(19)
(11)EP 3 792 883 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
17.03.2021 Bulletin 2021/11

(21)Application number: 20199365.6

(22)Date of filing:  12.04.2013
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G07C 5/08  (2006.01)
G01C 21/16  (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

(30)Priority: 13.04.2012 US 201261624142 P

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
13775283.8 / 2836790

(71)Applicant: WI-Tronix, LLC
Bolingbrook, IL 60440 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • JORDAN, Lawrence B., Jr.
    Bolingbrook, Illinois 60440 (US)
  • MATTA, Lisa A.
    Plainfield, Illinois 60586 (US)

(74)Representative: Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP 
Redcliff Quay 120 Redcliff Street
Bristol BS1 6HU
Bristol BS1 6HU (GB)

 
Remarks:
This application was filed on 30-09-2020 as a divisional application to the application mentioned under INID code 62.
 


(54)MOBILE ASSET DATA RECORDING FOR FUEL COMPENSATION


(57) An acceleration-based mobile asset data recorder and transmitter equipped with a wireless processing unit, an event recorder, a digital video recorder, a fuel level sensor, and an inertial navigation sensor board. The inertial navigation sensor board includes a 3-axis gyroscope, a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis magnetometer, and a microcontroller. The data recorder and transmitter allows for automatic orientation, automatic compass calibration, fuel compensation with pitch and roll, emergency brake application with impact detection, rough operating condition detection, engine running detection, and inertial navigation of a mobile asset. Users can use the normal operation of their mobile assets to locate and alert, in real-time, areas where their assets are encountering rough operating environments, to provide for quicker emergency response, and to validate the effectiveness of repairs and rerouting.




Description

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



[0001] This application claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/624,142, filed on April 13, 2012, to the extent provided by law.

Field of the Invention



[0002] The present invention generally relates to equipment used in high value assets and particularly, to event and data recorder systems used in high value assets.

Description of the Prior Art



[0003] High value assets such as locomotives, mining, cargo, marine and military vehicles and vessels typically employ an onboard data acquisition and logging device, similar to a "black box" on airplanes. A typical onboard data acquisition and logging device, or an event/data recorder, comprises digital and analog inputs as well as pressure switches and pressure transducers which record data from various onboard sensor devices. These event/data recorders log a variety of system parameters used for incident investigation, crew performance evaluation, fuel efficiency analysis, maintenance planning, and predictive diagnostics. Recorded data may include such parameters as speed, distance traveled, location, fuel level, engine revolutions per minute (RPM), fluid levels, operator controls, pressures, and ambient conditions. In addition to the basic event and operational data, video and audio event/data recording capabilities are also deployed on many of these same mobile assets.

[0004] The primary objects of the present invention are to provide automatic collision detection, to reduce loss due to rough switching and train operations, to reduce fuel costs by eliminating excess idle, to enhance positioning accuracy, to improve over-the-road fuel accuracy, and to provide real-time track monitoring.

[0005] A further object of the present invention is remote accident alerting combining collision detection, roll-over detection, video and logging of operator actions before and after incidents to provide complete incident analysis.

[0006] Another object of the present invention is using accelerometer-based pitch and roll measurements to provide accurate liquid levels in mobile fuel storage tanks.

[0007] A further object of the present invention is the use of a non-intrusive accelerometer to determine the running/not-running state of an engine and auxiliary loads on that engine.

[0008] Another object of the present invention is the use of accelerometer data combined with logged operator actions and GPS location data to precisely locate rough operating environment, such as bad track, rough seas, and poor roads.

[0009] Yet another object of the present invention is the use of a high accuracy GPS, a 3- axis digital accelerometer, a digital compass and a 3-axis digital gyroscope combined to provide dead reckoning based arrival and departure notifications for mobile assets in conditions where no GPS signal is available, such as under canopies or overhangs at stations and docks.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0010] The acceleration-based mobile asset data recorder and transmitter of an embodiment of the present invention used on locomotives comprises the operational integration of nine components. The components are an event recorder similar to a black box on airplanes, a locomotive digital video recorder, a fuel level sensor, fuel level sensor software, a wireless processing unit, an inertial navigation sensor board, firmware, system software, and the system encompassing these components. The inertial navigation sensor board includes a 3-axis digital gyroscope, a 3-axis digital magnetometer, a 3-axis digital accelerometer, and a micro-controller. The gyroscope is used for measuring the angular acceleration and deceleration of the asset, the magnetometer is used for measuring magnetic fields, the accelerometer is used for measuring linear accelerations and decelerations, and the micro-controller is used for processing data and communicating between the sensors and the wireless processing unit.

[0011] The mobile asset data recorder and transmitter performs seven functions:
automatic orientation, automatic compass calibration, fuel compensation with pitch and roll, emergency brake with impact detection, rough operating condition detection, engine running detection and inertial navigation (dead reckoning).

[0012] Automatic collision detection alerts appropriate personnel when an emergency brake application occurs and can instantly determine if a collision coincides with the braking event. The mobile asset data recorder and transmitter provides immediate notification of collision severity including an indication of locomotive derailment or rollover event.

[0013] Rough operating condition detection reduces loss due to rough switching and train operations. It provides alerts and summary reports when high energy impacts are detected during switching operations. It also detects excessive slack-action, allowing supervisors to continuously assess and improve train operations. This enables the reduction of lading and equipment damage by identifying unsafe trends and allowing users to take immediate corrective action. Continuous monitoring of track conditions and over the road monitoring of vibration levels alert track maintenance personnel to the precise location of rough track or switches which may need inspection and repair.

[0014] Accelerometer-based engine running detection may be used as a backup source if the engine running signal is not already accessible from other onboard systems, as a means of reducing fuel costs by eliminating excess idle. It also improves over the road fuel accuracy by compensating for locomotive tilt due to grade and super elevation.

[0015] Fuel compensation with pitch and roll improves fuel reporting accuracy. It provides a simple, universal and non- intrusive method of determining if the engine is running while the locomotive is stopped. Increased accuracy provides enhanced real-time business intelligence to support strategic initiatives such as smart fueling, burn-rate analysis, fuel reconciliation and emissions monitoring.

