Getting smart with handles, mirrors

  • 12-Jul-2010 08:50 EDT
Magna-logo-light.jpg

A door handle with projection lighting provides illumination to a dark ground area near the vehicle. Projection lighting can include a customer's logo.


Flush-to-vehicle exterior door handles and frameless rearview mirrors are patent-pending technologies from Magna that will be production-ready in 2012.

Magna's proprietary powered flush door handle is triggered to open when an occupant is at a predetermined distance from the vehicle.

"The keyless entry fob will sense a low-frequency signal and trigger the fob to send a signal back to the vehicle's receiver/sensor. Upon receiving and authenticating the signal, the flush door handle's proprietary actuator pivots around a fixed point, providing an angled handle-grab for the driver," said Tony Dingman, Door Handles Product Manager for Magna Mirrors of America.

A door handle—including the powered flush variety—can be the source point for illuminating a multicolor logo or emblem onto the ground.

"The system is designed with a printed circuit board that includes a high-intensity LED. A high-resolution image is bonded to a lens that is mounted below the LED. An additional lens is mounted at the bottom of the assembly to control the size and clarity of the projected image," Dingman said. The vehicle branding and safety technology is expected to go into production in 2012 for the North American market.

Information also can be displayed on a rearview mirror, including Magna's frameless prismatic interior mirror that goes into production in model year 2012 for European and North American markets, according to Kevin Burke, Director of Business Development for Magna Mirrors of America.

"We've improved the forward field of view by eliminating the plastic bezel housing. The patent-pending prismatic mirror is also a multifeature device because the mirror's backside has cavities for compass, temperature, and telematics electronic modules," said Burke.

A package of electronic safety systems makes use of the rearview mirror.

"A forward-looking camera—mounted on the windshield so the wipers can keep the view clear—is tucked up by the rearview mirror to keep it out of the driver's vision," said Chris Van Dan Elzen, Product Manager for Driver Assistance Systems at the Rochester Hills, MI, Magna Electronics Technical Center.

Current production vehicle applications use a Magna front-sensing camera for lane-departure warning and high-beam headlamp control. But at a ride-and-drive media event in June, Magna engineers demonstrated using a machine vision front camera to handle several duties simultaneously.

"The camera handles five tasks: lane tracking, looking for pedestrians, vehicle tracking, tracking taillights and headlamps, as well as reading traffic signs. When the camera is paired with the appropriate hardware, electronic controls, and software, we're able to provide lane-departure warning, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, automatic high-beam control, and vision adaptive cruise control," explained Van Dan Elzen.

Magna's forward-sensing camera system is slated for production in July 2011 and will have different combinations of the five previously referenced technology features.

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