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(11) Patent Number: KE 422   

(4S) Dateofgnnt' 31/01/2011   

(73) 0wner: NYS ENGINEERING INSTITUTE of P.O. BOX 55742-    NAIROBI., Kenya and KIIAKAME PETER W AMBOKO of P.O. BOX 49853-00100, NAIROBI, Kenya       

(ll) Applicatioo Number:    00200,    KE/P/2008/ 000758   

(ll) Filiog Date: 05/06/2008   

(72) Inventor:    KIIAKAME PETER W AMBOKO of P.O. BOX 49853-
       
(30) Priority data:    00100, NAIROBI, Kenya.
   
(74) Agent/address for correspondence:   

(54) Title: A SYSTEM AND METIIOD FOR CONTROLLING A REMOTE DEVICE. (57) Abstract:
A system and method for communicating with a remote location, such as a vehicle or building, the system including a calling transceiver, Cellular network/Public Switched Telephone Network, and a receiving transceiver. In the system and method, the calling transceiver and the reciving transceiver are communicate over- the-air, through the cellular network order to control a device loclrted in the remote location. Upon receiving the signal, the remote transceiver generates a first signal, which is received by a tripping circuit, which in tum generates a second signal. The second signal causes a switch to trip, which thereby controls the device located at the remote location. The remote transceiver also has the capacity to transmit reverse wireless communications through the Cellular\PSTN, which allows monitoring of the device.

BACKGROUNDOF'lliEINVENTION

The present inventicn relares 1D a 'J"'lmand meduxl it< sigoo1ing a remdi: 1ocation. Mere pnticularly,1he

inventim relates to a system and method for sending a signal to a remote location, such as a

vehicle or building or/and any electrical appliance over a -wireless netwak in Older to comroJ a

device locared a! 1he remdi: klcalioo.

2. Descripticn ofRelared Art

This iiM:ntion has a variety ofawlica!i(J]S ireluding vehicle ,.,;:urity, home ,.,;:urity , tracking ofslnlen jllql<rty, acenl!al sv.ilclling 'J"'lmit< lighls' o1hereledrical awliances.ln 1he descriptioo oflhe relared art we IH:1hevehicle ,.,;:urity awlica!ioo.

Car.,jackings and vehicle lheft have become a serious jiOblem, ~in1hepastfuw )<3!5. Many

\<biclelhell prevention S)>!e111s it< aulomobiles, trucks, and boats are known and prerently used. These

sysrems fall inlo lhree genernl clas<es: physkal locking devioes, alann syslems, and SJ'1eliiS it< disabling

the vehicle. Ne\1121heless, vehicle thieves and car-jackers have conducted a running, and mainly

winning ruttlewifu such lhell prevention syslems.

Physical locking devices constitute the first class of vehicle theft prevention systems. An

example of such a device is 1he lock, much includes ametillic sbafl and a lockingmedJaoJimlloca!ed

oo 1he ofult The  Jock ~!~~>drs 1D 1he sreering wheel of a car or truck and, mule aUached, inhibils

movcmrtof1he !olffring .meeL ~however, can easily defuat lhe physical locking devices, for example, by simply spraying freon in1D lhe locking mechanism and slriking lhe lock wilh sufficiertt force In break it. The physical locking device can lhen be easily removed fium 1he sleering wheeL

Falling wilhin 1he second class, myriad alarm sysrems exist it< prevertting velricle lheft. Such

SJ'1eliiS opera1e by deterring a lhiefbefure lhe lhief underlakes lo sleal a velricle. A1ann sy.;ll:trn employ

wrirusdelemm: medtods, ireluding o:md and visual alanns. Ne\<r1heless, lhieves can easily disable alann syslems.lhereby rendering1hem inetfo::tive, even ""*"" in 1m10ca= E""' ifnot disabled, a lhiefcan allow 1he alarm In activare and simply drive away in lhe vehicle while 1he alann is sounding. Thus,

alarm SJ'1eliiS camrt oounll:rnct a delennined lhiet:

Asln 1he lbinll)pe, wrious SJ'1=Sexistfurdisabling a vehicle. Fer example; same sysle111s worlc in ronjtmetion wilh law-enfoo:ement agencies, by which an agency can rernorely disable lhe vehicle. Such sys1ems, lherefure, require intervention by lhe agency and thus cannot be irnplemenled by1he whicle""""'withoot1m10assislan:e. In a similar sysrem, lhe velricle owner must call a cenlral service, which can lhen transmit a signal over a wireless 1-..klo1he vehicle. This~~. ooly ji1:Mdes lhe capability lo 1rack lhe vehk:ie, but ootiD a shut it do\w, requires 1he central service and lhus can

be rotly and can incur delays betweenlhe OIVIlfis initial call and 1hettansmissioo of a cut-off signallo 1he

velricle by 1he service. In addition, 1he law-enfurcernent and central service SJ'1eliiS require lhe vehicle
 owner 1D invest in expensive ekdronic compooen1s fur installation in the vehicle and ooly wod< in a covered "local" area.l'roducl5 using using 1his syst<m iiJOlude in Kenya iiJOludeCarlnd®and Trncld1".

