Invented by D Scott Watkins, Craig A Tieman, Mobile Video Computing Solutions LLC

The market for Crash event detection and response apparatus and method has been witnessing significant growth in recent years. With the increasing number of road accidents and the need for immediate response and assistance, the demand for advanced crash detection and response systems has surged.

Crash event detection and response apparatus and methods are designed to detect and respond to vehicular accidents promptly. These systems utilize various technologies such as sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze the impact and severity of a crash. Once a crash is detected, these systems automatically trigger a response, including alerting emergency services, notifying nearby vehicles, and activating safety measures.

One of the key drivers of the market growth is the rising concern for road safety. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1.35 million people die each year due to road accidents, making it a major public health issue. Governments and regulatory bodies across the globe are implementing stringent safety regulations, mandating the installation of crash detection and response systems in vehicles.

Moreover, the increasing adoption of connected cars and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) has further propelled the demand for crash event detection and response apparatus and methods. These systems can be integrated with existing ADAS technologies, enhancing the overall safety of vehicles. The ability to provide real-time crash data and emergency response services has made these systems indispensable for both individual vehicle owners and fleet operators.

Furthermore, the growing popularity of autonomous vehicles is expected to drive the market growth. As self-driving cars become more prevalent on the roads, the need for crash detection and response systems becomes even more critical. These systems can help autonomous vehicles identify and respond to crashes, ensuring the safety of passengers and other road users.

The market for crash event detection and response apparatus and methods is highly competitive, with several key players vying for market share. Companies are investing heavily in research and development to develop innovative and technologically advanced systems. They are also focusing on strategic partnerships and collaborations to expand their product offerings and reach a wider customer base.

North America currently dominates the market, owing to the presence of major automotive manufacturers and the high adoption rate of advanced safety technologies. However, the Asia Pacific region is expected to witness significant growth in the coming years, driven by the increasing number of vehicles on the road and the rising awareness regarding road safety.

In conclusion, the market for crash event detection and response apparatus and methods is experiencing robust growth due to the rising concern for road safety and the increasing adoption of connected cars and autonomous vehicles. With technological advancements and stringent safety regulations, the demand for these systems is expected to continue to rise in the foreseeable future.

The Mobile Video Computing Solutions LLC invention works as follows

A crash detection system with mobile communications device that periodically interrogates (a) motion signals to determine if a change in movement (acceleration, angular rotation, etc.) exceeds predetermined motion thresholds and (b), sound signals to determine if a sequence sensed sound within a preset period matches crash sound indicator of (i) broken glass and (ii), metal folding. Displaying selectable options on detection of a collision incident and, upon failure to select during a preset period, communicating a

Background for Crash event detection and response apparatus and method

In recent years, the installation and operation of safety devices in motor vehicles, as well as improved roads, traffic control devices and other devices installed in motor vehicles, has resulted to safer motor vehicle transportation. Accidents and incidents involving motor vehicles, including cars and trucks, continue to happen. Vehicle-to-vehicle accidents and single-vehicle accidents are included. Most of these incidents happen in places where emergency personnel can be easily directed to provide towing and medical services. However, there are some cases in which the vehicle disappears and the driver is not seen.

Monitoring services also ask, “How am I driving?” Reports are typically used by fleet operators to monitor the driving activities of vehicle drivers, but parents with children who are new or inexperienced motorists have also become interested in monitoring.

The systems have some drawbacks. Operators may be injured, or prevented from initiating communication. The operator could be driving a different car, such as a rented vehicle.

Accordingly, there exists a need for a system and method that is improved for detecting motor vehicle incidents and responding to them, as well as tracking and reporting the detection and response to motor vehicle accident occurrences. The present invention is directed at such a situation.

The present invention addresses the need of the art with a motor vehicle accident detection system. It comprises a tracking and dispatch centre having a computer-processor configured with an electronic device that stores driver information such as driver name, address and insurance company for a number of drivers, and vehicle crash data including motor vehicle, crash location information, date and time and optionally, one or multiple sequences of sound from a crash site, one or several images thereof for a number of crashed motor vehicles. The plurality mobile communication devices are configured with sensors that respond to the changes in the motion of each device. They also have sound receivers for receiving sound signals near the device. Software instructions are programmed into the mobile communications device that, upon execution, monitor for the occurrence of crash events by periodically interrogating either (a) motion signals to determine if a change in movement exceeds a preset motion threshold or (b), sound signals to determine if a sequence sensed within a specified period matches crash sound indicator sounds of (i), glass breakage and/or (ii), metal folding. The mobile communications devices are equipped with a display which, upon determining that the crash event has occurred, displays an possible event window. Users can select one of two options: (a) return the device to monitoring the crash occurrence or (b) confirm the crash occurrence. The mobile communication device communicates via a communications network, upon confirmation of the accident or failure to select one of the options within a specified period, an identifier for the device as well as crash incident data of location, date, and time, to the tracking center. Based on the location data, the tracking and dispatch centre dispatches a response servicer at least to the site of the accident. Response servicer provides an imaging device as well as a communication device. Images from the imaging device are communicated to the tracking center by the communications device via the network. The tracking and dispatch centre notifies a claims servicer of the identifier, crash event details and the information. The claims service center is configured to service an insurance claim that arises from the crash.

