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United States Patent Application 20160257198
Kind Code A1
BUTTOLO; Pietro ;   et al. September 8, 2016

IN-VEHICLE COMPONENT USER INTERFACE

Abstract

A system may include an in-vehicle component, including a first control set to configure the component, configured to identify a device associated with a user approach to the component; and send an interaction request to the device to cause the device to display a user interface for the component including a second control set to configure the component, the second control set including at least one function unavailable in the first control set. A personal device may receive, from an in-vehicle component including a first control set to configure the component, a user interface definition descriptive of a second control set to configure the component; and receive, from the component, a request to display a user interface for the component including the second control set to configure the component, the second control set including at least one function unavailable in the first control set.


Inventors: BUTTOLO; Pietro; (Dearborn Heights, MI) ; RANKIN, II; James Stewart; (Novi, MI) ; GHOSH; Dipanjan; (Livonia, MI) ; STRUMOLO; Gary Steven; (Canton, MI) ; SALTER; Stuart C.; (White Lake, MI)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

Ford Global Technologies, Inc.

Dearborn

MI

US
Family ID: 1000001560632
Appl. No.: 14/635321
Filed: March 2, 2015


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: B60K 2350/1024 20130101; B60K 35/00 20130101
International Class: B60K 35/00 20060101 B60K035/00

Claims



1. A system comprising: an in-vehicle component, including a first control set to configure the component, configured to identify a device associated with a user approach to the component; and send an interaction request to the device to cause the device to display a user interface for the component including a second control set to configure the component, the second control set including at least one function unavailable in the first control set.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the second control set is a superset of the first control set.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the in-vehicle component includes a proximity sensor, and the device associated with the user approach to the component is detected according to an increasing wireless signal intensity of the device detected according to the proximity sensor.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the in-vehicle component includes a proximity sensor, and the device associated with the user approach to the component is detected according to an increasing wireless signal intensity of a wearable device paired to the device detected according to the proximity sensor.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the in-vehicle component includes a sensor configured to identify the user approach despite no increasing wireless signal intensity from the device.

6. The system of claim 5, wherein the sensor is one of a touch sensor and a proximity sensor.

7. The system of claim 5, wherein the in-vehicle component is further configured to, responsive to the user approach with no increasing wireless signal intensity: receive wireless signal intensity information for in-vehicle devices from other proximity sensors of the vehicle; and identify the device from the one of the in-vehicle devices as the one of the in-vehicle devices having a highest wireless signal strength at the in-vehicle component compared to the wireless signal strength for the identified device at the other proximity sensors of the vehicle.

8. A system comprising: a personal device, configured to receive, from an in-vehicle component including a first control set to configure the component, a user interface definition descriptive of a second control set to configure the component; and receive, from the component, a request to display a user interface for the component including the second control set to configure the component, the second control set including at least one function unavailable in the first control set.

9. The system of claim 8, wherein the personal device is further configured to: display the user interface; receive a user interaction to the user interface requesting a function from the second control set; and send a request to the component to perform the function from the second control set.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein the personal device is further configured to: receive, from a second in-vehicle component including a first control set to configure the second component, a second user interface definition descriptive of a second control set to configure the second component; and aggregate the user interface definition and the second user interface definition to combine, in the user interface, functions in common between the user interface definition and the second user interface definition.

11. The system of claim 8, wherein the personal device is further configured to request the user interface definition descriptive of the second control set from the in-vehicle component, responsive to connection of the personal device to the in-vehicle component.

12. The system of claim 8, wherein the personal device is further configured to receive the request to display the user interface for the component responsive to at least one of: (i) a user approach to the component detected, by the component, according to an increasing wireless signal intensity of the device, and (ii) a user approach to the component detected, by the component, according to an increasing wireless signal intensity of a wearable device paired to the device; and (iii) a user approach to one of a touch sensor and a proximity sensor of the component, despite no increasing wireless signal intensity from the device or the wearable device detected by the component.

13. The system of claim 8, wherein the user interface definition is encoded using at least one of: (i) hypertext markup language (HTML), (ii) extensible markup language (XML), (iii) JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), and (iV) view and viewgroup user interface definitions.

14. The system of claim 8, wherein the user interface definition includes at least two of: (i) attributes descriptive of available control functions, (ii) names for presentation of attributes of the functions in the user interface, (iii) allowed ranges of values for the attributes, (iv) layout information descriptive of grouping and ordering of the control functions, and (v) suggested controls to use to display the control functions in the user interface.

15. A computer-implemented method comprising: receiving, by a personal device from an in-vehicle component including a first control set to configure the component, a user interface definition descriptive of a second control set to configure the component; and receiving, from the component, a request to display a user interface for the component including the second control set to configure the component, the second control set including at least one function unavailable in the first control set.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising: displaying the user interface; receiving a user interaction to the user interface requesting a function from the second control set; and sending a request to the component to perform the function from the second control set.

17. The method of claim 15, further comprising: receiving, from a second in-vehicle component including a first control set to configure the second component, a second user interface definition descriptive of a second control set to configure the second component; and aggregating the user interface definition and the second user interface definition to combine, in the user interface, functions in common between the user interface definition and the second user interface definition.

