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Patent Analysis of

Universal daytime running lamp for automotive vehicles

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10060593

Application Number

US14/910194

Application Date

30 July 2014

Publication Date

28 August 2018

Current Assignee

KONINKLIJKE PHILIPS N.V.

Original Assignee (Applicant)

KONINKLIJKE PHILIPS N.V.

International Classification

F21V1/00,B60Q1/18,B60Q1/00,F21S41/33,F21S43/31

Cooperative Classification

B60Q1/0035,B60Q1/18,F21S43/14,F21S41/336,F21S43/31

Inventor

ZHENG, HUA BING,KRAUS, ALBRECHT JOHANNES,EPMEIER, MATTHIAS DANIEL

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10060593 Universal daytime running lamp 1 US10060593 Universal daytime running lamp 2 US10060593 Universal daytime running lamp 3
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Abstract

A daytime running lamp (1) for being retrofitted on a road vehicle, comprising a reflector (4) with a reflective surface (5) for reflecting light in a general direction (I) of illumination and a plurality of light sources (3) arranged in a pattern having an extension along a horizontal axis (A). The light emitted by the plurality of light sources (3) has directional components in two opposite horizontal directions (H1, H2) along the horizontal axis (A) and a directional component in a vertical direction (V) perpendicular to the horizontal axis (A). The reflective surface (5) has a curvature such that the directional component in the vertical direction (V) is directed towards the general direction (I) of illumination, and the directional component in at least one of the horizontal directions (H1, H2) upon reflection in the reflective surface (5) is substantially unchanged by the reflection.

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Claims

1. A daytime running lamp for a road vehicle, comprising:

a reflector with a reflective surface for reflecting light in a general direction (I) of illumination; and a plurality of light sources arranged in a pattern having an extension along a horizontal axis (A) and being arranged to emit light onto the reflective surface, wherein light emitted by the plurality of light sources has directional components in two opposite horizontal directions (H1, H2) along the horizontal axis (A) and a directional component in a vertical direction (V) perpendicular to the horizontal axis (A), wherein the reflective surface, in cross-sectional view along the vertical direction (V), has a curvature reflecting the directional component in the vertical direction (V) of the emitted light towards the general direction (I) of illumination, the reflective surface, in horizontal direction, comprises a straight part maintaining the directional component in a first one of the horizontal directions of the emitted light upon reflection; and light blocking members associated with each of the light sources that block a portion of emitted light in a second one of the horizontal directions, such that the general direction I of illumination forms an acute angle (φ) with the second one of the horizontal directions.

2. The daytime running lamp according to claim 1, wherein the cross-section of the reflector in a plane perpendicular to the horizontal axis (A) presents at least two sections.

3. The daytime running lamp according to claim 1, wherein the reflector is extruded.

4. The daytime running lamp according to claim 1, wherein the horizontal distance (d) between two neighboring light sources of the plurality of light sources is less than about twice the size (h) of the reflector in the vertical direction (V).

5. The daytime running lamp according to claim 1, wherein the daytime running lamp comprises additional reflectors each of which is arranged to direct light from one light source of the plurality of light sources towards the general direction (I) of illumination before the light is reflected by the reflective surface.

6. The daytime running lamp according to claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of light sources is arranged at an angle (ψ) with respect to a horizontal plane defined by the horizontal axis (A).

7. The daytime running lamp according to claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of light sources is an SSL device.

8. A road vehicle comprising at least one daytime running lamp according to claim 1.

9. The daytime running lamp according to claim 6, wherein the angle (ψ) is an acute angle with the horizontal axis (A).

10. The daytime running lamp according to claim 1, wherein the reflector comprises flat rectangular portions having first edges and second edges, where the first edges are longer than the second edges, where each flat rectangular portion spans the entire reflector, where the first edges are parallel to each other, and where the flat rectangular portions are progressively angled.