[0016] Inertial navigation, or dead reckoning, enhances positioning accuracy. It augments the wireless processing unit's high accuracy differential GPS with sophisticated dead reckoning when inside shop buildings, stations, tunnels or any location where GPS signals are not available. This provides highly accurate station arrival and departure times, and the precise positioning and locomotive orientation within shop areas increases operational efficiency by improving shop planning and work flow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0017] The present invention is further described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

Fig. 1 is a flow diagram showing the operation of the emergency brake with impact detection system of the present invention;

Fig. 2 is a flow diagram showing the operation of the fuel compensation using accelerometer-based pitch and roll of the present invention;

Fig. 3 is a flow diagram showing the operation of the potential rough operating condition detection using the accelerometer of the present invention;

Fig. 4 is a flow diagram showing the operation of the engine running detection system using an accelerometer of the present invention;

Fig. 5 is a flow diagram showing the operation of the inertial navigation, and dead reckoning, system of the present invention.

Fig. 6 is a diagram showing the system components of an embodiment of the mobile asset data recorder and transmitter of the present invention.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS



[0018] The mobile asset data recorder and transmitter system of the present invention and its components are shown in Fig. 6. The mobile asset data recorder and transmitter system 200 consists of ten interrelated components: an event data recorder 38, a locomotive digital video recorder (DVR) 52, a fuel level sensor 210, fuel level sensor software 212, a WPU 202, an inertial navigation sensor board 214, global positioning system (GPS) 106, firmware 224, system software 226, and the system 200 itself. Installing the WPU 202 onto an asset, such as a locomotive, consists of mounting the WPU 202 and connecting it externally to an event data recorder 38, a locomotive digital video recorder 208 and any additional available condition sensing devices.

[0019] The event data recorder 38, similar to a black-box on airplanes, is an onboard data logging device for locomotives. A typical event data recorder 38 consists of digital and analog inputs as well as pressure switches and pressure transducers which record data from various onboard devices, such as throttle position, wheel speed, and emergency brake application. The WPU 202 receives and processes data from the event data recorder 38 once per second over an external serial connection.

[0020] The locomotive digital video recorder (DVR) 52, similar to a television DVR, is an onboard video recording device. The DVR 52 comes equipped with a forward facing camera and a microphone. The camera is mounted at such orientation that it sees and records what the engineer sees. The WPU 202 accesses the locomotive's DVR 52 via an external Ethernet connection to download the video from the hard drive before, during, and after an event.

[0021] The fuel level sensor 210 is a sensor that is used to measure the amount of fuel inside the fuel tank. The fuel level sensor 210 used in the present invention is an ultrasonic level sensor which uses ultrasonic acoustic waves to determine the distance between the sensor head and the fuel level. The sensor 210 is mounted on top of the fuel tank with known dimensions and mounting location. The WPU 202 accesses this data via an external serial connection.

[0022] The fuel level sensor software 212 takes the distance from the fuel level to the sensor 210 with fuel tank geometry and converts this data into a steady fuel volume. This is done by applying mathematical filtering to reduce noise from sloshing and ultrasonic behaviors of the tank. The software 226 also uses smart algorithms to determine refuel and fuel drop events.

[0023] The WPU 202 of the illustrated embodiment is a ruggedized onboard computer running Windows XP embedded specifically for industrial applications. It has many different features that can be installed to customize the product for specific customer needs. The WPU 202 has the ability to communicate with a wide variety of onboard systems, including, but not limited to, vehicle control systems, event data recorders, DVRs, fuel level sensors, and engine controllers. The WPU 202 has the ability to communicate over a wide variety of protocols, including, but not limited to, RS 232, RS 422, RS 485, CAN Bus, LAN, WiFi, cellular, and satellite.

[0024] The inertial navigation sensor board (Board) 214 is a hardware upgrade for the WPU 202. It is installed internally and communicates with the WPU 202 via an internal serial port. The board 214 consists of four components: a 3-axis gyroscope 216, a 3-axis magnetometer 100, a 3-axis accelerometer 20, and a microcontroller 222. The gyroscope 216 is used for measuring angular accelerations, the magnetometer 100 is used for measuring magnetic fields, the accelerometer 20 is used for measuring linear accelerations and decelerations, and the microcontroller 222 is used for processing data and communicating between the sensors and the WPU 202.

[0025] The firmware 224 runs on the Board's 214 microcontroller 222. The firmware 224 constantly calculates pitch and roll using the 3-axis acceleration 20 data. By comparing the 3-axis acceleration data to programmatically defined thresholds and durations, the firmware 224 can determine if a trigger event occurs and if so, sends a trigger event message to the WPU 202. Every second, the firmware 224 sends a periodic data message containing a predefined set of values to the WPU 202. This data is used for, but not limited to determining heading, internal ambient temperature, and angular accelerations.

[0026] The system software 226 is an application running on the WPU 202. This application talks directly to the GPS 106 and Board 214 to gather related data. In addition to this data, the system software 226, like all other applications on the WPU 202, uses a standard inter-process communication protocol to gather data from other software applications. These other software applications are running on the WPU 202 and communicate to other devices (DVR 52, event data recorder 38, etc.) which are physically connected to the WPU 202. By using all the data gathered, the system software 226 can compare the data to predefined thresholds and durations to determine if specific events have occurred.

[0027] The system 200 consists of a WPU 202 with a Board 214, firmware 224, and system software 226 installed and an event data recorder 38, a DVR 52, and a fuel level sensor 210. The system software 226 runs on the WPU 202, constantly correcting fuel levels and checking for event messages from the Board 214 or event data recorder 38 to take action.

[0028] The mobile asset data recorder and transmitter system 200 (Fig. 6) of the present invention performs seven functions: automatic orientation, automatic compass calibration, emergency brake with impact detection, fuel compensation with pitch and roll, rough operating condition detection, engine running detection and inertial navigation (dead reckoning). Each of these seven functions factors in signals generated by the 3-axis accelerometer 20.

[0029] Auto orientation is used to correlate the axes of the WPU 202 to the axes of the locomotive so that the values measured by the sensors correspond to the locomotive's axes. This process is accomplished by the software 226 and firmware 224. Due to different electronic environments on locomotives, the compass needs to be calibrated on a per locomotive basis. The software uses the WPU's 202 GPS 106 (Fig. 5, 6) to determine the heading of the locomotive. It then takes measurements from the magnetometer 100 and stores them in the corresponding position of an array. The array consists of 360 positions, one for every degree of heading. Using these values, the WPU's 202 software 226 can correct for the locomotive's own magnetic fields and only detect the change due to the earth's magnetic field.