18. The method of claim 15, further comprising requesting the user interface definition descriptive of the second control set from the in-vehicle component, responsive to connection of the personal device to the in-vehicle component.
Description



TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] Aspects of the disclosure generally relate to deployment of a user interface for interior vehicle component configuration by way of a personal user device.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Smartphone and wearable device sales volumes continue to increase. Thus, more such devices are brought by users into the automotive context. Smartphones can already be used in some vehicle models to access a wide range of vehicle information, to start the vehicle, and to open windows and doors. Additionally, some wearable devices are capable of providing real-time navigation information to the driver.

SUMMARY

[0003] In a first illustrative embodiment, a system includes an in-vehicle component, including a first control set to configure the component, configured to identify a device associated with a user approach to the component; and send an interaction request to the device to cause the device to display a user interface for the component including a second control set to configure the component, the second control set including at least one function unavailable in the first control set.

[0004] In a second illustrative embodiment, a personal device is configured to receive, from an in-vehicle component including a first control set to configure the component, a user interface definition descriptive of a second control set to configure the component; and receive, from the component, a request to display a user interface for the component including the second control set to configure the component, the second control set including at least one function unavailable in the first control set

[0005] In a third illustrative embodiment, a computer-implemented method includes receiving, by a personal device from an in-vehicle component including a first control set to configure the component, a user interface definition descriptive of a second control set to configure the component; and receiving, from the component, a request to display a user interface for the component including the second control set to configure the component, the second control set including at least one function unavailable in the first control set.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] FIG. 1 illustrates an example diagram of a system that may be used to provide telematics services to a vehicle;

[0007] FIG. 2A illustrates a diagram of a request by a user to configure an in-vehicle component via the user's mobile device;

[0008] FIG. 2B illustrates an alternate diagram of a request by a user to configure an in-vehicle component via the user's mobile device;

[0009] FIG. 3 illustrates an example vehicle including a plurality of in-vehicle components and a plurality of vehicle seats from which the in-vehicle components are accessible;

[0010] FIG. 4A illustrates an example in-vehicle component receiving wireless signal intensity data from other in-vehicle components;

[0011] FIG. 4B illustrates an example in-vehicle component the in-vehicle component providing the identified mobile device with a user interface definition;

[0012] FIG. 5 illustrates an example process for identifying a mobile device associated with a user in the vehicle requesting an action; and

[0013] FIG. 6 illustrates an example process for displaying a user interface on the identified mobile device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0014] As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein; however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention that may be embodied in various and alternative forms. The figures are not necessarily to scale; some features may be exaggerated or minimized to show details of particular components. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention.

[0015] A system may be configured to allow vehicle occupants to seamlessly interact with their vehicle or with any other framework-enabled vehicle. The system may include a vehicle configured to detect a user approach to a proximity sensor of an in-vehicle component to be configured, and further to identify a personal device of the approaching user on which to display a user interface for the in-vehicle component. As used herein, a personal device may generally refer to a mobile device such as a smartphone, or a wearable device such as a smart watch or smart glasses. The personal device of the user may be configured to communicate with the vehicle to receive the user interface to display, provide the user interface to the user, and forward any commands entered via the user interface to the vehicle for configuration of the in-vehicle component. It should be noted that the user interaction with the in-vehicle component may be performed despite the personal device not having been paired with or being in communication with the vehicle head unit. Thus, the system may be configured to determine which occupant of the vehicle desires to interact with a specific function, i.e., which device should interact with the in-vehicle component to be configured, and further to communicate, to the identified device, which user interface information is to be displayed.

[0016] In an example, a user may reach for a light switch within the vehicle cabin, e.g., located on the vehicle headliner near a lamp or on a seat armrest. When the light switch is touched by the user, it may provide some basic functionality to allow for the configuration of the light, such as turning the light off or on. Moreover, as the user approaches the light switch, his or her mobile device may be configured to automatically display a more in-depth interface for the light switch. The in-depth user interface may accordingly enable the user to setup additional lighting features, such as tone, mood, intensity, etc., which may be unavailable via the direct physical user interface of the light.

[0017] In another example, a user may request a taxi, a shared car, or another type of public transportation vehicle. As the user enters the vehicle, the user may desire to perform customization to the local experience within the vehicle by adjusting lighting, climate, and sound attributes for the user's seat location. The user may also desire to be made aware of the specific features of the user's seat, such as whether the seat has cooling or massage features or some other feature available. If such features are available, the user may wish to be able to craft a customized experience without having to learn a vehicle-specific or application-specific user interface. Accordingly, when the user approaches one of the controls of the vehicle to configure, the vehicle may be configured to provide a user interface definition to the user's personal device including the specifics of the particular vehicle control.

[0018] In yet another example, the user may perform the same customization on a first vehicle, and may desire that the user's vehicle settings would automatically be applied to a second vehicle supporting the customizations in which the user may travel. For example, the user's personal device may maintain lighting, climate, infotainment, and seat position settings from the first vehicle, and may attempt to set user defaults accordingly based on the available features of the second vehicle. Further aspects of the system are discussed in detail below.