Other vehicle disabling systems use infia-red carrier waves produced by a transmitter that

must be directed towards a receiver in the stolen vehicle to terminate the vehicle's operation. Sud!..

S)'lill:ms,IK>wever, I<qUire a short dislance and a direct line of sight between the transmitter and receiver.

SimilM sysrerns employ radio trnnsmission devices 1D disable the vehicle. These systems also suffer

film a limired rang<; and have the <lisadwnlage of disabling all vehicles equipped with a similar radio

receiver. Moreover, the infra-red and radio systems are expensive and demand that the vehicle owner

im<stincostly, cus1Dmized devi= fur the vehicle.

Conventional vehicle disabling systems also lack the capacity to transmit signals back from the

vehicle 1D the individoal or entity that triggered the syst<m. Such signals cao be used 1D indicate the

status of the vehicle, such as whether it has been disabled and where it is located. The benefit of

transmissions back from the system is clear, providing the veh£1e owner with important infunnatioo

furpen;onal use and that can be relayed 1D law enfo=ment ~

Even beyond the application of disabling or signaling a vehicle, it is highly bereficial1D be able 1D

remotely cootrol various devices and sys1<ms located in buildings or slructures. The ability 1D remotely

control various devices and sysrerns bas a wide variety ofapplications. For exampl<; wireless systems

can be used 1D control air-<ODditioning, alarm, and lighting devices and sys1<ms AI presen1, howe\<r, no

remotdyqx:mtedsy.;ll:m isavailablethatcanbines low cost and simplicitywi1h unlitni1al range of ~on.

Mmlver, no sysli:m is available that permits comnnmicalions, sud! as stallE reports, OOck ficrn the remotdy

located devi= and sysllms

In light ofthe furegoing, a need exists for a sysllm and rned!od fur communicating wi1h a vehicle or

o1her remote b:>dicn using a wireie&<; -    and an inexpensive tram:eiver located wilhin the remote

1ocatioo having a virtoally unlitni1al range ofoperntion.

SUMMARY OF TilE INVENTION

Accordingly, the present invention is directed 1D a system and method for signaling a remote

location over a wireless network to control a device or system located at the remote location and for receiving signals back from that location that substantially obviates one or more ofthe
problems due to limitations anddisadvantagesofthe related art.

Additional features aod advantages of the invention will be set for1h in the description that

follows, and in part will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice ofthe

invention. The o~ectives and other advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by
 
the system and method particularly pointed out in the written description and claims, as well as the appended drawings.

To achieve these and other advantages and in accordance with the purpose of the invention, as embodied and broadly described herein, the invention is a system for signaling a remote location via a wireless network. The system comprises a microprocessor controlled switching unit located in the vehicle for receiving a wireless communication initiated on the transceiver and for generating a first signal in response to receiving the wireless communication. The wireless communication is sent from the a handheld transceiver to the cellular network, which receives the wire!~ communication and tnmsmi:ts the wireless communication to the remote unit. The system also includes a tripping circuit, which is responsive to the first signal, for generating a second signal, as well as a switch, responsive to the second signaJ, for controlling a device located at the remote location.

In another aspect, the present invention is a method for signaling a remote location. The method comprises initiating a wireless communication and transmitting the wireless communication by a transceiver, and receiving the wireless communication from the transceiver. The method further comprises receiving, by remote transceiver, the wireless communication transmitted by the cellular network and generating a first signal by the remote transceiver module in I"eSJX)DSe to receiving the wireless communication, the remote transceiver module being located in the remote location. The method also comprises generating, in response to the first signal, a second signaJ by a tripping circuit, and controlling a device located at the remote location in response to the
second signal

In still another aspect, the present invention is a method for monitoring and controlling a device in a remote location. The method comprises initiating a first wireless communication and transmitting the first wireless communication by a transceiver; receiving the first wireless communication from the transmitter and transmitting the first wireless communication by a central transceiver; receiving by a remote transceiver module the first wireless communication transmitted by the central transceiver, the remote transceiver module being located in the remote location. The method further comprises generating a first signal by the remote transceiver module in response to receiving the first wireless communication; generating, in response to the first signa~ a second signal; and tripping a switch in response to the second signal in order to control the device. Finally, the method comprises transmitting, by the remote transceiver module, a second wireless communication to the central transceiver to monitor the device.

