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HONDA MOTOR CO LTD

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Japan - Researchers Submit Patent Application, “Vehicle Control Device”, for Approval (USPTO 20190225217): Honda Motor Co. Ltd.

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08/14/2019 | 05:24pm EDT

2019 AUG 14 (NewsRx) -- By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Daily Asia Business -- From Washington, D.C., NewsRx journalists report that a patent application by the inventors TSUKADA, Takemi (WAKO-SHI, SAITAMA-KEN, Japan), filed on September 27, 2016, was made available online on July 25, 2019.

The patent’s assignee is Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: “Japanese Laid-Open Patent Publication No. 2016-050900 discloses an automated driving assistance system that performs a takeover to manual driving by the driver when encountering a situation where automated driving is difficult during the automated driving of the vehicle. As specific examples of situations where automated driving is difficult, it shows a situation where a right or left turn is made at an intersection, a situation where a lane change or merging needs to be done in a short distance, and bad weather conditions. In the automated driving assistance system, when a vehicle traveling by automated driving has approached an intersection at which it is going to make a right/left turn, a guidance to prompt manual driving is output to the driver from the vehicle side. Further, if the driver will not take over the driving and when there is a route that can be traveled by continuing along the road, the system makes the vehicle travel along the route by automated driving. On the other hand, when there is no route that can be traveled by continuing along the road, the system brings the vehicle into an emergency stop.”

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, NewsRx correspondents also obtained the inventors’ summary information for this patent application: “The automated driving assistance system described in Japanese Laid-Open Patent Publication No. 2016-050900 does not consider how the velocity of the vehicle is controlled when it prompts the driver to perform manual driving.

“The present invention was made in view of such a problem, and an object thereof is to provide a vehicle control apparatus that is capable of appropriately controlling the velocity of a vehicle when demanding manual driving of the driver.

“Solution to Problem

“A first aspect of the present invention is a vehicle control apparatus that makes a vehicle travel by automated driving and demands manual driving of a driver when at least one of one or more predetermined conditions holds, the vehicle control apparatus includes: a condition determination unit configured to determine whether any of the predetermined conditions holds or not; and a deceleration selection unit configured to select whether to decelerate the vehicle or not at a time of demanding manual driving based on one or more of the predetermined conditions that hold. In the first aspect, the velocity can be appropriately controlled at the time of demanding manual driving of the driver in accordance with the cause of the demand for manual driving.

“The vehicle control apparatus according to the first aspect may include: a route recognition unit configured to recognize a planned travel route of the vehicle; and a host vehicle recognition unit configured to recognize a current position of the vehicle, wherein the condition determination unit may be configured to determine that at least one of the predetermined conditions holds when a node that involves a course change or a change in a direction of travel is included in the planned travel route within a predetermined distance from the current position, and the deceleration selection unit may be configured to select not to decelerate the vehicle when the node is included in the planned travel route within the predetermined distance from the current position. It is difficult to continue automated driving at a node that involves a course change or a change in the direction of travel, such as a right/left turn point, a merging point, or a branching point. Thus, the driving should be taken over to the driver when the vehicle is expected to travel through a right/left turn point, a merging point, or a branching point during automated driving. It is possible, however, that the driver does not take over the driving intentionally or out of necessity. In such a case, if a road that can be traveled is present ahead of the right/left turn point, the merging point, or the branching point, the vehicle may continue to travel forward through the right/left turn point, merging point, or branching point and be subsequently rerouted. The first aspect allows the vehicle to pass through without deceleration when the vehicle continues to travel forward through a right/left turn point, a merging point, or a branching point without changing the course or direction of travel there. This can prevent stagnation of a traffic flow due to deceleration of the vehicle.

“The vehicle control apparatus according to the first aspect may include: a route recognition unit configured to recognize a planned travel route of the vehicle; and a host vehicle recognition unit configured to recognize a current position of the vehicle, wherein the condition determination unit may be configured to determine that at least one of the predetermined conditions holds when there is no road extending forward on the planned travel route within a predetermined distance from the current position, and the deceleration selection unit may be configured to select to decelerate the vehicle when there is no road extending forward on the planned travel route within the predetermined distance from the current position. In the first aspect, the vehicle is decelerated beforehand in a scene that would require stopping of the vehicle if the driver will not take over the driving. Thus, the vehicle can be stopped promptly even if the driver does not take over the driving.

“The vehicle control apparatus according to the first aspect may include: a route recognition unit configured to recognize a planned travel route of the vehicle; a host vehicle recognition unit configured to recognize a current position of the vehicle; and a signal prediction unit configured to predict a signal of a traffic light on the planned travel route at a time when the vehicle traveling by automated driving reaches the traffic light, wherein the condition determination unit may be configured to determine that at least one of the predetermined conditions holds when a node that involves a course change or a change in a direction of travel is included in the planned travel route within a predetermined distance from the current position and when a stop commanding signal is predicted for the traffic light at the node by the signal prediction unit, and the deceleration selection unit may be configured to select to decelerate the vehicle when the node is included in the planned travel route within the predetermined distance from the current position and when a stop commanding signal is predicted for the traffic light at the node by the signal prediction unit. In the first aspect, the vehicle is decelerated beforehand in a scene that would require stopping of the vehicle if the driver will not take over the driving. Thus, the vehicle can be stopped promptly even if the driver does not take over the driving.

