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Pseudonoise generation device and pseudonoise generation method

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20130016851 patent thumbnailZoom

Pseudonoise generation device and pseudonoise generation method


A determination part specifies the road width upon which the vehicle CR is traveling based on the current position of a vehicle CR detected by a position detection part, referring to road width information in a storage part. The part determines an arrival ranges for pseudonoise being outputted outside the vehicle based on the specified road width. Subsequently, a control part determines audio volume settings for pseudonoise from left and right speakers of a pseudonoise generation part, based on the determined arrival range. As a result, pseudonoise at audio volumes corresponding to the audio volume settings is outputted outside the vehicle from the speakers of the part. Thus, the output of the pseudo engine noise is properly controlled with in consideration for the presence of the possible subject to be warned in a variety of surroundings changed depending on the classification of the road.
Related Terms: Audio Rounding
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USPTO Applicaton #: #20130016851 - Class: 381 86 (USPTO) - 01/17/13 - Class 381 
Electrical Audio Signal Processing Systems And Devices > Vehicle



Inventors: Koji Asao, Junichi Tanaka

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20130016851, Pseudonoise generation device and pseudonoise generation method.

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TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a pseudonoise generation device, a pseudonoise generation method, a generation program for pseudonoise, and a recording medium in which the generation program is stored.

BACKGROUND ART

In recent years, electric automobiles employing batteries as a drive power source and hybrid cars employ the batteries as partial drive power source have become popular. When such an automobile uses the battery as the drive power source to drive, the drive noise level outside of the vehicle becomes dramatically lower as compared to those from a conventional gasoline vehicle. As a result, it may happen that a pedestrian or a cyclist does not notice a vehicle approaching to them from outside his field of view. The occurrence of the situation is a serious traffic safety problem.

Due to this, a technique has been proposed for outputting a running noise corresponding to the running condition of the vehicle outside the vehicle (see Patent Document #1, hereinafter, it is referred to as “prior art #1”). In the technique of the prior art #1, the running noise is output outside the vehicle ahead or the like through a speaker for generating a pseudonoise signal based on the detection results of the vehicle speed, the rotational speed of the motor as the power source, the accelerator position, and so on. Then, it is controlled whether the traveling sound is output or not, depending on a region type through which the vehicle is traveling.

Moreover, a technique has been proposed (see Patent Document #2, hereinafter called the “prior art #2”) for automatically warning a pedestrian existing ahead in a traveling direction of the vehicle, although it is not the technique for outputting a engine pseudonoise corresponds to the running condition of the vehicle or the like. In the technique of the prior art #2, a subject presents ahead in the traveling direction of the vehicle are detected. If the subject is detected, the subject is warned by using a warning sound outputted from the speaker.

PRIOR ART DOCUMENTS Patent Literature

Patent Document #1: Japanese Laid—Open Patent Publication 2005-253236 Patent Document #2: Japanese Laid—Open Patent Publication Heisei 7-209424

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION Problems to be Solved by the Invention

The technique of the prior art #1 controls the execution/non-execution of pseudonoise output, depending on the region type through which the vehicle is traveling. However, it does not control the pseudonoise output in consideration of the road condition upon which the vehicle is traveling. As a result, if the region type is the same, it cannot control the running noise output with consideration for the probable presence of the pedestrian or the cyclist or the like around the vehicle.

Moreover, the technique of the prior art #2 outputs the warning sound only in cases which the subject exists ahead in the traveling direction is detected. As a result, for example, the vehicle approach cannot be warned, when the pedestrian, the cyclist or the like cannot be detected because they are hidden by a building or the like.

Due to this, the technique is eagerly awaited for properly alerting the pedestrian, the cyclist or the like to the approach of the vehicle, even if they cannot be detected by the vehicle. It is raised as one of the problems to be solved by the present invention for responding a request.

The present invention has been completed under the above-mentioned circumstances. Its object is to provide a pseudonoise generation device and a method for generating pseudonoise, wherein the pseudonoise is properly controlled, considering to the probability of the subject to be warned, which changes depending on the lane class upon which the vehicle is traveling.