11. The daytime running lamp according to claim 1, wherein the light blocking members are reflective on one side to reflect light back toward the first one of the horizontal directions.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    for a road vehicle, comprising: a reflector w th a refle
    • ive surface for reflecting light in a general direction (I) of illumination; and a plurality of light
    • ources arranged in a pattern having an extension along a horizontal axis (A) and being arranged to emit light onto the reflective surface, wherein light emitted by the plurality of light sources has directional components in two opposite horizontal directions (H1, H2) along the horizontal axis (A) and a directional component in a vertical direction (V) perpendicular to the horizontal axis (A), wherein the reflective surface, in cross-sectional view along the vertical direction (V), has a curvature reflecting the directional component in the vertical direction (V) of the emitted light towards the general direction (I) of illumination, the reflective surface, in horizontal direction, comprises a straight part maintaining the directional component in a first one of the horizontal directions of the emitted light upon reflection; and light bl
    • king members associated with each of the light sources that block a portion of emitted light in a second one of the horizontal directions, such that the general direction I of illumination forms an acute angle (φ) with the second one of the horizontal directions. 2. The daytime ru
    • ning lamp according to claim 1, wherein the cross section
      • of the reflector in a plane perpendicular to the horizontal axis (A) presents at least two sections. 3. The daytime ru
    • ning lamp according to claim 1, wherein the refle tor is
      • xtruded. 4. The daytime ru
    • ning lamp according to claim 1, wherein the horiz ntal di
      • tance (d) between two neighboring light sources of the plurality of light sources is less than about twice the size (h) of the reflector in the vertical direction (V). 5. The daytime ru
    • ning lamp according to claim 1, wherein the dayti e runni
      • g lamp comprises additio al reflec
    • ning lamp according to claim 1, wherein each of t e plura
      • ity of light sources is arranged at an angle (ψ) with respect to a horizontal plane defined by the horizontal axis (A). 7. The daytime runnin
    • lamp according to claim 1, wherein each of the p urality
      • of light sources is an SSL device. 8. A road vehicle com
    • mp according to claim 1, wherein the reflector com rises f
      • at rectangula portions
    • mp according to claim 1, wherein the light blockin member
      • are reflective on one side to reflect light back toward the first one of the horizontal directions.
  • 8
    rising at least o e daytime
    • unning lamp according to claim 1. 9. The daytime runnin
See all independent claims <>

Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a § 371 application of International Application No. PCT/EP2014/066368 filed on Jul. 30, 2014 and entitled “Universal Daytime Running Lamp for Automotive Vehicles,” which claims priority to European Patent Application No. 1317926.8, filed Aug. 8, 2013. Both PCT/EP2014/066368 and EP1317926.8 are incorporated herein.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present disclosure relates to a daytime running lamp (DRL). More specifically, it relates to a DRL for being retrofitted on a road vehicle.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A DRL is a lighting device for use during daylight conditions in order to improve road safety by increasing the visibility of a road vehicle to other motorists and pedestrians. Typically, the lamps are positioned on the front of the vehicle, either integrated with the headlights or separate, and emit a white or yellow light when the ignition is activated. Solid-state lighting (SSL) devices, such as light-emitting diodes, are increasingly being used with DRLs because of their low power consumption, long lifetime and reliability.

KR465953Y1 discloses a daytime running lamp with light-emitting diodes arranged above pocket-shaped reflecting bodies for directing the light emitted by the light-emitting diodes in the direction of forward motion of the vehicle.

There exist DRLs for retrofitting on vehicles not equipped with such lamps at the time of production. It is desirable that these DRLs be possible to mount on a wide range of vehicles and meet many different national regulations governing the use of DRLs. It is possible to improve existing DRLs for retrofitting in these respects.

US2006/0170379 discloses a vehicle headlamp with a plurality of light sources and a reflector. The reflector has a cylindrical shape with a parabolic cross section in vertical direction. In horizontal direction the cylindrical shape is straight. The reflector forms a light beam in the general direction of illumination. The beam is diffused to the right and the left in a horizontal plane. This headlamp is less suitable for application as a DRL lamp, in particular for retrofit application. The vehicle-mounted DRL may provide too much light sideways relative to the vehicle and requires a relatively large number of light sources.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The general objective of the present disclosure is to provide an improved or alternative DRL for retrofitting on a vehicle. Specific objectives include the provision of a DRL producing a type of illumination that allows for a high degree of mounting flexibility.

