (16) is able to rotate about a second axis (22, 62) which is non-intersecting with a horizontal plane.
     
    6. The seat system of claim 5, wherein the second axis (22) is substantially parallel to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line.
     
    7. The seat system of claim 5, wherein the second axis (62) is substantially perpendicular to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line.
     
    8. The seat system of claim 5, further including a second actuator (36, 64), wherein the seat is able to rotate about a third axis (22, 62) which is non-intersecting with the horizontal plane, the first and second actuators (36, 64) being able to cause the seat to rotate about the second and third axes (22, 62).
     
    9. The seat system of claim 1, wherein the one or more sensors (44, 52, 56, 66) includes a sensor for detecting a lateral acceleration in a direction that is substantially perpendicular to a direction in which the vehicle is moving when the vehicle is traveling in a straight line and non-intersecting with the horizontal plane.
     
    10. The seat system of claim 9, wherein the lateral acceleration sensor detects the lateral acceleration of the seat.
     
    11. A method of controlling motion of a person (12) relative to a vehicle (10) in which the person (12) is located, wherein motion of the vehicle relative to earth is a rotation of the vehicle (10) about an axis (24), comprising the steps of:

    providing a seat (16) including a seat bottom (14) on which the person (12) can sit, wherein

    a first imaginary reference vertical centerline (17) passes through a body of the person (12) who is sitting in the seat (16) when both the seat and the vehicle (10) are in a nominal, level horizontal orientation, the seat (16) being secured to the vehicle (10);

    measuring an aspect of motion with one or more sensors (44, 52, 56, 66);

    operating a processor (42) to

    (i) receive input from each of the one or more sensors (44, 52, 56, 66), and

    (ii) utilize the input to determine a desired movement of a first portion of the vehicle relative to a second portion of the vehicle such that a combined motion of the second portion of the vehicle relative to the first portion of the vehicle and the first portion of the vehicle relative to earth results in motion of the person (12) about a virtual pivot point (33) located substantially along the reference vertical centerline (17); and

    operating the processor (42) to control motion of the second portion of the vehicle in order to minimize displacement of the virtual pivot point (33) along the reference vertical centerline (17) as the vehicle is rotated, wherein the virtual pivot point (33) is located about 30-122 cm [1-4 feet] above a surface of the seat bottom (14) on which the person (12) can sit.


     
    12. The method of claim 11, further including securing an intermediate support structure (18) to the seat (16) and the second portion of vehicle which allows the seat (16) to move relative to the second portion of the vehicle, and connecting a first actuator (36, 64, 74, 76) between the seat (16) and the second portion of the vehicle which can be operated to cause the seat (16) to move relative to the second portion of the vehicle.
     
    13. The method of claim 12, wherein the second portion of the vehicle includes a cab (11) of the vehicle, the seat (16) being able to be moved relative to the cab (11), and the cab being able to be moved relative to the first portion of the vehicle.
     
    14. The method of claim 11, wherein the second portion of the vehicle includes a cab (11) of the vehicle.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Sitzsystem für ein Fahrzeug (10), das Folgendes umfasst:

    einen Sitz (16), der einen Sitzboden (14) beinhaltet, auf dem eine Person sitzen kann, wobei

    eine erste imaginäre vertikale Bezugsmittellinie (17) durch einen Körper einer Person (12), die auf dem Sitz (16) sitzt, durchgeht, wenn sowohl der Sitz (16) als auch das Fahrzeug (10) in einer ebenen horizontalen Nennausrichtung sind;

    eine Zwischentragstruktur (18), die an dem Sitz (16) und dem Fahrzeug (10) befestigt ist, die es dem Sitz (16) erlaubt, sich in Bezug auf das Fahrzeug (10) zu bewegen;

    einen ersten Aktuator (36, 64, 74, 76), der mit dem Sitz interagieren kann, um den Sitz zu veranlassen, sich in Bezug auf das Fahrzeug zu bewegen;

    einen oder mehrere Sensoren (44, 52, 56, 66), die jeweils einen Bewegungsaspekt messen können; und

    einen Prozessor (42), der

    (i) Eingabe von jedem des einen oder der mehreren Sensoren (44, 52, 56, 66) empfangen kann, und