The following detailed description, together with the accompanying drawings and claims, will enable you to determine the objects, advantages and features of this invention.

Referring to the drawings in which similar parts are given like reference numbers, FIG. The figure 1 shows a schematic view of a illustrative embodiment 10 of a crash-detection, response and reporting apparatus in accordance with this invention. The apparatus 10 provides motor vehicle tracking and insurance services to drivers of motor vehicles 12, using a computer application 14 that is configured for crash response, reporting and detection. The mobile communication device 16 comprises a microprocessor, a communications module and a display. Mobile communications devices include, but are not limited to, cellular phones, tablet computers, laptop portable computers, or any other similar microprocessor devices configured with an Operating System, information input (mouses, keyboards, touchscreens, real or virtual) and a display for presenting information during the operation of the application. Cellular telephones are becoming more common. The application 14 installed on the cellular phone in the driver’s possession during motor vehicle operation and operating in background mode provides a passively-present crash detection, response and reporting feature to drivers and others interested in the driver and motor vehicle status. The mobile communication device 16 comprises an accelerometer 17a configured to detect changes in linear speed and a gyroscope (17b) (one or multiple axes) configured to detect changes in angular movement of the device. The accelerometer 17a and gyroscopes 17b detect changes to the motion of the mobile communication device, and may therefore indicate changes in the state of the motor vehicle. (i.e. a potential accident based on rapid acceleration changes and/or rapid angular changes). The application 14 periodically interrogates the mobile communication device to determine changes in its motion (acceleration or angular rotation). It does this by communicating with the accelerometer 17a and the gyroscope17b and receiving one of more motion signals. The accelerometer 17a and/or the gyroscope may be separate devices installed in the vehicle that communicate with the mobile communication device 16.

The apparatus 10 comprises a central tracking/dispatch centre 18, with a processor or computer server 20. The computer server 20, which includes storage or memory devices, is designed to maintain (add, update, revise) a database 21, with the information stored on the storage device. The tracking/dispatch centre 18’s database 21 receives the information from the mobile communication device and the sound signals that were used to determine the crash, and stores them. The database also maintains information on drivers, such as their name, address, policy number, and insurance company, and vehicle crash data for multiple vehicles, including crash location information, date, time, and one or more sound sequences from the crash site. The computer server 20 can also be configured to analyze and report on the status motor vehicles whose information has been tracked through the database of central tracking/dispatch centre 18.

The apparatus 10 contains one or more response services. They may be independent providers or dependents of the central tracking/dispatch centre 18. As a response service, the illustrated embodiment has a number of tow truck features/services 22. The response service includes a tow truck 22 and a portable lantern camera/communications device 24. The portable lantern 24 is equipped with a high-wattage lamp 25, a camera 27 and a communication device 29. The light 25 can be operated selectively for night illumination. The camera 27 can be operated in either video or still mode to capture the crash, the location, the motor vehicles involved, as well as other documentation. The communications device 29 allows two-way communication, via cellular phone, radio or other means, to communicate with those involved in the accident, the central tracking/dispatch centre 18, the towing service provider or others, as necessary. Live images can be sent to the appropriate parties, such as emergency services providers, dispatcher 18, or other relevant recipients. In the embodiment illustrated, the tow vehicle 23 may include digital video recording equipment and telecommunications gear 19 (i.e. MDVRs and multiple cameras are used to communicate images to the server 20 as well as capture multiple video images using the tow vehicle and the portable lantern camera 24, which communicates through and with the telecommunications gear. In another alternative embodiment, the MDVR/lantern camera 24 is used to provide on-site imaging. There is no MDVR mounted on the truck, but there are other wireless cameras, such as those carried by the responder or the truck, that communicate with the server 20 through the MDVR/lantern camera 24. In another embodiment, the mobile lantern device 24 can be implemented as a smartphone equipped with a video camera, a transceiver for cellular communications and a microprocessor. The microprocessor includes a software program for selectively activating an imager to receive images (videos or separate images) of a crash scene, storing them and selectively transmitting the images via the network. The light is used to illuminate a crash scene at night.

The apparatus 10 also includes a claims processor 26 which provides motor vehicle claim information and processing to insurance companies, motor vehicle owners and operators (such as fleet operators) and motor vehicle operators.

The application 14, dispatch 18, ISP(independent service provider), 22, and the insurance claim servicer 26 all communicate via a communication network 30 that includes wireless, cellular (two-way), telephony (two-way), World Wide Web communications devices and connections and other suitable electronic devices.