The invention is defined by the independent claims. Embodiments are set forth in the dependent claims, the description and the drawings.

According to a first aspect, there is provided a DRL for being retrofitted on a road vehicle. The daytime running lamp comprises a reflector with a reflective surface for reflecting light in a general direction of illumination and a plurality of light sources arranged in a pattern which has an extension along a horizontal axis and being arranged to emit light onto the reflective surface. The light emitted by the plurality of light sources has directional components in two opposite horizontal directions along the horizontal axis and a directional component in a vertical direction perpendicular to the horizontal axis. The reflective surface has a curvature such that the directional component in the vertical direction upon reflection in the reflective surface is directed towards the general direction of illumination. The curvature is also such that the directional component in at least one of the horizontal directions upon reflection in the reflective surface is substantially unchanged by the reflection.

By “general direction of illumination” is meant the direction in which most of the light emanating from the DRL is directed according to an observer. Typically, the light will have a certain distribution around this direction. By a directional component being “maintained” is meant that the directional component changes by less than 10%, alternatively less than 5%, or 0%.

The expression that the light sources are arranged “in a pattern which has an extension along a horizontal axis” does not restrict the invention to a design having light sources in a straight line. The light sources can for example be arranged in a zig-zag pattern, or be arranged along a slightly curved line.

Since the curvature is such that the directional component in at least one of the horizontal directions upon reflection in the reflective surface is substantially unchanged by the reflection, the DRL produces a broad light beam in a plane approximately perpendicular to the vertical direction. A broad light beam can result in a high degree of mounting flexibility of the DRL because the DRL is more likely to provide the regulatory-required illumination regardless of the position of the DRL on the vehicle onto which it is mounted. For example, the vehicle-mounted DRL may have to be inclined according to the shape of the vehicle in such a way that the general direction of illumination of the DRL and the direction of forward motion of the vehicle differ quite significantly. In such a situation, the broad light beam provided by the DRL as described above can result in an increased probability that the zone illuminated by the DRL covers the zone required by regulations.

According to one embodiment, the curvature can be such that the directional components in both of the horizontal directions upon reflection in the reflective surface are substantially unchanged by the reflection. By this construction, the light beam produced by the DRL can cover about 90 degrees in a plane approximately perpendicular to the vertical direction. By this construction, the general direction of illumination is typically approximately perpendicular to the horizontal directions.

According to an alternative embodiment, the curvature can be such that the directional component in one of the horizontal directions upon reflection in the reflective surface is directed towards the general direction of illumination. In this alternative embodiment, the general direction of illumination can form an acute angle with one of the opposite horizontal directions, and the light beam produced by the DRL can cover about 45 degrees in a plane approximately perpendicular to the vertical direction. This alternative embodiment can be particularly suitable for some vehicles, for example vehicles whose shape requires the DRL to be mounted in such a way that a DRL, whose general direction of illumination is perpendicular to the horizontal directions and whose light beam covers about 90 degrees, would provide too much light sideways relative to the vehicle. Moreover, a DRL whose light beam covers an angle of about 45 degrees may require fewer or smaller light sources, whereby production costs can be reduced. The use of fewer SSL devices may also reduce production costs insofar as it may lead to the DRL generating less heat and, consequently, allow for cheaper and/or less production materials to be used.

Another example of a DRL whose light beam can cover an angle of about 45 degrees in a plane approximately perpendicular to the vertical direction is a DRL having additional reflectors, each of which is arranged to direct light from one light source of the plurality of light sources towards the general direction of illumination before the light is reflected by the reflective surface. Yet another example is a DRL whose light sources are arranged at an angle with respect to the horizontal axis.