[0030] Fig. 1 depicts a flow diagram of a method application for emergency brake with impact detection. The WPU 202 (Fig. 6) software 226 (Fig. 6) sends initialization commands to the firmware 224 (Fig. 6) to establish acceleration durations in each axis (Adx, Ady, Adz) 14 to be used for triggering events. These durations are stored onboard in the device embodying system 200. The WPU 202 software 226 also sends initialization commands to the firmware 224 to establish acceleration thresholds in each axis (Atx, Aty, Atz) 16 to be used for triggering events. These durations are stored onboard in the device embodying system 200 (Fig. 6). The microcontroller 222 (Fig. 6) pulls the raw 3-axis acceleration (Ax, Ay, Az) 18 data from the accelerometer 20 at a rate of 100 Hz. A low pass filter 22 is applied to the raw acceleration values (Ax, Ay, Az) 18, which results in filtered acceleration values (Afx, Afy, Afz) 24. The Board 214 (Fig. 6) axes of the filtered acceleration values (Afx, Afy, Afz) 24 are translated to asset axes (Afx, Afy, Afz) 26. The Board 214 values of the raw values (Ax, Ay, Az) 18 are translated to asset axes (A'x, A'y, A'z) 28. The filtered values of the asset axes (Af'x, Af'y, Af'z) 26 are added to the established thresholds for each axis (Atx, Aty, Atz) 16, and this added threshold (Af'tx, Af'ty, Af'tz) 32 is then continually compared 29 to the raw acceleration in the asset axes (A'x, A'y, A'z) 28. When the raw values (A'x, A'y, A'z) 28 exceed the thresholds 32 in one or more axes, a timer is activated 30. When a raw value 28 no longer exceeds the thresholds 32 in a specific axis 30, the duration that the raw value 28 exceeded the thresholds 32 is evaluated to determine if the duration exceeds the specified duration for that axis (Adx, Ady, Adz) 14. If the event duration was longer than 34 the duration established (Adx, Ady, Adz) 14, a trigger event is stored 36, including specifics on which axis, duration of the event, and time of the trigger event. In parallel with this monitoring, the onboard software 226 (Fig. 6) is receiving periodic data messages 40 from an onboard event data recorder 38, which is monitoring realtime status of various input sensors. The onboard software 226 monitors the periodic data messages 40 and detects when the periodic data message 40 indicates an emergency brake application discrete signal has occurred 42. The onboard software 226 stores the time 44 that the emergency brake application event occurred. If the onboard software 226 stores either the trigger event 36 or the emergency brake time 44, the onboard system software 226 will check the time stamp of each event to see if the latest two events logged, from the trigger event 36 or emergency brake application 44, are in close proximity 46. If it is detected that the events occurred in close proximity 46, the onboard software 226 will trigger an emergency brake application with impact alert 48 and will request a digital video recorder download 50 covering the time of the event from the onboard DVR 52 and will request the data log file covering the time of the event 125 from the event data recorder 38. The onboard software 226 receives the downloaded video covering the time of the event 54 and the data log file covering the time of the event 127 and sends both to the back office 56/128.

[0031] Users will receive alerts indicating the actual force of the collision and if the collision resulted in a rollover or derailment. This, coupled with GPS location, video and immediate access to event recorder information, allows users to precisely relay the severity and scope of the incident to first responders as they are en route to an incident.

[0032] Fig. 2 depicts a flow diagram of a method application for fuel compensation using accelerometer-based pitch and roll. The WPU 202 (Fig. 6) software 226 (Fig. 6) pulls the raw 3-axis acceleration data (Ax, Ay, Az) 18 from the accelerometer 20 at a rate of 100 Hz. A low pass filter 22 is applied to the raw data (Ax, Ay, Az) 18, which results in filtered acceleration values (Afx, Afy, Afz) 24. The Board 214 (Fig. 6) axes of the filtered values (Afx, Afy, Afz) 24 are translated to asset axes (Af'x, Af'y, Af'z) 26. The asset's pitch 58 is the arc tangent of the asset's filtered x-axis and the asset's filtered z-axis:

The asset's roll 60 is the arc tangent of the asset's filtered y-axis and the asset's filtered z- axis:

For each model of asset the system is installed upon, the specific location of the fuel sensor mounting is captured. Specifically, the distance the sensor is mounted forward of the center of the fuel tank 62 is recorded. In addition, the distance the fuel sensor is mounted left of the center of the fuel tank 64 is also recorded.

[0033] The distance forward of center 62 is combined with the tangent of the asset's pitch 58 to obtain a first fuel distance adjustment. The distance left of center 64 is combined with the tangent of the asset's roll 60 to obtain a second fuel distance adjustment. The first and second fuel distance adjustments are combined to provide a single fuel distance adjustment 66. The onboard distance level sensor records the distance from the top of the tank to the fuel level present in the onboard fuel tank. The raw distance to the fuel 70 from the fuel sensor 68 is combined with the distance adjustment 66 to create an adjusted distance 72. The adjusted distance 72 is combined with a previously defined fuel tank geometric tank profile 74, which maps a distance to fuel value to a fuel volume 76. This results in a final fuel volume 78, which is adjusted as the asset travels through various terrains in which the pitch 58 and roll 60 are changing, compensating for the movement of the liquid within the tank of an operating mobile asset.

[0034] Fig. 3 depicts a flow diagram of a method application for potential rough operating condition detection using an accelerometer. The WPU 202 (Fig. 6) software 226 (Fig. 6) sends initialization commands to the firmware 224 (Fig. 6) to establish acceleration durations in each axis (Adx, Ady, Adz) 14 to be used for triggering events. These durations are stored onboard, in the device. The software 226 also sends initialization commands to the firmware 224 to establish acceleration thresholds in each axis (Atx, Aty, Atz) 16 to be used for triggering events. These durations are stored onboard, in the device. The microcontroller 222 (Fig. 6) pulls the raw 3-axis acceleration data (Ax, Ay, Az) 18 from the accelerometer 20 at a rate of 100 Hz. A low pass filter 22 is applied to the raw acceleration values 18, which results in filtered acceleration values (Afx, Afy, Afz) 24. The Board 214 (Fig. 6) axes of the filtered values 24 are translated to asset axes (Af'x, Af'y, Af'z) 26 and the Board 214 axes of the raw values 18 are translated to asset axes (A'x, A'y, A'z) 28. The filtered values of the asset axes (Af'x, Af'y, Af'z) 26 are added to the established thresholds for each axes (Atx, Aty, Atz) 16, and then this added threshold (Af'tx, Af'ty, Af'tz) 32 is continually compared 29 to the raw acceleration in the asset axes (A'x, A'y, A'z) 28. When a raw value 28 exceeds the threshold 32 in one or more axes, a timer is activated 30. When a raw value 28 no longer exceeds the threshold 32 in specific axis, the duration that the raw value 28 exceeded the threshold 32 is evaluated to determine if it exceeds the specified duration for that axis (Adx, Ady, Adz) 14. If the event duration was longer than the duration established for that axis (Adx, Ady, Adz) 14, a trigger event is stored 36, including specifics on which axis, duration of the event, and time of the trigger event.