Means for Solving the Problems

When viewed from a first standpoint, the present invention is a pseudonoise generation device that is mounted to a vehicle and outputs pseudonoise from a sound output unit to the outside of said vehicle, characterized by comprising: a storage unit in which is stored map information that includes road width information; a position detection unit that detects the current position of said vehicle; a determination unit that determines a pseudonoise arrival range over which pseudonoise outputted from said sound output unit is to arrive, on the basis of road width information for the road upon which said vehicle is traveling; and a control unit that controls the output of pseudonoise from said sound output unit to correspond to said range that has been determined.

And, when viewed from a second standpoint, the present invention is a pseudonoise generation method employed by a pseudonoise generation device that outputs pseudonoise from a sound output unit to the outside of a vehicle, characterized by comprising: an acquisition process of acquiring road width information for the road upon which said vehicle is traveling; a determination process of determining a pseudonoise arrival range over which pseudonoise outputted from said sound output unit should arrive, on the basis of said acquired road width information; and a control process of controlling the output of pseudonoise from said sound output unit to correspond to said range that has been determined.

Moreover, when viewed from the third standpoint, the present invention is a generation program for vehicle-evocative sound, wherein it causes a calculation part to execute a generation method for vehicle-evocative sound according to the present invention.

Furthermore, when viewed from the fourth standpoint, the present invention is a recording medium, wherein a generation program for vehicle-evocative sound according to the present invention is recorded thereon so as to be readable by a calculation part.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a block diagram for explaining the configuration of a generation device for pseudonoise of the first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is the block diagram for explaining the configuration of a pseudonoise generation device according to the second embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is the block diagram for explaining the configuration of a navigation device according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a figure for explaining the configuration of a pseudonoise generation unit of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 is a flow chart for explaining a pseudonoise generation control processing performed by a control unit of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is the flow chart for explaining the first road width processing of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is the figure for explaining an arrival range for engine pseudonoise due to first normal output processing of FIG. 6;

FIG. 8 is the figure for explaining an arrival range for engine pseudonoise due to first extended range output processing of FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is the flow chart for explaining second road width processing of FIG. 5;

FIG. 10 is the figure for explaining an arrival range for engine pseudonoise due to second normal output processing of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is the figure for explaining an arrival range for engine pseudonoise due to third normal output processing of FIG. 9;

FIG. 12 is the flow chart for explaining third road width processing of FIG. 5; and

FIG. 13 is the figure for explaining an arrival range for engine pseudonoise due to fourth normal output processing of FIG. 12.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Embodiments of the present invention are explained with reference to the appended drawings. Note that the same or equivalent elements are given the same reference symbols to omit the duplication in the explanation and drawings in below.

The First Embodiment

First, the first embodiment of the present invention is explained with reference to FIG. 1.

<Configuration>

FIG. 1 shows the schematic configuration of a pseudonoise generation device 700A of the first embodiment. As shown in FIG. 1, the pseudonoise generation device 700A is mounted to a vehicle CR.

The pseudonoise generation device 700A comprises a storage part 710 and a position detection part 720. Moreover, the pseudonoise generation device 700A comprises a determination part 740, a control part 750, and a pseudonoise generation part 760A.

A variety of information utilized by the device 700A is stored in the part 710. The information comprises map information. The map information includes road width information and the information opposite lane presence information.

The position detection part 720 detects the current position of the vehicle CR. The current position detected by the position detection part 720 is sent to the determination part 740A.

The determination part 740A receives the current position of the vehicle CR sent from the position detection part 720. The determination part 740A determines ranges over which pseudonoise being outputted to the outside of the vehicle by the pseudonoise generation part 760A should arrive (hereinafter, it is referred to as simply the “arrival ranges”) on the basis of the current position, referring to the map information in the storage part 710. The determined arrival ranges for pseudonoise are sent to the control part 750. Note that the determination processing by the determination part 740A is described hereinafter.

The control part 750 receives the arrival ranges from the determination part 740A. The control part 750 sends audio volume settings necessary for ensuring the arrival ranges to the sound output part 760A.

The pseudonoise generation part 760A comprises a pseudonoise signal generation part, an audio volume adjustment part, and one or more speakers. In the first embodiment, the pseudonoise generation part 760A includes two speakers: a left speaker for outputting the sound ahead of the vehicle CR on the left, and a right speaker for outputting the sound ahead of it on the right. Note that the control part 750 provides mutually independent volume settings for each of the left and the right speakers.

The pseudonoise generation part 760A receives audio volume settings from the control part 750. In the pseudonoise generation part 760A, the audio volume adjustment part adjusts the pseudonoise signals generated by the pseudonoise signal generation part 760A according to the audio volume settings, and thereby pseudonoise is outputted outside the vehicle CR from the speakers.

