General Dynamics has filed a patent for a display system that allows for a head-up display (HUD) image to be projected onto a vehicle’s windshield, overlaying any visually obstructed portions of the environment caused by the vehicle’s structure. The system includes a camera to capture image data, a controller to process the data into a HUD image, a HUD element to present the image to the vehicle’s occupant, and a projector to project the image onto the windshield. The patent also claims the ability to adjust the image capture angle based on the occupant’s eye or head location. GlobalData’s report on General Dynamics gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on General Dynamics, fuel transport marine vessels was a key innovation area identified from patents. General Dynamics's grant share as of September 2023 was 80%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Display system for projecting images over aircraft structure

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: General Dynamics Corp

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230312129A1) describes an innovative aircraft design that aims to improve the pilot's field of view by addressing visual obstructions caused by the aircraft structure. The patent claims an aircraft with a cockpit, a windshield, and an aircraft structure visible within the field of view. To overcome the obstruction, the aircraft is equipped with an imaging system that captures image data of the obstructed portion of the environment. A controller processes this data into a head-up display (HUD) image, which is then projected onto a HUD element visible to the pilot. The HUD image overlays the aircraft structure, allowing the pilot to see the obstructed portion of the environment. Importantly, the controller adjusts the image capture angle of the imaging system in response to changes in the pilot's eye or head location.

The patent also describes a display system for vehicles with a similar concept. The system includes a camera that captures image data of the visually obstructed portion of the environment outside the vehicle. A controller processes this data into a HUD image, which is projected onto a HUD element visible to the vehicle's occupant. The HUD image overlays the vehicle structure, providing a view of the obstructed portion of the environment. Similar to the aircraft design, the controller adjusts the image capture angle of the camera based on the occupant's eye or head location.

The patent further introduces a HUD system specifically designed for vehicles with visually obstructing vehicle structures, such as aircraft with a nose cone. This HUD system includes a transparent combiner that can be deployed into the field of view defined by the windshield. The combiner presents projected images visible to the vehicle's occupant. A controller processes image data captured by an imaging system with an unobstructed field of view and creates a HUD image representing the visually obstructed portion of the environment. The HUD image is then projected onto the transparent combiner, allowing the occupant to see the obstructed portion of the environment. The controller adjusts the image capture angle of the imaging system based on the occupant's eye or head location.

Overall, this patent presents innovative solutions to improve the pilot's or vehicle occupant's field of view by addressing visual obstructions caused by the vehicle structure. By utilizing imaging systems, controllers, and HUD elements, the patent aims to enhance situational awareness and safety in various vehicles, including aircraft.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.