[0019] FIG. 1 illustrates an example diagram of a system 100 that may be used to provide telematics services to a vehicle 102. The vehicle 102 may be one of various types of passenger vehicles, such as a crossover utility vehicle (CUV), a sport utility vehicle (SUV), a truck, a recreational vehicle (RV), a boat, a plane or other mobile machine for transporting people or goods. Telematics services may include, as some non-limiting possibilities, navigation, turn-by-turn directions, vehicle health reports, local business search, accident reporting, and hands-free calling. In an example, the system 100 may include the SYNC system manufactured by The Ford Motor Company of Dearborn, Mich. It should be noted that the illustrated system 100 is merely an example, and more, fewer, and/or differently located elements may be used.

[0020] The computing platform 104 may include one or more processors 106 configured to perform instructions, commands and other routines in support of the processes described herein. For instance, the computing platform 104 may be configured to execute instructions of vehicle applications 110 to provide features such as navigation, accident reporting, satellite radio decoding, and hands-free calling. Such instructions and other data may be maintained in a non-volatile manner using a variety of types of computer-readable storage medium 112. The computer-readable medium 112 (also referred to as a processor-readable medium or storage) includes any non-transitory medium (e.g., a tangible medium) that participates in providing instructions or other data that may be read by the processor 106 of the computing platform 104. Computer-executable instructions may be compiled or interpreted from computer programs created using a variety of programming languages and/or technologies, including, without limitation, and either alone or in combination, Java, C, C++, C#, Objective C, Fortran, Pascal, Java Script, Python, Perl, and PL/SQL.

[0021] The computing platform 104 may be provided with various features allowing the vehicle occupants to interface with the computing platform 104. For example, the computing platform 104 may include an audio input 114 configured to receive spoken commands from vehicle occupants through a connected microphone 116, and auxiliary audio input 118 configured to receive audio signals from connected devices. The auxiliary audio input 118 may be a physical connection, such as an electrical wire or a fiber optic cable, or a wireless input, such as a BLUETOOTH audio connection. In some examples, the audio input 114 may be configured to provide audio processing capabilities, such as pre-amplification of low-level signals, and conversion of analog inputs into digital data for processing by the processor 106.

[0022] The computing platform 104 may also provide one or more audio outputs 120 to an input of an audio module 122 having audio playback functionality. In other examples, the computing platform 104 may provide the audio output to an occupant through use of one or more dedicated speakers (not illustrated). The audio module 122 may include an input selector 124 configured to provide audio content from a selected audio source 126 to an audio amplifier 128 for playback through vehicle speakers 130 or headphones (not illustrated). The audio sources 126 may include, as some examples, decoded amplitude modulated (AM) or frequency modulated (FM) radio signals, and audio signals from compact disc (CD) or digital versatile disk (DVD) audio playback. The audio sources 126 may also include audio received from the computing platform 104, such as audio content generated by the computing platform 104, audio content decoded from flash memory drives connected to a universal serial bus (USB) subsystem 132 of the computing platform 104, and audio content passed through the computing platform 104 from the auxiliary audio input 118.

[0023] The computing platform 104 may utilize a voice interface 134 to provide a hands-free interface to the computing platform 104. The voice interface 134 may support speech recognition from audio received via the microphone 116 according to grammar associated with available commands, and voice prompt generation for output via the audio module 122. In some cases, the system may be configured to temporarily mute or otherwise override the audio source specified by the input selector 124 when an audio prompt is ready for presentation by the computing platform 104 and another audio source 126 is selected for playback.

[0024] The computing platform 104 may also receive input from human-machine interface (HMI) controls 136 configured to provide for occupant interaction with the vehicle 102. For instance, the computing platform 104 may interface with one or more buttons or other HMI controls configured to invoke functions on the computing platform 104 (e.g., steering wheel audio buttons, a push-to-talk button, instrument panel controls, etc.). The computing platform 104 may also drive or otherwise communicate with one or more displays 138 configured to provide visual output to vehicle occupants by way of a video controller 140. In some cases, the display 138 may be a touch screen further configured to receive user touch input via the video controller 140, while in other cases the display 138 may be a display only, without touch input capabilities.

[0025] The computing platform 104 may be further configured to communicate with other components of the vehicle 102 via one or more in-vehicle networks 142. The in-vehicle networks 142 may include one or more of a vehicle controller area network (CAN), an Ethernet network, and a media oriented system transfer (MOST), as some examples. The in-vehicle networks 142 may allow the computing platform 104 to communicate with other vehicle 102 systems, such as a vehicle modem 144 (which may not be present in some configurations), a global positioning system (GPS) module 146 configured to provide current vehicle 102 location and heading information, and various vehicle ECUs 148 configured to cooperate with the computing platform 104. As some non-limiting possibilities, the vehicle ECUs 148 may include a powertrain control module configured to provide control of engine operating components (e.g., idle control components, fuel delivery components, emissions control components, etc.) and monitoring of engine operating components (e.g., status of engine diagnostic codes); a body control module configured to manage various power control functions such as exterior lighting, interior lighting, keyless entry, remote start, and point of access status verification (e.g., closure status of the hood, doors and/or trunk of the vehicle 102); a radio transceiver module configured to communicate with key fobs or other local vehicle 102 devices; and a climate control management module configured to provide control and monitoring of heating and cooling system components (e.g., compressor clutch and blower fan control, temperature sensor information, etc.).

