US 9,809,158 B2
External indicators and notifications for vehicles with autonomous capabilities
Benjamin M. Geller, Hermosa Beach, CA (US)
Assigned to TOYOTA MOTOR ENGINEERING & MANUFACTURING NORTH AMERICA, INC., Erlanger, KY (US)
Filed by Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc., Erlanger, KY (US)
Filed on Sep. 29, 2015, as Appl. No. 14/869,716.
Prior Publication US 2017/0088038 A1, Mar. 30, 2017
Int. Cl. B60Q 1/50 (2006.01); G08G 1/0962 (2006.01); G08G 1/0967 (2006.01)
CPC B60Q 1/50 (2013.01) [G08G 1/0962 (2013.01); G08G 1/096716 (2013.01); G08G 1/096791 (2013.01)] 17 Claims
OG exemplary drawing
 
1. A method for notifying a user outside of a vehicle as to whether the vehicle is operating in an autonomous mode or a semi-autonomous mode, the method comprising:
activating, using a processor of the vehicle, an external indicator of the vehicle when the vehicle is operating in the autonomous mode or the semi-autonomous mode;
determining, by the processor of the vehicle, notification information including whether the vehicle is operating in the autonomous mode or the semi-autonomous mode, an identification of at least one active or inactive feature of the autonomous mode or the semi-autonomous mode, whether the external indicator of the vehicle is activated, and a description of or details about the vehicle;
transmitting the notification information from a transmitter coupled to the processor to a receiver of a remote device, the remote device being a cell phone, a smartphone or a tablet device; and
displaying, using a display screen of the remote device, the notification information including whether the vehicle is operating in the autonomous mode or the semi-autonomous mode, the identification of the at least one active or inactive feature of the autonomous mode or the semi-autonomous mode, whether the external indicator of the vehicle is activated, and the description of or the details about the vehicle, the description of or the details about the vehicle including a make, a model, a year, a color, a type of vehicle, a license plate number or a photo of the vehicle, such that the user is able to identify and locate the vehicle based on the description of or the details about the vehicle.