GM has filed a patent application for a device described as a “Shape Changing Mirror.” The device outlined in the patent describes a bendable mirror that can automatically switch between a flat shape and fisheye shape, adjusting the field of view provided by the mirror based on vehicle maneuvers.
The GM patent filing has been assigned application number US 11,345,281 B2 with United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and was published on May 31st, 2022. The patent was originally filed on February 17th, 2020, and lists several Michigan-based engineers as the inventors, including Erik B. Golm, Meng Jiang, Shengbing Jiang, and Prakash Mohan Peranadam.
The patent describes a mirror support by a mirror assembly housing. The mirror has an outer reflective surface and bendable adjustability that is regulated with an actuator assembly that’s coupled to the mirror. Upon actuation, the actuator is configured to bend the mirror between a flat shape and a fisheye shape, with the result being an adjustable field of view for the mirror.
The patent shows images of the device as applied to a sideview mirror in a car, including a power supply, controller, and related sensors. The invention adds a layer of sophistication to the design by being able to identify different vehicle maneuvers, such as left / right lane change, and left / right turns (both forward and backward), and then take incoming vehicle sensor data (such as turn signal activation, steering wheel angle, gaze tracking, and gear selection) to determine the vehicle maneuver.
Based on the vehicle maneuver, the invention will then adjust the mirror shape to provide valuable visual information of what’s around the vehicle to safely complete the maneuver, possibly eliminating blind spots. Once the maneuver is completed, the system will then readjust the mirror to its standard shape.
Having the ability to automatically adjust the field of view for a side mirror would prove beneficial for a wide variety of vehicles, including traditional passenger vehicles, pickup trucks, and even commercial vehicles. What’s more, the system could be used for both ICE-powered vehicles and all-electric vehicles as well.