The server 20 has a database 21 that is used to track motor vehicles and drivers who are registered with the service. This can be done by a fleet operator or an insurance company, as a service provided to its insureds, or even independently, such as for parents of young drivers. The apparatus 10 can also be usefully used by a separate fleet operator.

FIG. The process flow 50 is shown in FIG. 2 for an embodiment of application 14 that can be used with a mobile communications device 16 to detect, respond and report a crash according to the present invention. The driver 52 initiates the operation of application 14. The driver initiates 52 operation of the application 14.

The application 14 monitors the 54 for indicators of an accident event. In the illustrative example, the application 14 begins its crash detection monitoring function when it detects motion exceeding a predetermined speed. The application 14 periodically interrogates and receives an acceleration signal from the accelerometer. In an alternate embodiment, the gyroscope (17 b) detects changes in rotational angularity. In this embodiment, the application 14 periodically interrogates gyroscopes 17 b to receive angular rotation signals that indicate rapid rotation of the mobile communications device (for instance, rolling of a vehicle). The mobile communication device 16 has a microphone or sound receiver.

The crash indicator includes the motor vehicle movement signal and the sounds received near the mobile communication device 16. Motion signals can be acceleration signals 56, angular rotation signals or both. The application 14 receives periodic 60 motion information from the force measuring device or accelerometer, and alternatively, the angular rotating signals 57 from angular measurement device. Audio signals are also received by the application 14 through the microphone. A possible crash is indicated by rapid declarations, rapid rotational changes, and sounds of metal folding or glass breaking. The crash indicator database 62 contains motion and sound thresholds that are correlated with accidents or crashes. The data is processed 64, and then compared to standards stored in the database 62. This allows 65 to determine whether or not a crash event occurred. The apparatus will continue to monitor 66 for signals of a crash event if the data is not found. “The use of multiple indicators to indicate a crash event reduces false alarms.

Monitoring Crash Event Indications 54″ involves detecting sounds using a mobile device’s microphone that exceeds a threshold. It also includes detecting acceleration changes with 3-axis accelerometers (x-y-z) that exceeds a threshold. The application 14 can check GPS-based speeds to see if the mobile communication device has slowed down, rotated rapidly, or stopped moving after detecting high threshold events. The application 14 will reject the detected event 82 if the GPS-based speeds are unchanged. It will then return to crash monitoring 54. If the GPS-based speed indicated slowing/rotation/stopping, the processing of the sound and motion recording files, which would include recording for a predetermined period of pre-event sound and motion information and post-event recording of such information for a second predetermined period.

In an illustrative example, the application 14 keeps a database for recording audio and motion signals during monitoring. The database can be configured to maintain a leading portion (pre-event), which is a period of time preceding a possible crash, and a following portion (post event), which is a period of time after the crash. The database is uploaded to the central dispatch/tracking center 18 when a notification of a crash event is sent to the center. The database 21 at the tracking/dispatch centre 18 receives the information and sound signals from the mobile communication device 16 and stores them. This information is received via a communications network 30, which was communicated by the mobile communication device 16. The database 21 also maintains information about drivers, including their name, address, policy number, and insurance company, as well as vehicle crash data. This includes information on the motor vehicle, crash location information, date, time, and one or more sound sequences from a crash site.

If the application determines that 68 a crash event is possible, it alerts 70 to the driver. In the illustrated embodiment, both motion and sound crash indicators are determined to be true (i.e. exceeding respective thresholds). A crash event may not be determined if only one of the sound threshold, acceleration threshold or angular rotation threshold is exceeded. Processing would then return to monitor 54. Combinations may indicate an event. The alert 70 displays a visual message (see FIG. The alert 70 displays a visual message 104 (see FIG. The alert 70 can include a loud audio tone to attract the driver’s focus to the mobile communication device 16. If the driver responds in the negative, the application 14 returns to monitor 54 processing. The application will present 72 options for the driver to choose from, such as contacting 911 or an emergency contact, contacting the insurance company, requesting roadside assistance or cancelling, as described below with reference to FIG. 6.

The application 14 will initiate assistance if the driver fails to respond 72 within a certain time period (for instance, 60 seconds). This includes notifying emergency centers (such local police authorities) 72, notifying the central tracking/dispatch centre 18 and the initial accident notification center 26. This application can also determine 80 if the information from the accelerometers and sounds should be uploaded into the crash indicator database.

The driver can select whether to ignore the crash event (i.e. no crash occurred) or initiate a telephone call to local authorities, contact insurance carriers, or request assistance. The application updates the driver 88 on the status of assistance requested. These updates may include, for example contact information of a tow-truck operator and the arrival time. The driver can choose to cancel 89 notifications and the processing of crash events by the application 14.

The application 14 synchronizes with the drivers, the date, time, location, and severity of the accident. This information is used for accident reconstruction and to predict potential losses and injuries. It also helps the motorists involved in the crash report the event accurately, while assisting official investigation reports. The motion information detected (e.g. the acceleration signal, and the angular rotating signal) provides additional information that is useful for accident reconstruction evaluations.

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