In an exemplary embodiment of the above systems and methods, the central transceiver is a ground-based central telephone network. The wireless communication is relayed over-the-air by telephone network to the remote unit. In this system, moreover, the transmitter may be a fixed telephone unit, on which the owner of the device to be controlled in the remote location makes a
 



call, i.e., initiates the wireless communication. The call includes the number corresponding to the remote unit and a predetermined security eode, the latter being used to prevent any inadvertent calls mede to the remote unit from genemtingthe fum signal.

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the fullowing detailed description are exemplary and explanatory only and are not restrictive of the invention. as claimed.

BRIEF DESCRII"TTON OF THE DRAWINGS

Understanding of the present invention will be fucilitated by consideration of the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the present invention taken together with the accompanying drawings, in which like numerals refer to like parts and in which:

FIG. I is a diagrammatical illustration of an exemplary GSM or COMA system for remotely tripping a switch in a vehicle in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an exemplary receiver and tripping circuit located within a vehicle in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a circuit diagram illustrating an exemplary embodiment of the tripping circuit of

FIG.2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF TilE JNVENTION

In accordance with the present invention, a system and method are provided for communicating with a remote location, including a calling transceiver, GSM or\and COMA network, and a remote transceiver. The system comprises a GSM or\and COMA transceiver for receiving a wireless conununication and for generating a ftrst signal. The system also comprises a tripping circuit for generating a second signal in response to the first signal, as -well as a switch, responsive to the second signal, for controlling a device located at the remote location. The GSM or\and COMA transceiver also has the capacity to transmit wireless communicatiom. Thus, the device can also be monitored. The remote location may be a vehicle or some type of electrical appliance. The wireless communications are relayed by the GSM or\and COMA network to the remote transceiver and vice-versa. Communications from the GSM or\and COMA network to the remote transceiver unit are sent over a forward communications link, and those from the remote trasceiver unit to the GSM or\and COMA network are sent over a reverse communications link.

The term "vehicle owner" should also be understood to apply to the ovmer or occupant of a structore or building, in whicb a system or device is located that can be remotely controlled using the system of the present inventiOIL

An exemplary embodiment of the system of the present invention is shovm in FIG. \ and is

designated generally by reference numeral 100. As embodied and shown in FIG. I, the system of the present invention includes a calling transceiver 102, a central switching ground-based transmis-sion facility (e.g., a GSM or\and CDMA network) 104, a vehicle 108. The calling transceiver 102 is coupled to the central switching facility 104 over a The details of this system are described below.

The calling transceiver 102 may be a conventional mobile telephone handset Nevertheless, any other type of suitable transceiver that can send signals to a central transceiver can be used.

The central switching facility 104 may be coupled to the PSTN. In this way, telephone calls can be made by individual callers over the PSTN (or to a Mobile Telephone Switching Office and then over the PSTN) directly to the central switching facility 104. Furthermore, the system may be used with a conventional transceiver that sends the wireless communication directly over-the-air to the remote transceiver 202, dispensing with the need for the GSM or\and CDMA network.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the vehicle 108, or other remote location includes circuitry 200 for controlling a switch in response to a signal sent by the vehicle or remote location owner. The circuitry 200 includes the transceiver 202 as well as a tripping circuit 208. As noted above and as embodied herein, the transceiver 202 is preferably a conventional GSM or\and CDMA unit capable of receiving signals transmitted over-the-air, either directly or through a relaying network. The remote transceiver 202 includes an antenna 203 for collecting wireless communications sent over the forward link and for radiating wireless communications transmitted over the reverse link. The remote transceiver 202 is assigned a unique telephone number by which it can be accessed by a caller. The remote transceiver 202 can also be assigned a predetennined security code, for example, a four-digit number. In this way, the remote transceiver 202 will not generate a control signal inadvertently, i.e., without receiving the security code.

The remote transceiver 202 and the tripping circuit 208 are both powered by a DC power source 206 located within the vehicle 108. Conventional vehicle power sources, such as an automobile battery, are generally 12 Volts DC. The pager transceiver 202, however, is a low-voltage device, for example, a 3.6 Volt DC unit. Accordingly, a voltage step-down circuit 204 is used to convert the high voltage generated by the power source 206 to the low voltage for the remote transceiver 202. The tripping circuit 208, on the other hand, can be a 12 Volt DC circuit and thus directly coupled to the power source 206. The remote transceiver 202 can also be coupled to a backup power source 207. The backup power source 207 can be a rechargeable battery, such as a nicad battery, coupled to a device for recharging the battery, for example, an automobile or truck alternator.