[0026] As shown, the audio module 122 and the HMI controls 136 may communicate with the computing platform 104 over a first in-vehicle network 142-A, and the vehicle modem 144, GPS module 146, and vehicle ECUs 148 may communicate with the computing platform 104 over a second in-vehicle network 142-B. In other examples, the computing platform 104 may be connected to more or fewer in-vehicle networks 142. Additionally or alternately, one or more HMI controls 136 or other components may be connected to the computing platform 104 via different in-vehicle networks 142 than shown, or directly without connection to an in-vehicle network 142.

[0027] The computing platform 104 may also be configured to communicate with mobile devices 152 of the vehicle occupants. The mobile devices 152 may be any of various types of portable computing device, such as cellular phones, tablet computers, smart watches, laptop computers, portable music players, or other devices capable of communication with the computing platform 104. In many examples, the computing platform 104 may include a wireless transceiver 150 (e.g., a BLUETOOTH module, a ZIGBEE transceiver, a Wi-Fi transceiver, an IrDA transceiver, an RFID transceiver, etc.) configured to communicate with a compatible wireless transceiver 154 of the mobile device 152. Additionally or alternately, the computing platform 104 may communicate with the mobile device 152 over a wired connection, such as via a USB connection between the mobile device 152 and the USB subsystem 132.

[0028] The communications network 156 may provide communications services, such as packet-switched network services (e.g., Internet access, VoIP communication services), to devices connected to the communications network 156. An example of a communications network 156 may include a cellular telephone network. Mobile devices 152 may provide network connectivity to the communications network 156 via a device modem 158 of the mobile device 152. To facilitate the communications over the communications network 156, mobile devices 152 may be associated with unique device identifiers (e.g., mobile device numbers (MDNs), Internet protocol (IP) addresses, etc.) to identify the communications of the mobile devices 152 over the communications network 156. In some cases, occupants of the vehicle 102 or devices having permission to connect to the computing platform 104 may be identified by the computing platform 104 according to paired device data 160 maintained in the storage medium 112. The paired device data 160 may indicate, for example, the unique device identifiers of mobile devices 152 previously paired with the computing platform 104 of the vehicle 102, such that the computing platform 104 may automatically reconnected to the mobile devices 152 referenced in the paired device data 160 without user intervention.

[0029] When a mobile device 152 that supports network connectivity is paired with the computing platform 104, the mobile device 152 may allow the computing platform 104 to use the network connectivity of the device modem 158 to communicate over the communications network 156 with the remote telematics services 162. In one example, the computing platform 104 may utilize a data-over-voice plan or data plan of the mobile device 152 to communicate information between the computing platform 104 and the communications network 156. Additionally or alternately, the computing platform 104 may utilize the vehicle modem 144 to communicate information between the computing platform 104 and the communications network 156, without use of the communications facilities of the mobile device 152.

[0030] Similar to the computing platform 104, the mobile device 152 may include one or more processors 164 configured to execute instructions of mobile applications 170 loaded to a memory 166 of the mobile device 152 from storage medium 168 of the mobile device 152. In some examples, the mobile applications 170 may be configured to communicate with the computing platform 104 via the wireless transceiver 154 and with the remote telematics services 162 or other network services via the device modem 158. The computing platform 104 may also include a device link interface 172 to facilitate the integration of functionality of the mobile applications 170 into the grammar of commands available via the voice interface 134 as well as into display 138 of the computing platform 104. The device link interfaced 172 may also provide the mobile applications 170 with access to vehicle information available to the computing platform 104 via the in-vehicle networks 142. Some examples of device link interfaces 172 include the SYNC APPLINK component of the SYNC system provided by The Ford Motor Company of Dearborn, Mich., the CarPlay protocol provided by Apple Inc. of Cupertino, Calif., or the Android Auto protocol provided by Google, Inc. of Mountain View, Calif. The vehicle component interface application 174 may be once such application installed to the mobile device 152.

[0031] The vehicle component interface application 174 of the mobile device 152 may be configured to facilitate access to one or more vehicle 102 features made available for device configuration by the vehicle 102. In some cases, the available vehicle 102 features may be accessible by a single vehicle component interface application 174, in which case such the vehicle component interface application 174 may be configured to be customizable or to maintain configurations supportive of the specific vehicle 102 brand/model and option packages. In an example, the vehicle component interface application 174 may be configured to receive, from the vehicle 102, a definition of the features that are available to be controlled, display a user interface descriptive of the available features, and provide user input from the user interface to the vehicle 102 to allow the user to control the indicated features. As exampled in detail below, an appropriate mobile device 152 to display the vehicle component interface application 174 may be identified, and a definition of the user interface to display may be provided to the identified vehicle component interface application 174 for display to the user.