    (ii) die Eingabe einsetzen kann, um eine gewünschte Bewegung des Sitzes (16) in Bezug auf das Fahrzeug (10) derart zu bestimmen, dass eine kombinierte Bewegung des Sitzes (16) in Bezug auf das Fahrzeug (10), und des Fahrzeugs (10) in Bezug auf die Erde in Bewegung der Person (12) um einen virtuellen Schwenkpunkt (33), der im Wesentlichen entlang der vertikalen Bezugsmittellinie (17) liegt, resultiert; wobei

    der Prozessor (42) die Bewegung des Sitzes (16) steuert, um eine Verlagerung des virtuellen Schwenkpunkts (33) entlang der Bezugsmittellinie (17), während das Fahrzeug (10) gedreht wird, zu minimieren, und wobei der virtuelle Schwenkpunkt (33) etwa 30 bis 122 cm [1 bis 4 Fuß] oberhalb einer Oberfläche des Sitzbodens (14), auf dem die Person (12) sitzen kann, liegt.


     
    2. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Bewegung des Fahrzeugs in Bezug auf die Erde eine Drehung des Fahrzeugs um eine erste Achse (24) ist, und wobei der virtuelle Schwenkpunkt (33) oberhalb der ersten Achse (24), um die das Fahrzeug dreht, liegt.
     
    3. System nach Anspruch 1, wobei der virtuelle Schwenkpunkt (33) oberhalb einer Position eines Oberkörpers der Person (12), wenn sie auf dem Sitz sitzt, liegt.
     
    4. System nach Anspruch 3, wobei der virtuelle Schwenkpunkt (33) etwa 61 bis 91 cm [2 bis 3 Fuß] oberhalb einer Oberfläche des Sitzbodens (14), auf dem die Person (12) sitzen kann, liegt.
     
    5. Sitzsystem nach Anspruch 2, wobei der Sitz (16) fähig ist, um eine zweite Achse (22, 62), die eine horizontale Ebene nicht schneidet, drehen kann.
     
    6. Sitzsystem nach Anspruch 5, wobei die zweite Achse (22) im Wesentlichen zu einer Richtung, in die sich das Fahrzeug bewegt, wenn das Fahrzeug in einer geraden Linie fährt, parallel ist.
     
    7. Sitzsystem nach Anspruch 5, wobei die zweite Achse (62) im Wesentlichen zu einer Richtung, in die sich das Fahrzeug bewegt, wenn das Fahrzeug in einer geraden Linie fährt, senkrecht ist.
     
    8. Sitzsystem nach Anspruch 5, das weiter einen zweiten Aktuator (36, 64) beinhaltet, wobei der Sitz fähig ist, um eine dritte Achse (22, 62), die die horizontale Ebene nicht schneidet, zu drehen, wobei der erste und der zweite Aktuator (36, 64) fähig sind, den Sitz zu veranlassen, um die zweite und dritte Achse (22, 62) zu drehen.
     
    9. Sitzsystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei der eine oder die mehreren Sensoren (44, 52, 56, 66) einen Sensor zum Erfassen einer seitlichen Beschleunigung in eine Richtung beinhaltet/beinhalten, die im Wesentlichen zu einer Richtung senkrecht ist, in die sich das Fahrzeug bewegt, wenn das Fahrzeug in einer geraden Linie fährt, und die die horizontale Ebene nicht schneidet.
     
    10. Sitzsystem nach Anspruch 9, wobei der Sensor der seitlichen Beschleunigung die seitliche Beschleunigung des Sitzes erfasst.
     
    11. Verfahren zum Steuern einer Bewegung einer Person (12) in Bezug auf ein Fahrzeug (10), in dem sich die Person (12) befindet, wobei Bewegung des Fahrzeugs in Bezug auf die Erde eine Drehung des Fahrzeugs (10) um eine Achse (24) ist, das folgende Schritte umfasst:

    Bereitstellen eines Sitzes (16), der einen Sitzboden (14) beinhaltet, auf dem eine Person (12) sitzen kann, wobei

    eine erste imaginäre vertikale Bezugsmittellinie (17) durch einen Körper der Person (12), die auf dem Sitz (16) sitzt, durchgeht, wenn sowohl der Sitz als auch das Fahrzeug (10) in einer ebenen horizontalen Nennausrichtung sind, wobei der Sitz (16) an dem Fahrzeug (10) befestigt ist;

    Messen eines Bewegungsaspekts mit einem oder mehreren Sensoren (44, 52, 56, 66);

    Betreiben eines Prozessors (42), um

    (i) Eingabe von jedem des einen oder der mehreren Sensoren (44, 52, 56, 66) zu empfangen, und

