(19)
(11)EP 3 575 677 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
04.12.2019 Bulletin 2019/49

(21)Application number: 19177545.1

(22)Date of filing:  30.05.2019
(51)Int. Cl.: 
F21S 43/14  (2018.01)
B60Q 1/00  (2006.01)
B60Q 1/50  (2006.01)
F21S 43/50  (2018.01)
G09F 21/04  (2006.01)
F21S 43/145  (2018.01)
B60Q 1/26  (2006.01)
F21S 43/20  (2018.01)
G09F 13/04  (2006.01)
G09F 13/06  (2006.01)
(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
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 30.05.2018 IT 201800005869

(71)Applicant: IVECO FRANCE S.A.S.
69200 Vénissieux (FR)

(72)Inventor:
  • CODRON, Stephane
    69008 LYON (FR)

(74)Representative: Faraldi, Marco et al
Studio Torta S.p.A. Via Viotti, 9
10121 Torino
10121 Torino (IT)

  


(54)SIGNALLING SYSTEM FOR THE EXTERIOR OF A VEHICLE


(57) A signalling system (2) for the exterior of a vehicle (1), comprising:
• a support element (7) configured to house at least one LED (8) connectable to a control unit (11) configured to power the at least one LED (8);
• an electroluminescent film (10) connectable to a control unit (11) configured to power the electroluminescent film (10);
• an opaque sticker (14) that shows a silhouette (15);
• a frame (5) configured to carry the support element (7) and the electroluminescent film (10),
according to the invention the electroluminescent film is arranged in front of the support element (7) and the opaque sticker (14) is attachable onto a surface of the electroluminescent film (10) opposite to the one arranged in front of the support element (7).







Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS



[0001] This Patent application claims priority from Italian Patent Application No. 10201800005869 filed on May 30, 2018.

TECHNICAL FIELD



[0002] The present invention concerns a signalling system for a vehicle, in particular a signalling system for the exterior of a public passenger transport vehicle.

STATE OF THE PRIOR ART



[0003] Some public passenger transport vehicles, for example buses for transporting children to school, comprise pictograms which alert other road vehicles to their presence and to potential danger; a school bus must stop frequently, and this stop must be signalled to other vehicles since children may emerge from the front of the vehicle.

[0004] These pictograms were formerly reflective stickers glued to a wall, for example the rear wall, of the vehicle. However, when there is fog or rain this sticker may not be visible.

[0005] This problem has been resolved by a regulatory evolution recommending the use of LEDs or OLEDs which can however dazzle drivers of other vehicles and furthermore do not succeed in clearly showing the shape of the pictogram in all possible atmospheric conditions.

[0006] In order to reduce the risk of accidents, it is therefore necessary to improve vehicle signalling systems by making the silhouette of a desired pictogram visible in all possible visibility situations, without however dazzling the drivers of other vehicles.

[0007] The invention aims to resolve the above-mentioned problems in an optimised and cost-effective way.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0008] The above-mentioned objects are achieved by a signalling system according to the attached Claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0009] Other characteristics and benefits of the invention will become apparent from the following non-limiting description, provided for illustrative purposes, with reference to the attached drawings wherein:
  • Figure 1 shows a vehicle comprising a signalling system according to the invention;
  • Figure 2 is a perspective view of the signalling system according to the invention; and
  • Figure 3 is an exploded perspective view of the system of Figure 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



[0010] Figure 1 shows a vehicle 1, in the case described above a school bus, with a signalling system 2 which can be attached to a wall 3 of the vehicle. In the case described above, the signalling system 2 is attached to a rear wall 3 of the vehicle. The signalling system 2 may be attached to the wall 3 by attachment means, for example threaded or glued means, or attached by means of a shaped mechanical coupling, not shown.

[0011] As better illustrated in Figures 2 and 3, the signalling system 2 comprises a frame 5 defining a closed shape, in the example above a square shape, and defining an inner volume 6 in which the following elements are housed.

[0012] The signalling system 2 comprises a support element 7, preferably an element made of transparent material; for example, the support element 7 is made of plexiglass.

[0013] Beneficially, the support element 7 comprises at least one LED 8, preferably two LED strips 8 housed in seats 9 cut out in the support element 7. Even more preferably, the two LED strips 8 are placed parallel to each other and extend along the height of the frame 5.

[0014] At least one LED 8 is electrically connected to a control unit 11 by electrical connection elements 12, for example a wired connection. The control unit 11 is configured to control the lighting of the LED 8, preferably flashing it by powering it on at a predefined frequency. The control unit 11 may be the ECU of the vehicle 1.

[0015] According to the invention, the signalling system 2 further comprises a film 10 made of electroluminescent material placed opposite the at least one LED 8. An electroluminescent material is a material which emits light without glare when an electric current or an electric field passes through it.

[0016] The electroluminescent film 10 is electrically connected to the control unit 11 by electrical connection elements 13, for example a wired connection. The control unit 11 is configured to control the lighting of the electroluminescent film 10, preferably flashing it by powering it on, preferably at 12-24V, at a predefined frequency. Even more preferably, this frequency is the same lighting frequency as that of the at least one LED 8.