[0032] Systems such as the system 100 described above may require mobile device 152 pairing with the computing platform 104 and/or other setup operations. However, as explained in detail below, a system may be configured to allow vehicle occupants to seamlessly interact with user interface elements in their vehicle or with any other framework-enabled vehicle, without requiring the mobile device 152 or wearable device 202 to have been paired with or be in communication with the computing platform 104.

[0033] FIG. 2A illustrate a diagram 200-A of a request by a user to configure an in-vehicle component 206 via the user's mobile device 152. As shown in FIG. 2A, a wearable device 202 associated with the user's mobile device 152 being moved toward an in-vehicle component 206 having a proximity sensor 208.

[0034] The wearable device 202 may include a smartwatch, smart glasses, fitness band, control ring, or other personal mobility or accessory device designed to be worn and to communicate with the user's mobile device 152. In an example, the wearable device 202 may communicate data with the mobile device 152 over a wireless connection 204. The wireless connection 204 may be a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connection, but other types of local wireless connection, such as Wi-Fi or Zigbee may be utilized as well. Using the connection 204, the mobile device 152 may provide access to one or more control or display functions of the mobile device 152 to the wearable device 202. For example, the mobile device 152 may enable the wearable device 202 to accept a phone call to the mobile device 152, enable a mobile application of the mobile device 152 to execute, receive and present notifications sent to the mobile device 152, and/or a combination thereof.

[0035] The in-vehicle component 206 may include various elements of the vehicle 102 having user-specific configurable settings. As shown in FIG. 3, an example vehicle 102 includes a plurality of in-vehicle components 206-A through 206-I (collectively 206) and a plurality of vehicle seats 302-A through 302-D (collectively 302) from which the in-vehicle components 206 are accessible. These in-vehicle components 206 may include, as some examples, overhead light in-vehicle components 206-A through 206-D, overhead compartment in-vehicle component 206-E, and speaker in-vehicle components 206-F through 206-I. Other examples of in-vehicle components 206 are possible as well, such as power seats or climate control vents. In many cases, the in-vehicle component 206 may expose controls such as buttons, sliders, and touchscreens that may be used by the user to configure the particular settings of the in-vehicle component 206. As some possibilities, the controls of the in-vehicle component 206 may allow the user to set a lighting level of a light control, set a temperature of a climate control, set a volume and source of audio for a speaker, and set a position of a seat control. It should be noted that the illustrated portion of the vehicle 102 in FIG. 3 is merely an example, and more, fewer, and/or differently located elements may be used.

[0036] Referring back to FIG. 2A, each in-vehicle component 206 may be equipped with a proximity detection sensor 208 configured to facilitate detection of the wearable device 202. In an example, the proximity detection sensor 208 may include a wireless device, such as an Apple iBeacon device or a Google altBeacon device configured to enable low energy Bluetooth signal intensity as a locator, to determine the proximity of the wearable device 202 or mobile device 152. Detection of proximity of the wearable device 202 or mobile device 152 by the proximity detection sensor 208 may cause the vehicle component interface application 174 of the mobile device 152 to be activated. In an example, a wearer of the wearable device 202 may reach his or her hand toward the in-vehicle component 206. As the wireless signal intensity 210 of the approaching wearable device 202 to the proximity detection sensor 208 crosses a minimum threshold intensity, the intensity shift of the wireless connection 204 strength may be detected by the proximity detection sensor 208, and a handshake may be established between the proximity detection sensor 208 and the approaching wearable device 202. This connection functionality of the mobile device 152 may accordingly be utilized as a trigger to invoke the vehicle component interface application 174 on the mobile device 152.

[0037] As another possibility, the proximity detection sensor 208 may include a near field communication (NFC) tag that may be detected by the wearable device 202 or mobile device 152. Accordingly, as the wearable device 202 or mobile device 152 is moved into proximity to the in-vehicle component 206, the vehicle component interface application 174 on the mobile device 152 may be activated. However, the use of NFC tags may require a controlled, slow motion of the approaching device to close proximity to the proximity detection sensor 208. As a further possibility, the proximity detection sensor 208 may include a static image such as a quick response (QR) code or other information-encoded image that may be captured via a camera of the wearable device 202 or mobile device 152. In such a case, the vehicle component interface application 174 on the mobile device 152 may be activated responsive to the user pointing a camera of the wearable device 202 or mobile device 152 at the QR code or other image. The use of QR codes or other image representations may require the approaching device to keep its camera on, and further requires the user to orient the approaching device to acquire the image.

[0038] In general, each in-vehicle component 206 may include a set of controls configured to receive input from the user with respect to basic or core functions of the in-vehicle component 206 (e.g., turn light on/off, turn speaker on/off, etc.), and a proximity detection sensor 208 configured to identify proximity of wearable device 202 or mobile device 152. It should be noted that the user interaction with the in-vehicle component 206 may be performed despite the mobile device 152 or wearable device 202 not having been paired with or being in communication with the computing platform 104.