<Operation>

Next, the operation of the pseudonoise generation device 700A having the configuration is explained. Note that the position detection part 720 detects the current position of the vehicle CR to send periodically it to the determination part 740A.

Upon receipt of the current position of the vehicle CR, the determination part 740A specifies the road width upon which the vehicle CR is currently traveling on the basis of the current position, referring to the map information in the storage part 710. Subsequently, the determination part 740A decides the first threshold value decision whether the specified road width is not larger than the first threshold value. Here, the “first threshold value” is determined in advance on the basis of investigation, experience and so on, from the standpoint such that it is difficult for the vehicles to passé one another and the pedestrians or bicycles can be passing on both sides of the road.

If the first threshold value decision result is affirmative, the determination part 740A determines the first predetermined range, which has symmetrical range to the traveling direction of the vehicle MV, as the arrival range. Here, the “first predetermined range” is determined in advance on the basis of investigation, experience and so on, from the standpoint for alerting the attention of the approach of the vehicle to the pedestrian or bicycle on either side of a road of which is not larger than the predetermined threshold value.

If the first threshold value decision result is negative, if the road width decision result is negative, the determination part 740 decides whether the vehicle is traveling on the road supposed to have the opposite vehicle lane, referring to the map information in the storage part 710 on the basis of the current position. If the opposite vehicle lane decision result is negative, the determination part 740 determines the broader range for the side, on which the pedestrian or the like may be present (hereinafter, it is referred to as the “pedestrian side”), than the first predetermined range as the pseudonoise arrival range (hereinafter, it is referred to as a “pedestrian side expanded range”). The side means the left side in a country where drivers keep to the right side of the road under a law, and the right side in the country where drivers keep to the right side of the road under the law. On the other hand, if the opposite vehicle lane decision result is affirmative, the determination part 740A determines a range, of which becomes minimal on the opposite vehicle lane side against the traveling direction of the vehicle CR as the arrival range; namely, the side where no pedestrian or the like is present.

When the arrival ranges is thus determined, the determination part 740 sends the determined arrival range to the control part 750. Upon receipt of the arrival range, the control part 750 calculates the audio volumes to be set.

Here, the control part 750 calculates the first audio volume setting as the audio volume setting for both the left and the right speakers, when the arrival range is the predetermined range. Note that the “first audio volume setting” is determined in advance on the basis of experiment, simulation, experience and so on, from the standpoint that it arrives inside the first predetermined range.

Furthermore, the control part 750 calculates louder audio volume setting than the first audio volume setting as the audio volume setting for the speaker on the pedestrian side, when the pedestrian side range is the pedestrian side expanded range. On the other hand, the control part 750 calculates the first audio volume setting as the audio volume setting for the other speaker.

Moreover, the control part 750 sets the audio volume setting for the speaker on the opposite vehicle lane side to 0, when the pedestrian side range is minimal. On the other hand, the control part 750 calculates the first audio volume setting as the audio volume setting for the other speaker.

Note that, in the first embodiment, the control part 750 makes the audio volume setting for the speaker on the pedestrian side louder, depending on the road width upon which the vehicle is traveling, referring to the road width information in the storage part 710.

When the audio volume settings have been thus calculated, the control part 750 sends the calculated audio volume settings to the pseudonoise generation part 760A. Upon receipt of the audio volume setting, the pseudonoise generation part 760A outputs pseudonoises to the outside of the vehicle CR from the speakers, adjusting the audio volumes thereof according to the audio volume setting.

As explained above, in the first embodiment, the determination part 740A specifies the road width, upon which road the vehicle CR is traveling, on the basis of the current position of the vehicle CR as detected by the position detection part 720, referring to the road width information in the storage part 710. The determination part 740A determines the arrival ranges for the pseudonoise being outputted to the outside of the vehicle on the basis of the specified road width. Subsequently, the control part 750 calculates audio volume settings for the pseudonoises being outputted from the left and right speakers of the sound output part 760A, on the basis of the determined arrival ranges. As a result, the pseudonoises having audio volumes corresponding to the audio volume settings are outputted to the outside of the vehicle from the left and right speakers of the pseudonoise generation part 760A.