The cross-section of the reflector in a plane perpendicular to the horizontal axis can present at least two sections. A section can be straight or curved. A section can be concave, convex, elliptical or parabolical. A section can have the shape of a free-form curve.

The reflector can be extruded, for example by hot extrusion, cold extrusion or warm extrusion. The reflector can be extruded in its longitudinal direction, i.e. in a direction parallel to the axis A. Extrusion is an efficient method for producing reflectors with complex cross-sections. In the simplest case, the extrusion path is straight, but also a curved extrusion path may be envisaged.

The reflector can be made of a material chosen from the group consisting of PMMA, polycarbonate and aluminum. The reflective surface can be formed by the extruded material, or it can be a coating. The coating material can be aluminum or silver, for example. Using these reflectors and coating materials can facilitate the provision of reflectors having appropriate shapes and desirable reflective properties.

The horizontal distance between two neighboring light sources of the plurality of light sources can be less than about twice the size of the reflector in the vertical direction. This arrangement can result in a more homogenous and pleasant light beam.

The plurality of light sources can be arranged on a printed circuit board (PCB). A PCB is a device frequently used for mechanically supporting and electrically connecting light sources and is particularly suitable for the present invention. The light sources can be of the same type or of different types, and the light emitted by the light sources can have the same color or different colors. The color of the light emitted by a light source can be white or yellow. Each of the plurality of light sources can be an SSL device, such as a semiconductor light-emitting diode, an organic light-emitting diode, a polymer light-emitting diode or a laser diode. SSL devices are energy efficient and have a long life time and are suitable for DLRs.

It is noted that the invention relates to all possible combinations of features recited in the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

This and other aspects of the present invention will now be described in more detail, with reference to the appended drawings showing embodiment(s) of the invention.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a DRL having a straight reflector.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a DRL having an asymmetrically curved reflector.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a DRL having additional reflectors.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a reflector having inclined SSL devices.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of a car equipped with two DRLs.

As illustrated in the Figures, the sizes of layers and regions are exaggerated for illustrative purposes and, thus, are provided to illustrate the general structures of embodiments of the present invention. Like reference numerals refer to like elements throughout.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which currently preferred embodiments of the invention are shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein; rather, these embodiments are provided for thoroughness and completeness, and fully convey the scope of the invention to the skilled person.

The DRL 1 shown schematically in FIG. 1 has a PCB 2 which provides electrical circuitry for a plurality of light sources 3 in the form of SSL devices, such as semiconductor light-emitting diodes, organic light-emitting diodes, polymer light-emitting diodes and laser diodes. The SSL devices 3 are arranged on the PCB 2 along the horizontal axis A which defines two opposite horizontal directions H1, H2. The horizontal distance d between neighboring SSL devices 3 is typically constant, but can vary. The general construction of a PCB with SSL devices is deemed to be known to the skilled person and will therefore not be further described.

The SSL devices 3 are arranged to emit light onto a reflector 4 with a reflective surface 5. The reflector 4 has two opposing edges which are parallel with the horizontal axis A. The reflector 4 has a horizontal length 1 and a height h in a vertical direction V which is perpendicular to the horizontal directions H1, H2. The vertical height h of the reflector 4 can be more than about half the horizontal distance d between two neighboring SSL devices 3. The reflector 4 can be extruded, for example by hot extrusion, cold extrusion or warm extrusion.

In FIG. 1, the cross-section of the reflector 4 in a plane perpendicular to the horizontal axis A can be constant along the horizontal axis A, but it is conceivable that the cross-section varies along the horizontal axis A. Furthermore, the cross-section of the reflector 4 in a plane perpendicular to the horizontal axis A can present at least two sections 6. The reflector 4 in FIG. 1 has four such sections 6, each of which is straight. In general, however, a section 6 can have any desirable shape, such as an elliptical or a parabolical shape. The shape of a section 6 can be that of a free-form curve. A section 6 can be concave or convex. The sections 6 can have the same shape or different shapes.