“The vehicle control apparatus according to the first aspect may include at least one of an outside world recognition unit configured to recognize an outside world and a fault detection unit configured to detect a fault in an instrument used in automated driving, wherein the condition determination unit may be configured to determine that at least one of the predetermined conditions holds when the outside world recognition unit is unable to recognize a part or a whole of the outside world, and/or when the fault in the instrument is detected by the fault detection unit, and the deceleration selection unit may be configured to select to decelerate the vehicle when the outside world recognition unit is unable to recognize a part or a whole of the outside world, and/or when a fault in the instrument is detected by the fault detection unit. In the first aspect, the vehicle is decelerated beforehand in a scene that would require stopping of the vehicle if the driver will not take over the driving. Thus, the vehicle can be stopped promptly even if the driver does not take over the driving.

“A second aspect of the present invention is a vehicle control apparatus that decelerates a vehicle at a time of demanding manual driving of a driver during automated driving, and the vehicle is not decelerated in a case of demanding manual driving of the driver when a right or left turn is made at an intersection. The second aspect allows the vehicle to pass through without deceleration when the vehicle continues to travel forward through an intersection at which it has been planned to make a right or left turn. This can prevent stagnation of a traffic flow due to deceleration of the vehicle.”

The claims supplied by the inventors are:

“1. A vehicle control apparatus that makes a vehicle travel by automated driving and demands manual driving of a driver when at least one of one or more predetermined conditions holds, the vehicle control apparatus comprising: a condition determination unit configured to determine whether any of the predetermined conditions holds or not; and a deceleration selection unit configured to select whether to decelerate the vehicle or not at a time of demanding manual driving, based on one or more of the predetermined conditions that hold, wherein the condition determination unit is configured to decelerate the vehicle when number of times that an original planned travel route of the vehicle is rerouted has reached or exceeded a threshold.

“2. The vehicle control apparatus according to claim 1, comprising: a route recognition unit configured to recognize a planned travel route of the vehicle; and a host vehicle recognition unit configured to recognize a current position of the vehicle, wherein the condition determination unit is configured to determine that at least one of the predetermined conditions holds when a node that involves a course change or a change in a direction of travel is included in the planned travel route within a predetermined distance from the current position, and the deceleration selection unit is configured to select not to decelerate the vehicle when the node is included in the planned travel route within the predetermined distance from the current position.

“3. The vehicle control apparatus according to claim 1, comprising: a route recognition unit configured to recognize a planned travel route of the vehicle; and a host vehicle recognition unit configured to recognize a current position of the vehicle, wherein the condition determination unit is configured to determine that at least one of the predetermined conditions holds when there is no road extending forward on the planned travel route within a predetermined distance from the current position, and the deceleration selection unit is configured to select to decelerate the vehicle when there is no road extending forward on the planned travel route within the predetermined distance from the current position.

“4. The vehicle control apparatus according to claim 1, comprising: a route recognition unit configured to recognize a planned travel route of the vehicle; a host vehicle recognition unit configured to recognize a current position of the vehicle; and a signal prediction unit configured to predict a signal of a traffic light on the planned travel route at a time when the vehicle traveling by automated driving reaches the traffic light, wherein the condition determination unit is configured to determine that at least one of the predetermined conditions holds when a node that involves a course change or a change in a direction of travel is included in the planned travel route within a predetermined distance from the current position and when a stop commanding signal is predicted for the traffic light at the node by the signal prediction unit, and the deceleration selection unit is configured to select to decelerate the vehicle when the node is included in the planned travel route within the predetermined distance from the current position and when a stop commanding signal is predicted for the traffic light at the node by the signal prediction unit.

“5. The vehicle control apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the condition determination unit is configured to determine that at least one of the predetermined conditions holds when there is no road extending forward on the planned travel route within the predetermined distance from the current position, and the deceleration selection unit is configured to select to decelerate the vehicle when there is no road extending forward on the planned travel route within the predetermined distance from the current position.

“6. The vehicle control apparatus according to claim 2, comprising: a signal prediction unit configured to predict a signal of a traffic light on the planned travel route at a time when the vehicle traveling by automated driving reaches the traffic light, wherein the condition determination unit is configured to determine that at least one of the predetermined conditions holds when the node is included in the planned travel route within the predetermined distance from the current position and when a stop commanding signal is predicted for the traffic light at the node by the signal prediction unit, and the deceleration selection unit is configured to select to decelerate the vehicle when the node is included in the planned travel route within the predetermined distance from the current position and when a stop commanding signal is predicted for the traffic light at the node by the signal prediction unit.

“7. The vehicle control apparatus according to claim 1, comprising at least one of: an outside world recognition unit configured to recognize an outside world; and a fault detection unit configured to detect a fault in an instrument used in automated driving, wherein the condition determination unit is configured to determine that at least one of the predetermined conditions holds when the outside world recognition unit is unable to recognize a part or a whole of the outside world, and/or when the fault in the instrument is detected by the fault detection unit, and the deceleration selection unit is configured to select to decelerate the vehicle when the outside world recognition unit is unable to recognize a part or a whole of the outside world, and/or when a fault in the instrument is detected by the fault detection unit.

“8. The vehicle control apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the vehicle is decelerated at a time of demanding manual driving of a driver during automated driving, wherein the vehicle is not decelerated in a case of demanding manual driving of the driver when a right or left turn is made at an intersection.”

For additional information on this patent application, see: TSUKADA, Takemi. Vehicle Control Device. Filed September 27, 2016 and posted July 25, 2019. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220190225217%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20190225217&RS=DN/20190225217

(Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world.)

Copyright © 2019 NewsRx LLC, Daily Asia Business, source Geographic Newsletters

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