The remote transceiver 202 is coupled to the tripping circuit 208. The tripping circuit, in tum, can be coupled to an alarm system 212, an ignition interrupt device 210, a homing transmitter 214, and/or other miscellaneous devices. The alarm system 210 is a conventional alann system and may be capable of generating various alarm signals, including audible and visual

signals.

The homing transmitter 214 is also a conventicmal device, designed tQ produce a signal, radio tune, or digital pulse by which the vehicle I 08 can be located, for example, through triangulation. As will be apparent to those skilled in the art, the homing transmitter 214 can be implemented in

various ways, one of which would be an SOS-type frequency transmitter, commonly used on

boms and ships fur indicating and locating a man-overboard by producing an "E-PIRB" signal. The

homing transmitter 21 4 could alternatively be a Global Positioning System (GPS) type transmitter,

designed to generate a digital location identification for detennining the geographic position of the

vehicle.

The ignition interrupt 210 is also a conventional device, commonly available from vehicle alann

system manufacturers.


The term "vehicle owner" should also be understood to apply to the owner or occupant of a

structure or building, in which a system or device is located that can be remotely controlled using

the system of the present invention.

Once the remote transceiver 202 in the vehiole 108 receives the forward link call, it sends an input signal to the tripping " cin:uit 208. The tripping ciJcuit 208 then processes the input signal,

amplifying it to a suitable current and causing the transistor 312 to turn-on.  After the transistor

312  is turned-on, sufficient current will build up to trigger the relay coil 306. Triggering of the

relay 306, in turn, activates the ignition interrupt 210, the alann system 212, the homing transmitter

214, and/or other optional devices, depending on the systems with which the vehicle is equipped.

Once activated, the ignition interrupt 210 shuts-down the vehicle, the alarm S)Stem 210 produces

whatever audio and/or visual effedB it may have, and the homing transmitter 214 emanates a signal by

which the vehicle can be tracked or located.

Alternatively, the vehicle 108 may be equipped with a device that tenninates the fuel supply to the vehicle's engine. This will cause the vehicle to more gradually shutdown than if the

ignition interrupt circuit 214 is provided, preventing the thief from losing conlrol of the vehicle before

operation ofthe engine tenninates. The vehicle may also be equipped with a conventional voice or sound circuit for warning the thief that the vehicle is about to shut-down, Otis circuit also being tripped in response to reception by the remote transceiver 202 of the owner's call. As wHl be apparent to those skilled in the art, various other devices and methods can be employed to disable the vehicle, and a variety of devices can be coupled to the tripping circuit and thereby activated
upon tripping of the switcll.

The tripping circuit 208 can be reset, for example, by a manual switch located in the vehicle !08. This switch can ba hidden somewhere whhin the vehicle to prevent the unwanted vehicle

operator from discovering it and thereby restarting the vehicle's engine. When the manual reset switch •is activated by the vehicle owner, the nonnally closed switch--which opens when the tripping circuit 208 is tripped-will be closed, and the tripping circuit 208 will return to its non-tripped state.

Alternatively, the vehicle owner may remotely call the remote transceiver 202 in order to reset the tripping circuit 208. The remote transceiver 202 may have the capacity to recognize a reset code, for example, a four-digit nwnber, similar to the security code. If so equipped, when the owner dials the remote tmnsceiver's 202 assigned telephone nwnber together with the reset code, the

remote r ttansceiver 202 will receive this signal and genernte a reset signal that resets the tnpping

cin:uit.

The system of the present invention can be used by individual vehicle owners to thwart car-jackings. In such cases, the owner wi1nesses the theft, locates a telephone, and dials the telephone mnnber and security code of the remote transceiver 202 to disable the vehicle. Attempting to operate the vehicle when it is disabled, the thief will be forced to abandon it. Ifthe owner is able to quickly locate a mobile handset or fixed telephone, say, in a matter of less than five minutes, and thereby disable the vehicle, the owner can then call the police and tell them the vehicle is no more than a five minute drive from the scene ofthe car-jacking.

In another application, the system can be used, for example, by rental car companies to prevent delinquent renters from further operation of the rented vehicle. In such cases, when the vehicle is not returned to the company on time, the company can dial the remote transceiver's

202 telephone number and security code and disable the vehicle, preventing unlawful and possibly

hannful further use by the renter.

As is apparent from the preceding description, the inventive S)>!em and method can be used in

many applications on a variety of vehicles and/or remote locations. Automobiles, trucks, boats,

motorcycles, and buildings or other struclllres are examples of the types of vehicles and locations in which the present invention can be employed to prevent and/or stop unwanted and illegal use of the
vehicle, or to activate some system in a remote location.