The reflecting surface 5 can be straight in the horizontal directions H1, H2, as in FIG. 1. Alternatively, the reflective surface 5 can be slightly curved in the horizontal directions H1, H2. By “slightly” is here meant that the curvature is small enough to allow for the horizontal directional components of the light emitted by the SSL devices 3 upon reflection in the reflective surface 5 to be substantially unchanged by the reflection. For example, the reflective surface 5 can present adjacent portions which are, in the horizontal directions H1, H2, slightly concave, slightly convex, slightly spheroidal, slightly ellipsoidal, slightly paraboloidal or slightly curved according to a free-form surface. A slightly curved reflective 5 surface can result in a more homogenous and pleasant light beam. Moreover, this construction can be a simple way to ensure that the light beam provided by the DRL 1 meets certain regulatory requirements.

The light emitted by the DRL 1 defines a general direction I of illumination. The light beam of the DRL 1 according to FIG. 1 has a general direction I of illumination which is approximately perpendicular to the horizontal directions H1, H2 as well as the vertical direction V, and the light beam covers about 90 degrees in a plane approximately perpendicular to the vertical direction V.

The DRL 1 illustrated in FIG. 2 is similar to that illustrated in FIG. 1. In FIG. 2, however, the DRL 1 has a reflector 4 with a reflective surface 5 that is asymmetrically curved in the horizontal directions H1, H2. To be more precise, the reflective surface 5 of the reflector 4 has adjacent portions 7 which are asymmetrically curved in the horizontal directions H1, H2. Such portions 7 can be similarly or differently curved. This construction can result in the general direction I of illumination forming an acute angle φ with one of the horizontal directions H1, H2. In FIG. 2, the general direction I of illumination forms an acute angle φ with the horizontal direction H1. The angle φ can be, for example, about 45 degrees, alternatively about 30 degrees or about 20 degrees. The light beam produced by the DRL 1 according FIG. 2 can cover about 45 degrees in a plane approximately perpendicular to the vertical direction V.

The reflector 4 in FIG. 2 has a curved cross-section in a plane perpendicular to the horizontal axis A. The cross-section has four curved sections 6. A curved section 6 can have any desirable shape, such as that of a free-form curve. A curved section 6 can have an elliptical or a parabolical shape. A section 6 can be concave or convex. The curved sections 6 can have the same shape or different shapes.

FIG. 3 shows a DRL 1 having additional reflectors 9 positioned by the SSL devices 3. Each additional reflector 9 is arranged to reflect the light emitted by an SSL device 3 towards the general direction I of illumination before the light is reflected by the reflector 4. All of the additional reflectors 9 can be arranged to reflect light to the same side. The use of additional reflectors 9 can result in the general direction I of illumination forming an acute angle φ with one of the horizontal directions H1, H2. In FIG. 3, the general direction I of illumination forms an acute angle φ with the horizontal direction H1. The angle φ can be, for example, about 45 degrees, alternatively about 30 degrees or about 20 degrees. The light beam produced by the DRL 1 according FIG. 3 can cover about 45 degrees in a plane in a plane approximately perpendicular to the vertical direction V.

In FIG. 3, each additional reflector 9 has two portions 9a, 9b arranged on different sides of a respective SSL device 3. Each additional reflector 9 can, however, have only one portion 9a, 9b arranged on one side of a respective SSL device 3.

FIG. 4 shows a DRL 1 with horizontally inclined SSL devices 3. Each SSL device 3 is arranged on the PCB 2 so that it forms an angle Ψ with respect to the horizontal axis A. This construction can result in the general direction I of illumination forming an acute angle φ with one of the horizontal directions H1, H2. In FIG. 2, the general direction I of illumination forms an acute angle φ with the horizontal direction H1. The angle φ can be, for example, about 45 degrees, alternatively about 30 degrees or about 20 degrees. The light beam produced by the DRL 1 according FIG. 4 can cover about 45 degrees in a plane approximately perpendicular to the vertical direction V.