Therefore, in the first embodiment, according to the first embodiment, the output of the pseudonoise during traveling is controlled, considering the possibility for the existence of the subject in the circumstances that change depending on the classes of the road.

Moreover, in the first embodiment, if the specified road width is not larger than the first predetermined value, the determination part 740 determines the arrival ranges as the predetermined range having symmetrical range against the traveling direction of the vehicle CR. Furthermore, if the specified road width is wider than the first predetermined value without opposite vehicle lane, the determination part 740 determines the range, which is broader in the side where the pedestrian or the like is highly possible to be present nearby against the traveling direction of the vehicle CR than the first predetermined range. Yet further, if the specified road width is wider than the first threshold value with the opposite vehicle lane, the determination part 740 determines the range, of which area is minimal, as the arrival range on the opposite vehicle lane side against the traveling direction of the vehicle CR, namely, the side where no pedestrian or the like is present.

Due to this, in the first embodiment, the pseudonoise may be output at a reasonable output audio volume, considering the presence of the subject to be alerted.

The Second Embodiment

Next, the second embodiment of the present invention is explained with reference to FIG. 2.

<Configuration>

FIG. 2 shows the schematic configuration of a pseudonoise generation device 700B of the second embodiment. As shown in FIG. 2, the pseudonoise generation device 700B is mounted to a vehicle CR as the same as the pseudonoise generation device 700A.

As compared to the pseudonoise generation device 700A, the pseudonoise generation device 700B different in the features therein it comprises a determination part 740B instead of 740A, a pseudonoise generation part 760B instead of 760A, and additionally an acquisition part 730 and a calculation part 735. In the following, the configuration is explained principally focusing on the feature.

Note that, in the second embodiment, the position detection part 720 detects the current position to send it to the calculation part 735 and to the determination part 740B.

The acquisition part 730 acquires the traveling direction of the vehicle CR. The traveling direction acquired by the acquisition part 730 is sent to the calculation part 735 and to the determination part 740B.

Moreover, the acquisition part 730 acquires the vehicle speed detected by a vehicle speed sensor fitted to the vehicle CR. The acquired vehicle speed information by the acquisition part 730 is sent to the determination part 740B.

Moreover, among a variety of physical quantities detected by other sensors fitted to the vehicle CR, the acquisition part 730 acquires accelerator information such as the accelerator pedal depressed amount and so on and rotational speed information for the motor and so on. The acquired accelerator information and the rotational speed information by the acquisition part 730 are sent to the pseudonoise generation part 760B.

The calculation part 735 receives the current position of the vehicle CR sent from the position detection part 720 and the traveling direction of the vehicle CR sent from the acquisition part 730. The calculation part 735 calculates the running distance from the current position to the intersection, at which the road upon which the vehicle CR is traveling and some other road intersect (hereinafter, it is referred to as the “calculated distance”), referring to the map information in the storage part 710 on the basis of the current position and the traveling direction. The calculated distance is sent to the determination part 740B.

The determination part 740B receives the current position of the vehicle CR sent from the position detection part 720, the traveling direction and the vehicle speed information sent from the acquisition part 730, and the calculated distance sent from the calculation part 735. The determination part 740B determines the arrival range for pseudonoise being outputted towards the outside of the vehicle by the pseudonoise generation part 760B on the basis of the current position and the traveling direction of the vehicle CR, referring to the map information in the storage part 710, the vehicle speed information, and the calculated distance. The arrival ranges for pseudonoise are sent to the control part 750. Note that the determination processing by the determination part 740B is described hereinafter.

The pseudonoise generation part 760B is composed of a pseudonoise signal generation part, an audio volume adjustment part, and a left and right speakers similar to the pseudonoise generation part 760A. However, the function of the pseudonoise signal generation part is different from that of the pseudonoise generation part 760A. In the pseudonoise generation part 760B, the pseudonoise signal generation part receives the accelerator information and the rotational speed information. The pseudonoise signal generation part generates the pseudonoise signal having a waveform corresponding to the combination of the accelerator information and the rotational speed information.

<Operation>

Next, the operation of the pseudonoise generation device 700B having the configuration is explained. Note that the position detection part 720 detects the current position of the vehicle CR to periodically send it to the calculation part 735 and to the determination part 740B. Moreover, the acquisition part 730 periodically acquires the traveling direction, the vehicle speed information, the accelerator information, and the rotational speed information; then it sends it the detected traveling direction to the calculation part 735 and to the determination part 740B. It sends the acquired vehicle speed information to the determination part 740B, and also sends the acquired accelerator information and the acquired rotational speed information to the pseudonoise generation part 760B.