[0035] In parallel with this monitoring, the onboard software 226 (Fig. 6) is monitoring asset speed via periodic messages from the onboard event data logger 38 (Fig. 1) and/or from an onboard GPS device 106 (Fig. 5, 6). The onboard software 226 monitors the asset speed 80 and detects when it exceeds a specified value 82. If both the speed 80 exceeds a specified value 82 and a trigger event stored 36 occur at the same time 84, the onboard system software 226 will check which axis the event was triggered in. If the event was triggered in the z-axis 86, the system will log a potential track issue alert 88. If the event was triggered in the x- or y- axis, the system will log an operator mishandling alert 90. If either a potential track issue alert 88 or an operator mishandling alert 90 occurs, the onboard software 226 will request a digital video recorder download 50 covering the time of the event from the onboard DVR 52. The onboard software 226 receives the downloaded video 54 and sends it to the back office 56.

[0036] Users can now use the normal operation of their mobile assets to precisely locate and alert, in real-time, areas where their assets are encountering rough operating environment, such as bad track/switch, rough seas, and poor roads. The user will receive an alert, a still or video image and the crucial operational black-box data immediately upon identification of a rough operating environment. Repair teams can respond to the exact location of the bad road or track. Marine routes can be adjusted to avoid bar currents or choppy waters. The effectiveness of any repairs or rerouting can be validated when the next mobile asset data recorder and transmitter system equipped asset traverses any previously flagged area.

[0037] Fig. 4 depicts a flow diagram of a method application for engine running detection using an accelerometer. The WPU 202 (Fig. 6) software 226 (Fig. 6) sends initialization commands to the firmware 224 (Fig. 6) to establish activity/inactivity durations in each axis (Aldx, Aldy, Aldz) 84 to be used for triggering events. These durations are stored onboard, in the device. The WPU 202 (Fig. 6) software 226 (Fig. 6) also sends initialization commands to the firmware 224 (Fig. 6) to establish activity/inactivity thresholds in each axis (Altx, Alty, Altz) 86 to be used for triggering events. These durations are stored onboard, in the device. The microcontroller 222 (Fig. 6) pulls the raw 3-axis acceleration data (Ax, Ay, Az) 18 from the accelerometer 20 at a rate of 100 Hz. A low pass filter 22 is applied to the raw acceleration values (Ax, Ay, Az) 18, which results in filtered acceleration values (Afx, Afy, Afz) 24. The Board 214 (Fig. 6) axes of the filtered values 24 are translated to asset axes (Af'z, Af'y, Af'z) 26 and the Board 214 axes of the raw values 18 are translated to asset axes (A'x, A'y, A'z) 28. The filtered values of the asset axes (Af'x, Af'y, Af'z) 26 are added to the established activity/inactivity thresholds for each axis (Altx, Alty, Altz) 86 and then this added threshold (Af'ltx, Af'lty, Af'ltz) 88 is continually compared to the raw acceleration in the asset axes (A'x, A'y, A'z) 28. When the raw value 28 exceeds the threshold 88 in one or more axes, a timer is activated 90. If the raw value 28 no longer exceeds the activity/inactivity threshold 88 in a specific axis, the duration that the raw value 28 exceeded the threshold 88 is evaluated to determine if it exceeds the specified duration for that axis (Aldx, Aldy, Aldz) 84. If the event duration was longer than the duration established for that axis (Aldx, Aldy, Aldz) 84, a trigger inactivity/activity event 34 is stored 92, including specifics on which axis, duration of the event, and time of the event trigger. The engine running status is updated 94 when activity/inactivity events are triggered.

[0038] Fig. 5 depicts a flow diagram of a method application for inertial navigation (dead reckoning). The microcontroller 222 (Fig. 6) pulls the raw 3-axis acceleration data (Ax, Ay, Az) 18 from the accelerometer 20 at a rate of 100 Hz. A low pass filter 22 is applied to the raw acceleration values (Ax, Ay, Az) 18, which results in filtered acceleration values (Afx, Afy, Afz) 24. The Board 214 (Fig. 6) axes of the filtered values 24 are translated to asset axes (Af'x, Af'y, Af'z) 26. The asset's pitch 58 is the arc tangent of the asset's filtered x-axis and the asset's filtered z-axis:

The asset's roll 60 is the arc tangent of the asset's filtered y-axis and the asset's filtered z- axis:

Acceleration in the asset's x-axis is integrated 96 to calculate the asset's speed 98:

In parallel, the microcontroller 222 (Fig. 6) pulls 3-axis gauss data (Gx, Gy, Gz) 102 from the magnetometer 100 at 1 Hz. Using the magnetometer data 102 and the asset's pitch 58 and roll 60, a tilt compensated heading 104 is calculated. Also in parallel, the onboard GPS device 106 is providing location data updated at a 1 Hz frequency. The onboard software 226 determines if valid GPS data is available 108. If a GPS signal is available, the onboard software 226 will parse the data 110, into GPS speed 126, heading 128, latitude 114, and longitude 116 every second, and will store 118 the latitude 114 and longitude 116. If the GPS data is determined to not be available, the system 200 (Fig. 6) enters dead reckoning mode 112. In dead reckoning mode 112, the last known latitude 114 and longitude 116 are obtained from the GPS 106 and stored 118. Using the last known 118 latitude 114 and last longitude 116, along with the asset's speed 98, the wheel speed from the event recorder data 126, the tilt compensated heading 104 and the data 129 from the 3-axis gyroscope, a new position 120 is calculated. The new latitude 122 and the new longitude 124 positions are stored and used, and the process continues until valid GPS data is again available.