In use, the light emitted by the SSL devices 3 has a directional component in the vertical direction V so that it strikes the reflective surface 5 of the reflector 4. The light emitted by the SSL devices 3 also has directional components in the horizontal directions H1, H2. The reflector 4 reflects the light in the general direction I of illumination. Since the reflective surface 5 is straight, or only slightly curved, in the horizontal directions H1, H2, at least one of the horizontal directional components of the light reflected by the reflector 4 is substantially unchanged by the reflection. This may result in a broad light beam.

FIG. 5 shows two spaced-apart DRLs 1, 1′ mounted on the front of a vehicle 10, in the form of a car, so that one of them is positioned to the left and the other one to the right relative to a driver of the car 10. Each DRL 1, 1′ can be mounted near a headlight of the car 10. A DRL 1, 1′ can be integrated with a headlight case. The vehicle-mounted DRLs 1, 1′ may be inclined according to the shape of the front of the car 10. The horizontal axis A of the DRL 1 can be approximately parallel with the ground, and the vertical direction V of the DRL 1 can be approximately perpendicular to the ground. The DRL 1′ is typically similarly arranged with respect to the ground.

As is illustrated in FIG. 5, the general directions I, I′ of illumination of the vehicle-mounted DRLs 1, 1′ do not coincide with the direction F of forward motion of the car 10. In general, however, these directions may coincide. The light beam emitted by the DLR 1 covers an angle θ in a plane approximately perpendicular to the vertical direction V of the DLR 1. Similarly, the light beam emitted by the DLR 1′ covers an angle of θ′. The angles θ, θ′ are typically equal, but do not have to be equal.

According to one embodiment, the angles θ, θ′ can be about 90 degrees. The fact that the light beams emitted by the DRLs 1, 1′ are broad increases the probability that the illumination provided by the DRLs 1, 1′ fulfills any regulatory requirements even if the inclinations of the DRLs 1, 1′ result in the general directions I, I′ of illumination not coinciding with the direction F.

According to another embodiment, which may be preferred if the vehicle-mounted DLRs 1, 1′ are very sharply inclined relative to the direction F, the angles θ, θ′ can be about 45 degrees. In this embodiment, the general direction I of illumination of the DRL 1 forms an acute angle φ with one the horizontal directions H1, H2 of the DRL 1 in order to compensate for the inclination of the DLR 1 with respect to the direction F so that less light is emitted sideways relative to the vehicle. The general direction I′ of illumination of the DRL 1′ is similarly arranged.

The person skilled in the art realizes that the present invention by no means is limited to the preferred embodiments described above. On the contrary, many modifications and variations are possible within the scope of the appended claims. For example, the DRL 1 can be mounted on a vehicle so that the horizontal axis A is approximately perpendicular to the ground. In fact, the DRL 1 can be mounted so that the horizontal axis A makes any desirable angle with the ground.

Additionally, variations to the disclosed embodiments can be understood and effected by the skilled person in practicing the claimed invention, from a study of the drawings, the disclosure, and the appended claims. In the claims, the word “comprising” does not exclude other elements or steps, and the indefinite article “a” or “an” does not exclude a plurality. The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measured cannot be used to advantage.

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Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
Fahrzeugleuchte FER FAHRZEUGELEKTRIK GMBH 14 February 2001 13 June 2001
Light source for a vehicle headlamp or a light unit of a vehicle headlamp ZIZALA LICHTSYSTEME GMBH 05 November 2008 13 May 2009
Fahrzeugleuchteneinheit KOITO MANUFACTURING CO. LTD. 09 February 2005 25 August 2005
机动车照明装置以及具有这种照明装置的机动车大灯 汽车照明罗伊特林根有限公司 23 March 2012 26 September 2012
Beleuchtungseinrichtung für Fahrzeuge KOITO MANUFACTURING CO. LTD. 05 August 2004 10 March 2005
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US10060593 Universal daytime running lamp 1 US10060593 Universal daytime running lamp 2 US10060593 Universal daytime running lamp 3