Upon receipt of the current position and the traveling direction of the vehicle CR, the calculation part 735 calculates the running distance along that traveling direction to the intersection of the road on which the vehicle CR is traveling, at which the road intersects other road, referring to the map information in the storage part 710. The calculation part 735 sends the calculated distance to the determination part 740B.

Upon receipt of the current position of the vehicle CR, the vehicle speed information, and the calculated distance, the determination part 740 firstly sets a predetermined distance on the basis of this vehicle speed information. Here, the determination part 740B sets the predetermined distance responding to the vehicle speed, from the standpoint for ensuring a necessary appropriate time period to the intersection for making the notification of the approach of the vehicle CR by pseudonoise to be effective as a warning.

Subsequently, the determination part 740B decides an intersection position distance whether the calculated distance is not larger than the predetermined distance. If the intersection position distance decision result is negative, determination processing for the arrival ranges is performed as the same as the case of the determination part 740A.

Note that, in the second embodiment, the determination part 740B further decides whether the width of the road upon which the vehicle is traveling is not less than the second threshold value. If the decision result is negative, and if the intersection position distances decision result is affirmative, the determination part 740B determines the second predetermined range of which is minimal as being the arrival range. Here, the “second threshold value” is a width of the road, on the either side, there is little possibility that the pedestrian or the like exists, such as a highway. It is determined in advance on the basis of investigation and experience and so on.

On the other hand, if the intersection position distance decision result is affirmative, the determination part 740B decides whether the road other than the one upon which the vehicle is traveling extends to either the left side, to the right side, or to both sides, referring to the map information in the storage part 710. When the other road extends only to the left side, the determination part 740B determines a range, which is broader in the left side along the traveling direction of the vehicle than the first predetermined range, and includes at least the position of the intersection, as the arrival range.

Furthermore, when the other road extends only to the right side, the determination part 740B determines the range, which is broader in the right side along the traveling direction of the vehicle than the first predetermined range, and includes at least the position of the intersection, as the arrival range. Moreover, when the other road extends both to the left and right sides, the determination part 740B determines the range, which has symmetrical range against the traveling direction of the vehicle CR and includes at least the intersection on its side closer to the vehicle CR.

Note that, in the second embodiment, the determination part 740B narrows the arrival ranges width as the calculated distance becomes shorter. It determines the same range as that determined in the first embodiment in the time point of the calculation distance is “0”.

When the arrival ranges have been thus determined, the determination part 740B sends the determined arrival range to the control part 750. Upon receipt of the arrival range, the control part 750 calculates audio volume settings corresponding to the arrival range. Note that the control part 750 sets the audio volume settings for the pseudonoises to be outputted from the left and the right speakers both to 0, when the arrival range is minimal.

When the audio volume settings have been thus calculated, the control part 750 sends the calculated audio volume settings to the pseudonoise generation part 760B. Upon receipt of the audio volume settings, the pseudonoise generation part 760B outputs pseudonoises corresponding to the generated pseudonoise signals on the basis of the accelerator information and the rotational speed information to the outside of the vehicle CR from the speakers, adjusting the audio volume according to the audio volume settings.

As explained above, in this second embodiment, the determination part 740B specifies the width of the road upon which the vehicle CR is traveling on the basis of the current position of the vehicle CR detected by the position detection part 720, referring to the road width information in the storage part 710 as the same as the case in the first embodiment. The determination part 740B determines the pseudonoise arrival ranges being outputted to the outside of the vehicle on the basis of the specified road width. Subsequently, the control part 750 calculates audio volume settings for the pseudonoises being outputted from the left and right speakers of the pseudonoise generation part 760B on the basis of the determined arrival ranges. As a result, pseudonoises at audio volumes corresponding to the audio volume settings are outputted to the outside of the vehicle from the left and right speakers of the pseudonoise generation part 760B.

Due to this, according to the first example, the output of the pseudonoise is controlled, considering the possibility for the existence of the subject that change depending on the classes of the road.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20130016851 A1
Publish Date
01/17/2013
Document #
13637283
File Date
03/25/2010
USPTO Class
381 86
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
04B1/00
Drawings
11


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