[0039] Users will receive precision departure and arrival alerts and logging in environments where GPS signals are blocked or partially blocked by overhangs and canopies. This system 200 (Fig. 6) allows users to define virtual 'trip wires,' even in areas where GPS devices are rendered useless due to RF signal loss or interference. The inertial navigation capabilities automate operator performance to a schedule matrix by alerting and logging the exact time an asset crosses a departure and arrival virtual 'trip wire' when a GPS signal cannot compute accurate location data.

Aspects:



[0040] 
  1. 1. A method for recording, processing and transmitting data from a mobile asset, comprising the steps of:
    1. a. at least one inertial navigation sensor board onboard the mobile asset, said board comprising a microcontroller communicating with and processing data from a 3- axis accelerometer;
    2. b. reading raw acceleration data from the 3-axis accelerometer;
    3. c. filtering the raw acceleration data into filtered acceleration values; and
    4. d. translating the axes of the inertial navigation sensor board to the axes of the mobile asset using at least one of the raw acceleration data and the filtered acceleration values.
  2. 2. The method of aspect 1, further comprising the steps of:
    1. a. establishing acceleration durations in each axis;
    2. b. establishing acceleration thresholds in each axis;
    3. c. storing the acceleration durations;
    4. d. storing the acceleration thresholds;
    5. e. filtering the raw acceleration data to filtered acceleration values;
    6. f. translating the filtered acceleration values to filtered asset axes values;
    7. g. translating the raw acceleration data to raw asset axes values;
    8. h. adding the filtered asset axes values to the acceleration thresholds for each axis; and i. continually comparing the added thresholds to the raw asset axes values.
  3. 3. The method of aspect 2, further comprising the steps of:
    1. a. at least one event data recorder, onboard the mobile asset, logging data relating to the mobile asset;
    2. b. activating a timer when the raw asset axes values exceed the added thresholds;
    3. c. determining the timer duration when the raw asset axes values no longer exceed the added threshold in a specific axis;
    4. d. determining whether the timer duration exceeds the specified acceleration duration for that axis;
    5. e. storing a trigger event if the timer duration exceeds the acceleration duration;
    6. f. receiving periodic data messages from an onboard event data recorder;
    7. g. detecting when the periodic data message indicates an emergency brake application discrete signal; and
    8. h. storing at least one of the time the trigger event occurred and the time the emergency brake application event occurred.
  4. 4. The method of aspect 3, further including the steps of:
    1. a. at least one digital video recorder, onboard the mobile asset, recording video and acoustics;
    2. b. checking the time stamp of one of the trigger event and the emergency brake application event;
    3. c. triggering an emergency brake application with impact alert when the latest two events, the time the trigger event occurred and the time of the emergency brake application event, occurred are in close proximity;
    4. d. requesting a digital video download covering the time of the event from the onboard digital video recorder;
    5. e. receiving the digital video download; and
    6. f. sending the digital video download to a back office.
  5. 5. The method of aspect 4, further comprising the step of:
    1. a. sending alerts indicating any of the GPS location, video, event data recorder information, actual force of the collision, and rollover and derailment occurring as a result of the collision.
  6. 6. The method of aspect 3, wherein the trigger event comprises storing specifics on the axes, the timer duration, and the time of the trigger event.
  7. 7. The method of aspect 3, wherein the data messages comprise the real-time status of various input sensors.
  8. 8. The method of aspect 1, further comprising the steps of:
    1. a. at least one fuel level sensor measuring the amount of fuel inside a fuel tank;
    2. b. filtering the raw acceleration data to filtered acceleration values;
    3. c. translating the filtered acceleration values to filtered asset axes values;
    4. d. calculating the asset's pitch, wherein the asset's pitch is determined by applying the equation:

    5. e. calculating the asset's roll, wherein the asset's roll is determined by applying the equation:

    6. f. recording the distance the fuel sensor is mounted forward of the center of the fuel tank;
    7. g. recording the distance the fuel sensor is mounted left of the center of the fuel tank;
    8. h. calculating a first fuel distance adjustment by combining the distance forward of center with the tangent of the asset's pitch;
    9. i. calculating a second fuel distance adjustment by combining the distance left of center with the tangent of the asset's roll;
    10. j. calculating a fuel distance adjustment by combining the first fuel distance adjustment with the second fuel distance adjustment;
    11. k. recording the raw distance from the top of the tank to the fuel level present in the fuel tank;
    12. l. calculating an adjusted distance by combining the raw distance with fuel distance adjustment; and
    13. m. calculating the fuel volume by combining the adjusted distance with a fuel tank geometric tank profile.
  9. 9. The method of aspect 2, further comprising the steps of:
    1. a. at least one GPS sensor, onboard the mobile asset, receiving GPS signals from a global positioning system;
    2. b. at least one event data recorder, onboard the mobile asset, logging data relating to the mobile asset;
    3. c. activating a timer when the raw asset axes values exceed the added thresholds;
    4. d. determining the timer duration when the raw asset axes values no longer exceed the added threshold in a specific axis;
    5. e. determining whether the timer duration exceeds the specified acceleration duration for that axis;
    6. f. storing a trigger event if the timer duration exceeds the acceleration duration;
    7. g. receiving periodic data messages from the at least one of the event data recorder and the GPS sensor; and
    8. h. monitoring the asset's speed, wherein the asset's speed is determined by applying the equation:
      ∫ asset's accelerationx-axis
  10. 10. The method of aspect 9, further comprising the steps of:
    1. a. determining which axis the trigger event was triggered in when the asset's speed exceeds a specified value and a trigger event was stored at the same time;
    2. b. logging a potential track issue alert if the trigger event was triggered in the z-axis; and
    3. c. logging an operator mishandling alert if the trigger event was triggered in one of the x-axis and the y-axis.
  11. 11. The method of aspect 10, further comprising the step of:
    1. a. sending alerts indicating any of rough operating environments, bad tracks and switches, rough seas, poor roads, repaired routes, GPS location, video and access to event recorder information.
  12. 12. The method of aspect 9, wherein the trigger event comprises storing specifics on which axis, duration of the event, and time of the trigger event.
  13. 13. The method of aspect 9, wherein the data message comprises the real-time status of various input sensors.
  14. 14. The method of aspect 1, further comprising the steps of:
    1. a. establishing at least one of activity and inactivity durations in each axis;
    2. b. storing the at least one of activity and inactivity durations;
    3. c. establishing at least one of activity and inactivity thresholds in each axis;
    4. d. filtering the raw acceleration data to filtered acceleration values;
    5. e. translating the filtered acceleration values to filtered asset axes values;
    6. f. translating the raw acceleration data to raw asset axes values;
    7. g. adding the filtered asset axes values to the established activity and inactivity thresholds for each axis; and
    8. h. continually comparing the added thresholds to the raw asset axes values.
  15. 15. The method of aspect 14, further comprising the steps of:
    1. a. activating a timer when the raw asset axes values exceed the added thresholds;
    2. b. determining the timer duration when the raw asset axes values no longer exceed the added threshold in a specified axis;
    3. c. determining whether the timer duration exceeds the specified acceleration duration for that axis; and
    4. d. storing one of a trigger activity event and a trigger inactivity event if the timer duration exceeds the acceleration duration.
  16. 16. The method of aspect 15, wherein the trigger event comprises storing specifics on which axis, the timer duration, and the time of the trigger event.
  17. 17. The method of aspect 1, further comprising the steps of:

    a. at least one 3-axis magnetometer communicating with the microcontroller of the inertial navigation sensor board, said microcontroller processing data from said 3-axis magnetometer;

    b. filtering the raw acceleration data to filtered acceleration values;

    c. translating the filtered acceleration values to filtered asset axes values;

    d. calculating the asset's pitch, wherein the asset's pitch is determined by applying the equation:

    e. calculating the asset's roll, wherein the asset's roll is determined by applying the equation:

    f. calculating the asset's speed, wherein the asset's speed is determined by applying the equation:

    g. reading 3-axis gauss data from the magnetometer; and

    h. calculating a tilt compensation heading using the 3-axis gauss data, the asset's pitch, and the asset's roll.

  18. 18. The method of aspect 17, further comprising the steps of:
    1. a. at least one GPS sensor, onboard the mobile asset, receiving GPS signals from a global positioning system;
    2. b. reading the asset's GPS data from the GPS sensor; and
    3. c. parsing the asset's GPS data into speed, heading, latitude, and longitude.
  19. 19. The method of aspect 17, further comprising the steps of:
    1. a. at least one 3-axis gyroscope communicating with the microcontroller of the inertial navigation sensor board, said microcontroller processing data from said 3- axis gyroscope;
    2. b. at least one event data recorder, onboard the mobile asset, logging data relating to the mobile asset;
    3. c. reading the asset's last known latitude and longitude from the GPS sensor;
    4. d. storing the asset's last known latitude and longitude;
    5. e. reading data from a 3 axis gyroscope;
    6. f. calculating a new position using the last known latitude, longitude, asset speed, event data recorder data, tilt compensation heading, and data from the 3-axis gyroscope; and
    7. g. storing the new latitude and longitude.
  20. 20. The method of aspect 19, further comprising the steps of:
    1. a. logging the time of the new latitude and longitude; and
    2. b. sending departure and arrival alerts.
  21. 21. The method of aspect 20, further comprising the steps of:
    1. a. defining departure and arrival virtual trip wires;
    2. b. detecting when the asset crosses the departure and arrival virtual trip wires;
    3. c. logging the time the asset crosses the departure and arrival virtual trip wires; and
    4. d. sending an alert when the asset crosses the departure and arrival virtual trip wires.
  22. 22. The method of aspect 8, wherein the fuel level sensor is an ultrasonic level sensor,
    1. a. said ultrasonic level sensor using ultrasonic acoustic waves to determine the distance between the sensor head and the fuel level.
  23. 23. The method of aspect 3, wherein the event data recorder comprises digital and analog inputs.
  24. 24. The method of aspect 3, wherein the event data recorder comprises pressure switches and pressure transducers.
  25. 25. A system for recording, processing, and transmitting data from a mobile asset,
    comprising:
    1. a. a wireless processing unit;
    2. b. at least one inertial navigation sensor board onboard the mobile asset, said board comprising a microcontroller communicating with and processing data from a 3- axis accelerometer;
    3. c. firmware, running on the microcontroller, for reading raw acceleration data from the 3-axis accelerometer, calculating pitch and roll using the data from the 3-axis accelerometer, determining the occurrence of trigger events, sending trigger event messages to the wireless processing unit, and sending periodic data messages containing a predefined set of values to the wireless processing unit every second; and
    4. d. a software application running on the wireless processing unit for communicating with the inertial navigation sensor board, automatically calibrating a compass of the mobile asset, automatically orienting the axes of the wireless processing unit to the axes of the mobile asset, and gathering data from other software applications running on the wireless processing unit.
  26. 26. The system of aspect 25, wherein the software application
    1. a. sends initialization commands to the firmware to establish acceleration durations and acceleration thresholds in each axis;
    2. b. stores the acceleration durations and thresholds;
    3. c. filters the raw acceleration data to filtered acceleration values;
    4. d. translates the filtered acceleration values to filtered asset axes values;
    5. e. translates the raw acceleration data to raw asset axes values;
    6. f. adds the filtered asset axes values to the acceleration thresholds for each axis; and
    7. g. continually compares the added thresholds to the raw asset axes values.
  27. 27. The system of aspect 26, wherein the software application
    1. a. logs data relating to the mobile asset, said data received from at least one event data recorder onboard the mobile asset;
    2. b. activates a timer when the raw asset axes values exceed the added thresholds;
    3. c. determines the timer duration when the raw asset axes values no longer exceed the added threshold in a specific axis;
    4. d. determines whether the timer duration exceeds the specified acceleration duration for that axis;
    5. e. stores a trigger event if the timer duration exceeds the acceleration duration;
    6. f. receives periodic data messages from the event data recorder;
    7. g. detects when the periodic data message indicates an emergency brake application discrete signal; and
    8. h. stores at least one of the time the trigger event occurred and the time the emergency brake application event occurred.
  28. 28. The system of aspect 27, wherein the software application
    1. a. records video and acoustics received from at least one digital video and acoustic recorder onboard the mobile asset;
    2. b. checks the time stamp of one of the trigger event and the emergency brake application event;
    3. c. triggers an emergency brake application with impact alert when the time the trigger event occurred and the time the emergency brake application event occurred are in close proximity;
    4. d. requests a digital video download covering the time of the event from the digital video recorder;
    5. e. receives the digital video download; and f. sends the digital video download to a back office.
  29. 29. The system of aspect 28, wherein the software application sends alerts indicating any of the actual force of the collision, a rollover and derailment occurring as a result of the collision, GPS location, video and immediate access to event data recorder information.
  30. 30. The system of aspect 27, wherein the trigger event comprises storing specifics on the data from the axes, the timer duration, and the time of the trigger event.
  31. 31. The system of aspect 27, wherein the data message comprises the real-time status of various input sensors.
  32. 32. The system of aspect 25, wherein the software application
    1. a. measures the amount of fuel inside a fuel tank upon receiving a signal from at least one fuel level sensor;
    2. b. filters the raw acceleration data to filtered acceleration values;
    3. c. translates the filtered acceleration values to filtered asset axes values;
    4. d. calculates the asset's pitch, wherein the asset's pitch is determined by applying the equation:

    5. e. calculates the asset's roll, wherein the asset's roll is determined by applying the equation:

    6. f. records the distance the fuel sensor is mounted forward of the center of the fuel tank;
    7. g. records the distance the fuel sensor is mounted left of the center of the fuel tank;
    8. h. calculates a first fuel distance adjustment by combining the distance forward of center with the tangent of the asset's pitch;
    9. i. calculates a second fuel distance adjustment by combining the distance left of center with the tangent of the asset's roll;
    10. j. calculates a fuel distance adjustment by combining the first fuel distance adjustment with the second fuel distance adjustment;
    11. k. records the raw distance from the top of the tank to the fuel level present in the fuel tank;
    12. l. calculates an adjusted distance by combining the raw distance with the fuel distance adjustment; and
    13. m. calculates the fuel volume by combining the adjusted distance with a fuel tank geometric tank profile.
  33. 33. The system of aspect 26, wherein the software application
    1. a. receives global positioning system (GPS) signals from an at least one GPS sensor onboard the mobile asset;
    2. b. logs data relating to the mobile asset, said data received from at least one event data recorder onboard the mobile asset;
    3. c. activates a timer when the raw asset axes values exceed the added thresholds;
    4. d. determines the timer duration when the raw asset axes values no longer exceed the added threshold in a specific axis;
    5. e. determines whether the timer duration exceeds the specified acceleration duration for that axis;
    6. f. stores a trigger event if the timer duration exceeds the acceleration duration;
    7. g. receives periodic data messages from the at least one of the event data recorder and the GPS sensor; and
    8. h. monitors the asset's speed, wherein the asset's speed is determined by applying the equation:

  34. 34. The system of aspect 33, wherein the software application
    1. a. determines which axis the trigger event was triggered in, when the asset's speed exceeds a specified value, and a trigger event was stored at the same time;
    2. b. logs a potential track issue alert if the trigger event was triggered in a z-axis; and
    3. c. logs an operator mishandling alert if the trigger event was triggered in one of an x-axis and a y-axis.
  35. 35. The system of aspect 34, wherein the software application
    1. a. sends alerts indicating any rough operating environments, bad tracks and switches, rough seas, poor roads, repaired routes, GPS location, video, and access to event data recorder information.
  36. 36. The system of aspect 33, wherein the trigger event comprises storing specifics on the data from the axes, duration of the event, and time of the trigger event.
  37. 37. The system of aspect 33, wherein the data messages comprise the real-time status of various input sensors on the asset.
  38. 38. The system of aspect 25, wherein the software application
    1. a. establishes at least one of activity and inactivity durations in each axis;
    2. b. stores the at least one of the activity and inactivity durations;
    3. c. establishes at least one of activity and inactivity thresholds in each axis;
    4. d. filters the raw acceleration data to filtered acceleration values;
    5. e. translates the filtered acceleration values to filtered asset axes values;
    6. f. translates the raw acceleration data to raw asset axes values;
    7. g. adds the filtered asset axes values to the established activity and inactivity thresholds for each axis; and
    8. h. continually compares the added thresholds to the raw asset axes values.
  39. 39. The system of aspect 38, wherein the software application
    1. a. activates a timer when the raw asset axes values exceed the added thresholds;
    2. b. determines the timer duration when the raw asset axes values no longer exceed the added threshold in a specified axis;
    3. c. determines whether the timer duration exceeds the specified acceleration duration for that axis; and
    4. d. stores one of a trigger activity event and a trigger inactivity event if the timer duration exceeds the acceleration duration.
  40. 40. The system of aspect 39, wherein the trigger event comprises storing specifics on the data from the axes, the timer duration, and the time of the trigger event.
  41. 41. The system of aspect 25, wherein the software application
    1. a. receives data signals from at least one 3-axis magnetometer communicating with the microcontroller of the inertial navigation sensor board, said microcontroller processing data from said 3-axis magnetometer;
    2. b. filters the raw acceleration data to filtered acceleration values;
    3. c. translates the filtered acceleration values to filtered asset axes values;
    4. d. calculates the asset's pitch, wherein the asset's pitch is determined by applying the equation:

    5. e. calculates the asset's roll, wherein the asset's roll is determined by applying the equation:

    6. f. calculates the asset's speed, wherein the asset's speed is determined by applying the equation:

    7. g. reads 3-axis gauss data from the magnetometer; and
    8. h. calculates a tilt compensation heading using the 3-axis gauss data, the asset's pitch, and the asset's roll.
  42. 42. The system of aspect 41, wherein the software application
    1. a. receives global positioning system (GPS) signals from at least one GPS sensor onboard the mobile asset;
    2. b. reads the asset's GPS data from the GPS sensor; and
    3. c. parses the asset's GPS data into speed, heading, latitude, and longitude.
  43. 43. The system of aspect 41, wherein the software application
    1. a. receives data signals from at least one 3-axis gyroscope communicating with the microcontroller of the inertial navigation sensor board, said microcontroller processing data from said 3-axis gyroscope;
    2. b. logs data relating to the mobile asset, said data received from an at least one event data recorder onboard the mobile asset;
    3. c. reads the asset's last known latitude and longitude from a GPS sensor onboard the mobile asset;
    4. d. stores the asset's last known latitude and longitude;
    5. e. calculates new latitude and longitude using the last known latitude, longitude, asset speed, event data recorder data, tilt compensation heading, and data from the 3 -axis gyroscope; and
    6. f. stores the new latitude and longitude.
  44. 44. The system of aspect 43, wherein the software application
    1. a. logs the time of the new latitude and longitude; and
    2. b. sends asset departure and arrival alerts.
  45. 45. The system of aspect 44, wherein the software application
    1. a. defines departure and arrival virtual trip wires;
    2. b. detects when the asset crosses the departure and arrival virtual trip wires;
    3. c. logs the time the asset crosses the departure and arrival virtual trip wires; and
    4. d. sends an alert when the asset crosses the departure and arrival virtual trip wires.
  46. 46. The method of aspect 1, further comprising the step of:
    1. a. at least one fuel level sensor measuring the amount of fuel inside a fuel tank.
  47. 47. The method of aspect 1, further comprising the step of:
    1. a. at least one event data recorder, onboard the mobile asset, logging data relating to the performance of the mobile asset.
  48. 48. The method of aspect 1, further comprising the step of:
    1. a. at least one digital video recorder, onboard the mobile asset, recording video and acoustics.
  49. 49. The method of aspect 1, further comprising the step of:
    1. a. calibrating a compass on the mobile asset.
  50. 50. The system of aspect 25, wherein
    1. a. at least one fuel level sensor measures the amount of fuel inside a fuel tank.
  51. 51. The system of aspect 25, wherein a. at least one event data recorder, onboard the mobile asset, logs data relating to the mobile asset's performance.
  52. 52. The system of aspect 25, wherein
    1. a. at least one digital video recorder, onboard the mobile asset, records video and acoustics.
  53. 53. The system of aspect 25, wherein the software application
    1. a. calibrates a compass on the mobile asset.
  54. 54. A method for recording, processing and transmitting data from a mobile asset,
    comprising the steps of:
    1. a. establishing predefined durations in three axes;
    2. b. establishing predefined thresholds in three axes;
    3. c. reading data from an accelerometer;
    4. d. reading data from a magnetometer;
    5. e. reading data from a gyroscope; and
    6. f. comparing all of said data to said predefined thresholds and to said predefined durations.
  55. 55. The method of aspect 4, further including the steps of:
    1. a. requesting a data log file covering the time of the event from the event data recorder;
    2. b. receiving the data log file; and
    3. c. sending the data log file to the back office.
  56. 56. The method of aspect 10, further including the steps of:
    1. a. at least one digital video recorder, onboard the mobile asset, recording video and acoustics;
    2. b. requesting a digital video download covering the time of the event from the digital video recorder;
    3. c. receiving the digital video download; and
    4. d. sending the digital video download to a back office.
  57. 57. The system of aspect 28, wherein the software application
    1. a. requests a data log file covering the time of the event from the event data recorder;
    2. b. receives the data log file; and
    3. c. sends the data log file to the back office.
  58. 58. The system of aspect 34, wherein the software application
    1. a. receives signals from at least one digital video recorder onboard the mobile asset, said recorder recording video and acoustics;
    2. b. requests a digital video download covering the time of the event from the digital video recorder;
    3. c. receives the digital video download; and
    4. d. sends the digital video download to a back office.


[0041] The foregoing description of an illustrated embodiment of the invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description, and is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. The description was selected to best explain the principles of the invention and practical application of these principles to enable others skilled in the art to best utilize the invention in various embodiments and various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated. It is intended that the scope of the invention not be limited by the specification, but be defined by the claims set forth below.


Claims

1. A method for recording, processing and transmitting data from a mobile asset, comprising the steps of:

a. providing at least one event data recorder (38) onboard the mobile asset, monitoring real-time status input sensors and logging data relating to the mobile asset;

b. providing at least one inertial navigation sensor board (214) onboard the mobile asset, the board comprising a microcontroller (222) communicating with and processing data from a 3-axis accelerometer (20);

c. reading (18) an x-axis raw acceleration value (Ax), a y-axis raw acceleration value (Ay), and a z-axis raw acceleration value (Az) from the 3-axis accelerometer;

d. filtering (22) the x-axis raw acceleration value, the y-axis raw acceleration value, and the z-axis raw acceleration value into (24) an x-axis filtered acceleration value (Afx), a y-axis filtered acceleration value (Afy), and a z-axis filtered acceleration value (Afz);

e. translating (26) the inertial navigation sensor board's axes comprising the x-axis filtered acceleration value, the y-axis filtered acceleration value, and the z-axis filtered acceleration value to the mobile asset's axes, to determine an x-axis translated filtered acceleration value (Af'x), a y-axis translated filtered acceleration value (Af'y), and a z-axis translated filtered acceleration value (Af'z);

f. providing at least one fuel level sensor (210) measuring the amount of fuel inside a fuel tank;

g. calculating the mobile asset's pitch (58), wherein the mobile asset's pitch is determined by applying the equation:

h. calculating the mobile asset's roll (60), wherein the mobile asset's roll is determined by applying the equation:

i. determining a first distance (62) the fuel sensor is mounted forward of the center of the fuel tank;

j. determining a second distance (64) the fuel sensor is mounted left of the center of the fuel tank;

k. calculating a first fuel distance adjustment by combining the first distance (62) with the tangent of the mobile asset's pitch (58);

l. calculating a second fuel distance adjustment by combining the second distance (64) with the tangent of the mobile asset's roll (60);

m. calculating a third fuel distance adjustment (66) by combining the first fuel distance adjustment with the second fuel distance adjustment;

n. determining a raw distance (70) from the top of the fuel tank to the fuel level present in the fuel tank;

o. calculating an adjusted distance (72) by combining the raw distance (70) with the third fuel distance adjustment (66); and

p. calculating a fuel volume (76) by combining the adjusted distance (72) with a fuel tank geometric profile (74).


 
2. The method of claim 1, wherein:

the fuel level sensor (210) is an ultrasonic fuel level sensor;

said ultrasonic fuel level sensor using ultrasonic acoustic waves to determine the distance between a head of the sensor and the fuel level.


 
3. The method of claim 1, including the further step of:
providing fuel level sensor software generated data reflective of the distance from the fuel level to the fuel level sensor with fuel tank geometry, and converting said data into a steady fuel value.
 
4. The method of claim 3, including the step of:
applying mathematical filtering to reduce noise signals from fuel sloshing and ultrasonic behaviors of the fuel tank
 
5. The method of claim 1, further including the step of:
determining at least one of refuel and fuel drop events.
 
6. The method of claim 1, wherein:
the fuel volume data is adjusted as the mobile asset moves through various terrains, during which pitch and roll are changing.
 




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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