For example, if the remote transceiver 202 were located in a building, it could be interconnected through the tripping circuit 208 to a device or system located within or near the building, such as an air-conditioning, alann, or heating system. Thus, when the remote transceiver 202 receives the forward link wireless communication from the transmitter 102, the remote unit 202 would generate a signal that controls operation of the system to which the remote transceiver 202 is connected.

The remote transceiver 202 can be implemented using various devices capable of receiving wireless transmissions. And the tripping circuit 208 can be implemented with various circuit components and circuitry, or with computer software embodied in a central or dedicated computer located in the vehicle or remote location.

Accordingly, the remote transceiver 202 can be responsive to forward link signals or can be used
 

to send unprompted reverse link signals for pericdic monitoring pmposes.ln this way, an inexpensive system can be used to communicate back and forth between a monitoring station and a remote location, such as a vehicle or building conmining various controllable devices.

It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the ~ and method of the present inveotion without departing from the spirit or scope of the inventiOJL Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers the modifications and variations of this inventioo, provided they come within the scope ofthe appended claims and their equivalent
1.    A~ for remotely stopping a vehicle theft, compising;

a transmitter for generating a calling code and a predetermined security code;

a centrnl swi1I:hing unit fur receiving said calling code aod said predetermined security code and fur geoemting a furwwd wireless comnnmicatioo incWing said calling code and said predetermined securily code; remote transceiver, located in a vehicle, for receiving said wireless communication and for transmitting a reverse wireless communication, wherein said remote unit is responsive to said calling code and generates a first signal in response to receiving said predetennined security code; a tripping circuit, responsive to said first signal and located in said vehicle, for generating a second signal; and a switch, responsive to said second signal and located in said vehicle, for disabling said vehicle; wherein said remote transceiver is a digital transceiver that receives and sends only low-power short digital data packets and that can also receive digital and analog voice transmissions; wherein said reverse wireless communication can be relayed through said GSM or\and COMA network to the said mobile handset,

2.    The system recited in claim 1 wherein the tmnsceiver comprises a telephone for dialing code, the said code genemting the forced wireless communication, said code including a remote location transceiver number corresponding to the remote transceiver and a predetermined security code.

3.    The system recited in claim I wherdn the switch includes an ignition interrupt device for stopping operation of an engine in the vehicle.

4.    The System recited in claim l, further comprising an alarm system, said alarm system being responsive to the tripping circuit.

5.    The system recited in claim I, further comprising a homing circuit, responsive to tbe tripping circuit, for generating a homing signal.

6.    The system recited in claim I wherein said vehicle has a fuel supply, and wherein the action caused by the switch impedes said fuel supply.

7.    The system recited in claim 1 wherein the reverse wireless communication includes a status signal reporting a condition in the vehicle.

8.    The system recited in claim 1 wherein the reverse wireless communication is responsive to the forward wireless communication.

9.    A method for remotely stopping a vehicle theft, comprising: first tmnsmitting a forward signal by a mobile transceiver, said signal including a calling code and a predetermined security code; first receiving said forward signal by a centml switching unit; to a remote transceiver located in a vehicle; second receiving said forward signa] by said remote trans-ceiver if said calling code corresponds to said remote transceiver, generating a tripping pulse by said remote transceiver in response to said predetennined security code, said tripping pulse having a low voltage; converting said tripping pulse from said low voltage to a higher vohage by a tripping circuit said tripping cin:uit being located in the vehicle arul consisting of a voltage step-up circuit for increasing the voltage of said first signa] from said low voltage to said higher voltage; tripping a switch located in said vehicle in response to conversion of said tripping pulse from said low voltage to said higher voltage, thereby disabling said vehicle; ard third transmitting a reverse signal by said remote transceiver, wherein said reverse signal can be relayed to said central switching unit;

wherein said remote traiLsceiver is a digital traru;ceiver and receives and sends  low-power

short digital data packets and that can also receive digital and analog voice transmissions.

10.    The method recited in claim 9 wherein the reverse signal includes a status signal reporting a condition in the vehicle.
11.    The method recited in claim 9 wherein the reverse signal is responsive to the forward signal.

12.    The method recited in claim 9 wherein said vehicle has a vehicle ignition, the method further comprising inrerrupting said vehicle ignition in response 1D the tripping step.
13.    The method recited in claim 9, further comprising activating analannsystem in response to the tripping step.

14.    The method recited in claim 9, further comprising generating a homing signal in response 1D the tripping step.

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