[0039] FIG. 2B illustrates an alternate diagram 200-B of a request by a user to configure an in-vehicle component 206 via the user's mobile device 152. As compared to the diagram 200-A, in the diagram 200-B the user is approaching and may touch the proximity detection sensor 208 of the in-vehicle component 206 with a "naked" hand, i.e., a hand that is not wearing a wearable device 202 or holding a mobile device 152. Thus, as no increase in wireless signal intensity 210 is available to be detected, the vehicle 102 may be unable to detect which device to utilize based on the wireless signal intensity 210. In such a situation, instructing all mobile devices 152 in the vehicle 102 to launch the vehicle component interface application 174 or sending to all of them a notification that the interface is available would be an inelegant solution.

[0040] Instead, triangulation may be used to detect which mobile device 152 is that of the passenger requesting interaction with the in-vehicle component 206. Referring again to FIG. 3, if a user located in seat 302-B reaches for the overhead light in-vehicle component 206-B, by triangulation the vehicle 102 may determine that a mobile device 152 located in seat 302-B is the device of the user in proximity to the in-vehicle component 206-B. As shown in FIG. 3, each of the in-vehicle controls 206-A through 206-D is located closest to one of the seats 302-A through 302-D, respectively. Additionally, similar to as shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B, each of the in-vehicle controls 206-A through 206-D includes a respective proximity sensor 208.

[0041] In the example in which a proximity sensor 208 of the in-vehicle component 206 detects an approach or touch of the user's hand to the in-vehicle component 206, a preliminary action may be performed by the in-vehicle component 206, such as toggling the on-off state of a light of the in-vehicle component 206. Additionally or alternately, as shown in FIG. 4A, the in-vehicle component 206-B may broadcast or otherwise send a request for intensity information 210 to the other in-vehicle components 206 of the vehicle 102 (e.g., 206-A and 206-C as illustrated). This request may cause the other in-vehicle components 206 to return wireless signal intensity 210 data identified by their respective proximity sensors 208 for whatever devices they detect (e.g., intensity data 210-A identified by the proximity sensor 308-A, intensity data 210-C identified by the proximity sensor 208-C).

[0042] Continuing with the example of the user in seat 302-B approaching the in-vehicle component 206-B, the in-vehicle component 206-B may user the wireless signal intensity 210-B from its own proximity sensor 308-B as well as data from the other proximity sensors 208 (e.g., proximity sensors 208-A and 208-C) to determine a mobile device 152 of the approaching user. Thus, the proximity detection sensors 208 may be configured to share device wireless signal intensity 210 data with one other to allow for triangulation and identification of which of the wearable devices 202 or mobile devices 152 are closest to a given in-vehicle component 206.

[0043] For instance, a mobile device 152 may be detected as being the only mobile device 102 that has a highest measured wireless signal intensity 210 at the in-vehicle component 206-B as compared to that measured at the in-vehicle component 206-A and the in-vehicle component 206-C. That device may therefore be determined to be the mobile device 152 most likely located in seat 302-B. Notably, such an approach facilitates device identification despite the various devices potentially having different baseline signal intensities, since the triangulation relies on differences in relative wireless signal intensity 210 levels for each device as measured by the various proximity sensors 208 of the in-vehicle components 206, not on a determination of which device has a highest overall intensity level at one particular proximity sensor 208.

[0044] In some examples, the proximity detection sensors 208 may additionally be utilized to enable in-cabin gesture interfaces for users wearing capable wearable devices 202 (e.g., BLE devices in the case of BLE proximity detection sensors 208), such as one of the new smart-watches, fitness bands or control rings. Based on the aforementioned triangulation techniques, the network of proximity detection sensors 208 may be able to perform in-cabin location tracking of the wearable devices 202, in order to detect a gesture action performed by a user in the air, such as to open a window with a simple swipe of the hand, or to control the volume with an up-down hand motion.

[0045] The in-cabin tracking may also be extended to passengers not wearing wearable devices 202. In an example, electrical field distortions may be measurable with sufficiently sensitive proximity detection sensors 208 based on the field generated by the wireless components inside the vehicle 102. If different communication technologies are used, such as 60 GHz modulation, in addition to increasing the bandwidth of data communicable between devices, in some cases the vehicle 102 may be able to detect in-cabin tracking to detect gestures and other motions at a high resolution.

[0046] The integration of proximity detection sensors 208 with the configurable in-vehicle components 206, as well as the triangulation method or wireless signal intensity 210 threshold techniques, may accordingly allow the vehicle 102 to determine which mobile device 152 belongs to the user engaging the configurable in-vehicle component 206.

[0047] As shown in FIG. 4B, once the mobile device 152 of the requesting user is identified, the vehicle 102 may be configured to provide the identified mobile device 152 with a user interface definition 402 regarding what functionality is available to perform on the in-vehicle component 206. In an example, to keep the in-vehicle component 206 functionality self-contained, the in-vehicle component 206 may be configured to communicate the user interface definition 402 to the mobile devices 152 or wearable devices 202 identified to display the user interface.