    (ii) die Eingabe einzusetzen, um eine gewünschte Bewegung eines ersten Abschnitts des Fahrzeugs in Bezug auf einen zweiten Abschnitt des Fahrzeugs derart zu bestimmen, dass eine kombinierte Bewegung des zweiten Abschnitts des Fahrzeugs in Bezug auf den ersten Abschnitt des Fahrzeugs und des ersten Abschnitts des Fahrzeugs in Bezug auf die Erde in Bewegung der Person (12) um einen virtuellen Schwenkpunkt (33), der im Wesentlichen entlang der Bezugsmittellinie (17) liegt, resultiert; und

    Betreiben des Prozessors (42), um Bewegung des zweiten Abschnitts des Fahrzeugs zu steuern, um Verlagerung des virtuellen Schwenkpunkts (33) entlang der Bezugsmittellinie (17) zu minimieren, während das Fahrzeug gedreht wird, wobei der virtuelle Schwenkpunkt (33) etwa 30 bis 122 cm [1 bis 4 Fuß] oberhalb einer Oberfläche des Sitzbodens (14), auf dem die Person (12) sitzen kann, liegt.


     
    12. Verfahren nach Anspruch 11, das weiter das Befestigen einer Zwischentragstruktur (18) an dem Sitz (16) und dem zweiten Abschnitt des Fahrzeugs beinhaltet, was es dem Sitz (16) erlaubt, sich in Bezug auf den zweiten Abschnitt des Fahrzeugs zu bewegen, und Verbinden eines ersten Aktuators (36, 64, 74, 76) zwischen dem Sitz (16) und dem zweiten Abschnitt des Fahrzeugs, der betätigt werden kann, um den Sitz (16) zu veranlassen, sich in Bezug auf den zweiten Abschnitt des Fahrzeugs zu bewegen.
     
    13. Verfahren nach Anspruch 12, wobei der zweite Abschnitt des Fahrzeugs einen Führerstand (11) des Fahrzeugs beinhaltet, wobei der Sitz (16) fähig ist, in Bezug auf den Führerstand (11) bewegt zu werden, und wobei der Führerstand fähig ist, in Bezug auf den ersten Abschnitt des Fahrzeugs bewegt zu werden.
     
    14. Verfahren nach Anspruch 11, wobei der zweite Abschnitt des Fahrzeugs einen Führerstand (11) des Fahrzeugs beinhaltet.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système de siège pour un véhicule (10), comprenant :

    un siège (16) incluant une partie inférieure de siège (14) sur laquelle une personne peut s'asseoir, dans lequel

    une première ligne médiane verticale imaginaire de référence (17) traverse un corps d'une personne (12) qui est assise dans le siège (16) lorsque le siège (16) et le véhicule (10) sont tous deux dans une orientation horizontale nominale ;

    une structure de support intermédiaire (18) est fixée au siège (16) et au véhicule (10), qui permet au siège (16) de se déplacer par rapport au véhicule (10) ;

    un premier actionneur (36, 64, 74, 76) qui peut interagir avec le siège pour amener le siège à se déplacer par rapport au véhicule ;

    un ou plusieurs capteurs (44, 52, 56, 66) qui peuvent chacun mesurer un aspect de mouvement ; et

    un processeur (42) qui peut

    (i) recevoir une entrée provenant de chacun des un ou plusieurs capteurs (44, 52, 56, 66), et

    (ii) utiliser l'entrée pour déterminer un déplacement souhaité du siège (16) par rapport au véhicule (10) de telle sorte qu'un mouvement combiné du siège (16) par rapport au véhicule (10) et du véhicule (10) par rapport à la terre entraîne le mouvement de la personne (12) autour d'un point de pivotement virtuel (33) situé sensiblement le long de la ligne médiane verticale de référence (17) ; dans lequel

    le processeur (42) commande le mouvement du siège (16) afin de minimiser le déplacement du point de pivotement virtuel (33) le long de la ligne médiane verticale de référence (17) lorsque le véhicule (10) entre en rotation, et dans lequel le point de pivotement virtuel (33) est situé environ 30 à 122 cm [1 à 4 pieds] au-dessus d'une surface de la partie inférieure de siège (14) sur laquelle la personne (12) peut s'asseoir.


     
    2. Système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le mouvement du véhicule par rapport à la terre est une rotation du véhicule autour d'un premier axe (24), et dans lequel le point de pivotement virtuel (33) est situé au-dessus du premier axe (24) autour duquel le véhicule entre en rotation.
     
    3. Système selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le point de pivotement virtuel (33) est situé au-dessus d'une position d'un torse de la personne (12) lorsqu'elle est assise dans le siège.
     