[0017] The signalling system 2 also comprises a sticker 14, which can be attached to a surface of the electroluminescent film 10 opposite to that in front of the LED 8 and defining a silhouette 15 of a predefined shape. Beneficially, the sticker 14 is made of opaque material and the silhouette 15 is obtained via a corresponding shape cut in said opaque sticker 14.

[0018] The signalling system 2 may further comprise an opaque layer 17, preferably a black film, configured to prevent light transmission from the strips 8 to the rear of the signalling system 2. The opaque layer 17 is preferably attached to a rear surface 7a of the support element 7 opposite to the surface in which the seats 9 are made.

[0019] The signalling system 2 may also comprise a diffuser 18, preferably made of plexiglass or polarised glass to concentrate the light and interposed between the support element 7, opposite the at least one LED 8, and the electroluminescent film 10. The diffuser 18 is configured to diffuse and concentrate light from the LED 8 towards the electroluminescent film 10.

[0020] All the elements (diffuser 18, opaque layer 17, electroluminescent film 10, support element 7) described above are housed inside the volume 6 and have a shape complementary to that of the frame 5. It is further clear that they can be attached in a known way to the latter and to each other in a detachable way (to allow their replacement in case of malfunction).

[0021] The thickness of the frame 5, containing all the above-mentioned elements, is less than 2 mm, preferably between 1 and 2 mm.

[0022] Operation of the signalling system 2 according to the invention is as follows.

[0023] The signalling system 2 can be activated automatically, for example on the basis of a bus manoeuvre or on the basis of the activation of the bus turn signals, or manually according to the driver's wishes.

[0024] When activated, the signalling system 2 makes it possible to signal to other drivers the silhouette 15 of the sticker 14 thanks to the light which passes through the shape cut in the sticker.

[0025] If necessary, the sticker can be changed by substituting it with another sticker 14 with a different silhouette 15.

[0026] From the above, the benefits of a signalling system 2 according to the present invention are very clear.

[0027] Thanks to the signalling system 2, the silhouette of the sticker 14 is visible in all weather conditions and, furthermore, there is no longer the risk of dazzling drivers of other vehicles in the vicinity of the bus 1.

[0028] The risk of glare is also reduced thanks to use of the diffuser 18.

[0029] The signalling system 2 can be attached anywhere on the exterior of one of the walls of the vehicle 1 since the light from the LED 8 and the film 10 is absorbed by the opaque layer 17. For example, the signalling system 2 could also be attached to a side window of the vehicle 1.

[0030] The frame 5 is also not thick; the frame 5 thus cannot interfere with the gauge of the vehicle 1.

[0031] Furthermore, the frame 5 can be attached to and detached from one vehicle 1 and to/from another and, similarly, different stickers 14 could be applied in substitution for each other on the same signalling system 2.

[0032] The signalling system 2 according to the present invention can also be assembled quickly and economically.

[0033] Finally, it is clear that the signalling system 2 according to the present invention may be subject to modifications and variations without thereby departing from the protective scope defined by the Claims.

[0034] For example, the shape of the frame 5, the LED 8 and the sticker 14 could vary. Furthermore, the materials of the support element 7 or the diffuser 18 could be different.


Claims

1. A signalling system (2) for the exterior of a vehicle (1), said system comprising:

• a support element (7) configured to house at least one LED (8) connectable to a control unit (11) configured to power said LED (8);

• an electroluminescent film (10) connectable to said control unit (11) configured to power said electroluminescent film (10);

• an opaque sticker (14) that shows a silhouette (15);

• a frame (5) configured to house said support element (7) and said electroluminescent film (10),

said electroluminescent film (10) being arranged in front of said at least one LED (8) of said support element (7) and said opaque sticker (14) being attachable onto the surface of said electroluminescent film (10) opposite to the one placed in front of said at least one LED (8) of said support element (7).
 
2. The signalling system according to Claim 1, characterised in that it comprises a diffuser element (18) interposed between the support element (7) and the electroluminescent film (10).
 
3. The signalling system according to Claim 2, characterised in that said diffuser element (18) is made of plexiglass or polarised glass.
 
4. The signalling system according to any one of Claims 1 to 3, characterised in that it comprises an opaque layer (17) coupled to a surface of said support element (7) opposite to the one placed in front of said electroluminescent film (10).
 
5. The signalling system according to Claim 4, characterised in that said opaque layer (17) is a black film.
 
6. The signalling system according to any one of the Claims 1 to 5, characterised in that said support element (7) is made of plexiglass.
 
7. The signalling system according to any one of the Claims 1 to 6, characterised in that said silhouette (15) shown on said sticker (14) is obtained by cutting out a shape on an opaque sticker (14).
 
8. The signalling system according to any one of the Claims 1 to 7, characterised in that it comprises two LED strips (8) parallel to one another.
 
9. The signalling system according to any one of the Claims 1 to 8, characterised in that said frame (5) has a thickness ranging between 1 mm and 2 mm.
 
10. A vehicle comprising a signalling system according to one of the preceding Claims.
 




Drawing




















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