[0048] To provide the interface specified by the user interface definition 402 on the located mobile device 152, in an example, the in-vehicle component 206 may be configured to request the mobile device 152 to launch a vehicle component interface application 174 previously installed to the mobile device 152. If the vehicle component interface application 174 is not already installed on the personal device, the in-vehicle component 206 may be configured to offer to side-load to it or to offer a link from which the in-vehicle component 206 may be installed to the personal device (e.g., from the Google Application Store or the Apple AppStore, as some possibilities).

[0049] The interface definition 402 may be encoded in a data interchange format, such as hypertext markup language (HTML), extensible markup language (XML) or JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). As one specific example, the user interface definition 402 may be encoded in a markup similar to that of the view and viewgroup user interface definitions utilized by the Google Android operating system. One advantage of using a data exchange commonly used on the web is that user devices (e.g., mobile devices 152, wearable devices 202, etc.) may be able to render the user interface definition 402 to display the user interface using existing or downloadable functionality of the device (e.g., a web browser plugin).

[0050] As one possibility, responsive to a user entering the vehicle 102, a personal device of the user may be configured to utilize the vehicle component interface application 174 to connect to the vehicle 102 to receive the user interface definition 402. In an example, the personal device may connect to the in-vehicle components 206 to receive the user interface definition 402 via available wireless protocols (e.g., BLE, etc.) provided by the proximity sensors 208. The received user interface definition 402 may be descriptive of the functions available in each in-vehicle component 206, variables that may be controlled, and current state of the variables. Thus, as the vehicle component interface application 174 may retrieve the user interface definition 402 descriptive of the user interface to present from the vehicle 102, a universal vehicle component interface application 174 may be utilized across various brands/makes/models of vehicle 102.

[0051] In an example, an user interface definition 402 template for an in-vehicle light fixture having a single lamp may be described as an XML element with two attributes as follows:

TABLE-US-00001 <Lighting intensity_max=''100" color_tone_max=''360''/>

[0052] For a more complex interface, a more complex user interface definition 402 template would accordingly be utilized, such as that used to control seat functions (e.g., forward, back, tilt, recline, lumbar, etc.). In such an example, the user interface definition 402 template may be defined to include attributes descriptive of the available functions, their names for presentation in the user interface, their allowed range of values (e.g., min, max, step size, default, etc.), and potentially layout information descriptive of grouping, ordering, or suggested controls (e.g., toggle control, slider control, knob control, etc.) of how to render the interface controls to change these attributes.

[0053] As the mobile device 152 or wearable device 202 is requested by the in-vehicle component 206 to act as a user interface for the in-vehicle component 206, the mobile device 152 or wearable device 202 accordingly receives functionalities are available from the module, but also what other modules offering similar functionalities are available in the vehicle as well as their locations (e.g., from triangulation as discussed above). The vehicle component interface application 174 may be configured to aggregate the data and offer to the user combinations for controlling interior lighting or other vehicle functions by controlling the in-vehicle component 206 sharing that attribute. As a specific example, the user may utilize their mobile device 152 to invoke interior lights of all interior lights, but at a low intensity level. It should be noted that in other examples, aggregation of the user interface definition 402 may be performed by the in-vehicle components 206, such that the aggregated user interface definition 402 may be communicated to the personal device by the specific in-vehicle component 206 requesting for the user's device to display a user interface.

[0054] FIG. 5 illustrates an example process 500 for identifying a mobile device 152 associated with a user in the vehicle 102 requesting an action. The process 500 may be performed, for example, by one or more in-vehicle components 206 of the vehicle 102.

[0055] At operation 502, the in-vehicle component 206 determines whether a personal device of a user (e.g., a mobile device 152, a wearable device 202, etc.) is approaching the in-vehicle component 206. In an example, the in-vehicle component 206 may be equipped with a proximity detection sensor 208 configured to facilitate detection of a wearable device 202, such that as the wireless signal intensity 210 of the approaching wearable device 202 to the proximity detection sensor 208 crosses a minimum threshold intensity, the intensity shift of the wireless connection 204 strength may be detected by the proximity detection sensor 208, and a handshake may be established between the proximity detection sensor 208 and the approaching wearable device 202. If a personal device is detected as approaching the in-vehicle component 206, control passes to operation 504. Otherwise, control passes to operation 510.

[0056] At operation 504, the in-vehicle component 206 identifies the mobile device 152 of the user to use to display a user interface for the in-vehicle component 206. In an example, the approaching wearable device 202 may be paired with or otherwise associated with a mobile device 152 configured to execute the vehicle component interface application 174, and the wearable device 202 may be configured to provide to the in-vehicle component 206 (or the in-vehicle component 206 may request) the identity of the associated mobile device 152. In another example, if the approaching device is a mobile device 152 or other device configured to execute the vehicle component interface application 174, then the in-vehicle component 206 may identify the approaching mobile device 152 as the device to display the user interface.