    4. Système selon la revendication 3, dans lequel le point de pivotement virtuel (33) est situé environ 61 à 91 cm [2 à 3 pieds] au-dessus d'une surface de la partie inférieure de siège (14) sur laquelle la personne (12) peut s'asseoir.
     
    5. Système de siège selon la revendication 2, dans lequel le siège (16) est capable d'entrer en rotation autour d'un deuxième axe (22, 62) qui ne coupe pas un plan horizontal.
     
    6. Système de siège selon la revendication 5, dans lequel le deuxième axe (22) est sensiblement parallèle à une direction dans laquelle le véhicule se déplace lorsque le véhicule circule en ligne droite.
     
    7. Système de siège selon la revendication 5, dans lequel le deuxième axe (62) est sensiblement perpendiculaire à une direction dans laquelle le véhicule se déplace lorsque le véhicule circule en ligne droite.
     
    8. Système de siège selon la revendication 5, incluant en outre un second actionneur (36, 64), dans lequel le siège peut entrer en rotation autour d'un troisième axe (22, 62) qui ne coupe pas le plan horizontal, les premier et second actionneurs (36, 64) étant capables d'amener le siège à entrer en rotation autour des deuxième et troisième axes (22, 62).
     
    9. Système de siège selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les un ou plusieurs capteurs (44, 52, 56, 66) incluent un capteur pour détecter une accélération latérale dans une direction qui est sensiblement perpendiculaire à une direction dans laquelle le véhicule se déplace lorsque le véhicule circule en ligne droite et ne coupe pas le plan horizontal.
     
    10. Système de siège selon la revendication 9, dans lequel le capteur d'accélération latérale détecte l'accélération latérale du siège.
     
    11. Procédé pour commander le mouvement d'une personne (12) par rapport à un véhicule (10) dans lequel la personne (12) se trouve, dans lequel le mouvement du véhicule par rapport à la terre est une rotation du véhicule (10) autour d'un axe (24), comprenant les étapes de :

    fourniture d'un siège (16) incluant une partie inférieure de siège (14) sur laquelle la personne (12) peut s'asseoir, dans lequel

    une première ligne médiane verticale imaginaire de référence (17) traverse un corps de la personne (12) qui est assise dans le siège (16) lorsque le siège et le véhicule (10) sont tous deux dans une orientation horizontale nominale, le siège (16) étant fixé au véhicule (10) ;

    mesure d'un aspect du mouvement avec un ou plusieurs capteurs (44, 52, 56, 66) ;

    fonctionnement d'un processeur (42) pour

    (i) recevoir une entrée provenant de chacun des un ou plusieurs capteurs (44, 52, 56, 66), et

    (ii) utiliser l'entrée pour déterminer un déplacement souhaité d'une première partie du véhicule par rapport à une seconde partie du véhicule de telle sorte qu'un mouvement combiné de la seconde partie du véhicule par rapport à la première partie du véhicule et de la première partie du véhicule par rapport à la terre entraîne le mouvement de la personne (12) autour d'un point de pivotement virtuel (33) situé sensiblement le long de la ligne médiane verticale de référence (17) ; et

    fonctionnement du processeur (42) pour commander le mouvement de la seconde partie du véhicule afin de minimiser le déplacement du point de pivotement virtuel (33) le long de la ligne médiane verticale de référence (17) lorsque le véhicule entre en rotation, dans lequel le point de pivotement virtuel (33) est situé environ 30 à 122 cm [1 à 4 pieds] au-dessus d'une surface de la partie inférieure de siège (14) sur laquelle la personne (12) peut s'asseoir.


     
    12. Procédé selon la revendication 11, incluant en outre la fixation d'une structure de support intermédiaire (18) au siège (16) et à la seconde partie de véhicule qui permet au siège (16) de se déplacer par rapport à la seconde partie du véhicule, et le raccordement d'un premier actionneur (36, 64, 74, 76) entre le siège (16) et la seconde partie du véhicule qui peut être actionné pour amener le siège (16) à se déplacer par rapport à la seconde partie du véhicule.
     
    13. Procédé selon la revendication 12, dans lequel la seconde partie du véhicule inclut une cabine (11) du véhicule, le siège (16) étant capable d'être déplacé par rapport à la cabine (11), et la cabine étant capable d'être déplacée par rapport à la première partie du véhicule.
     
    14. Procédé selon la revendication 11, dans lequel la seconde partie du véhicule inclut une cabine (11) du véhicule.
     




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    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description