[0057] At operation 506, the in-vehicle component 206 sends an interaction request to the identified device. In an example the in-vehicle component 206 may be configured to request the identified device to launch a vehicle component interface application 174, or to provide a link for the vehicle component interface application 174 to be downloaded if the vehicle component interface application 174 is not yet installed. Once invoked or installed, control passes to operation 508.

[0058] At operation 508, the in-vehicle component 206 processes the interaction request using the identified device. An example interaction is described below with respect to the process 600. After operation 508, control passes to operation 502.

[0059] At operation 510, the in-vehicle component 206 may determine whether the in-vehicle component 206 detects an approach but no personal device. In an example, electrical field distortions of the in-vehicle component 206 may be measured by the proximity detection sensor 208 of the in-vehicle component 206 based on the field generated by the wireless components inside the vehicle 102. In another example, the in-vehicle component 206 may detect a user touch via a selection of a control of the built-in user interface of the in-vehicle component 206. If an approach is detected control passes to operation 512. Otherwise, control passes to operation 502.

[0060] At operation 512, the in-vehicle component 206 requests the other in-vehicle components 206 of the vehicle 102 to send wireless signal intensity 210 data identified by their respective proximity sensors 208 for whatever devices they detect. This may be done to allow the in-vehicle component 206 to perform triangulation to detect which mobile device 152 is that of the user requesting interaction with the in-vehicle component 206.

[0061] At operation 514, the in-vehicle component 206 determines whether the wireless signal intensity 210 data or whether a timeout occurred. For example, if at least a predetermined amount of time has passed since sending the request in operation 502, control passes to operation 516. Or, if the in-vehicle component 206 receives the requested wireless signal intensity 210, control passes to operation 516. Otherwise, control remains at operation 514.

[0062] At operation 516, the in-vehicle component 206 calculates proximity to the detected devices. In an example, the in-vehicle component 206 may use the received wireless signal intensities 210 from its proximity sensor 308 as well as data from the other proximity sensors 208, to determine which devices have what wireless signal intensities 210 at the various in-vehicle component 206.

[0063] At operation 518, the in-vehicle component 206 identifies a closest device. In an example, in-vehicle component 206 may identify a mobile device 152 having a higher wireless signal intensity 210 by in-vehicle component 206 than by the other in-vehicle components 206. This device may accordingly be identified as being the most likely the mobile device 152 of the user approaching the in-vehicle component 206. After operation 518, control passes to operation 506.

[0064] FIG. 6 illustrates an example process 600 for displaying a user interface on the identified mobile device 152. The process 600 may be performed, for example, by a personal device (e.g., a mobile device 152, a wearable device 202, etc.) in communication with one or more in-vehicle components 206 of the vehicle 102.

[0065] At operation 602, the personal device enters the vehicle 102. In an example, the personal device may be carried by a user entering the vehicle 102.

[0066] At operation 604, the personal device connects to the in-vehicle components 206. In an example, responsive to a user entering the vehicle 102, a personal device of the user may be configured to utilize the vehicle component interface application 174 to connect to the available wireless protocols (e.g., BLE, etc.).

[0067] At operation 606, the personal device receives complex user interface definition 402 template information from the in-vehicle components 206. In an example, the personal device may receive tagged user interface definition 402 information descriptive of the functions available in each in-vehicle component 206, variables that may be controlled, and current state of the variables.

[0068] At operation 608, the personal device determines whether to act as a user interface for the in-vehicle components 206. In an example, such as the process 500 discussed above, the personal device may be requested by the in-vehicle component 206 to act as a user interface for the in-vehicle component 206.

[0069] At operation 610, the personal device aggregates data from the in-vehicle components 206 offering similar functionality. In an example, the user may utilize their mobile device 152 to invoke interior lights of all interior lights, but at a low intensity level. It should be noted that in other examples, aggregation of the user interface definition 402 may be performed by the in-vehicle components 206, such that the aggregated user interface definition 402 may be communicated to the personal device by the specific in-vehicle component 206 requesting for the user's device to display a user interface.

[0070] At operation 612, the personal device renders a user interface. The personal device may accordingly display a user interface defined according to the received and aggregated tagged user interface definition 402.

[0071] At operation 614, the personal device determines whether the user requests to quit the user interface. In an example, the personal device may receive user input requesting for the user interface to be dismissed. If such input is received, control passes to operation 616. Otherwise, control passes to operation 618.

[0072] At operation 616, the personal device closes the user interface. After operation 616, control passes to operation 608.

[0073] At operation 618, the personal device determines whether a user interaction with the user interface is received. In an example, the personal device may receive user input requesting for a change to be made to the settings for one or more of the in-vehicle components 206.

[0074] At operation 620, the personal device sends an action request to the in-vehicle component(s) 206. In an example, the user may utilize the personal device to invoke interior lights of all interior lights, but at a low intensity level. After operation 620, control passes to operation 614.

[0075] While exemplary embodiments are described above, it is not intended that these embodiments describe all possible forms of the invention. Rather, the words used in the specification are words of description rather than limitation, and it is understood that various changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Additionally, the features of various implementing embodiments may be combined to form further embodiments of the invention.

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