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1. (US20100228417) DRIVER HANDS ON/OFF DETECTION DURING AUTOMATED LANE CENTERING/CHANGING MANEUVER
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Claims

1. A method for determining whether a vehicle driver is holding onto a vehicle steering wheel, said method comprising:
providing a perturbation signal to the steering wheel that causes the steering wheel to vibrate; and
determining that the vehicle driver is not holding onto the steering wheel of the vehicle if the perturbation signal is detected by vibrations on the steering wheel.
2. The method according to claim 1 wherein providing a perturbation signal to the steering wheel includes providing the perturbation signal by an electric motor in an active front steering system on the vehicle.
3. The method according to claim 1 wherein providing a perturbation signal to the steering wheel includes providing the perturbation signal by an electric motor in an electric power steering system on the vehicle.
4. The method according to claim 1 wherein detecting the perturbation signal includes using a steering angle sensor.
5. The method according to claim 1 further comprising filtering out a road disturbance signal from a steering angle signal that is used to detect the perturbation signal before determining that the perturbation signal indicates that a vehicle driver is not holding onto the vehicle steering wheel.
6. The method according to claim 5 wherein filtering out the road disturbance signal includes determining road type from a map database.
7. The method according to claim 1 wherein the method determines whether the vehicle driver is holding onto the vehicle steering wheel when the vehicle is in an autonomous or semi-autonomous driving mode.
8. The method according to claim 1 further comprising subtracting a steering command signal from the steering angle signal before determining that the perturbation signal indicates that the vehicle driver is not holding onto the vehicle steering wheel.
9. A method for determining whether a vehicle driver is holding onto a vehicle steering wheel, said method comprising:
providing a perturbation signal to the steering wheel that causes the steering wheel to vibrate;
determining that the vehicle is in an autonomous or semi-autonomous driving mode;
providing a steering command signal for steering the vehicle while it is in the autonomous or semi-autonomous driving mode;
detecting the steering angle of the steering wheel and providing a steering angle signal;
subtracting the steering command signal from the steering angle signal; and
determining whether the perturbation signal exists in the steering angle signal after the steering command signal has been subtracted from the steering angle signal.
10. The method according to claim 9 further comprising filtering out a road disturbance signal from the steering angle signal before determining whether the perturbation signal exists in the steering angle signal.
11. The method according to claim 10 wherein filtering out the road disturbance signal includes determining road type from a map database.
12. The method according to claim 9 wherein providing a perturbation signal to the steering wheel includes providing the perturbation signal by an electric motor in an active front steering system on the vehicle.
13. The method according to claim 9 wherein providing a perturbation signal to the steering wheel includes providing the perturbation signal by an electric motor in an electric power steering system on the vehicle.
14. The method according to claim 9 wherein detecting the steering angle includes using a steering angle sensor.
15. A system for determining whether a vehicle driver is holding onto a vehicle steering wheel, said system comprising:
means for providing a perturbation signal to the steering wheel that causes the steering wheel to vibrate;
means for determining that the vehicle is in an autonomous or semi-autonomous driving mode;
means for providing a steering command signal for steering the vehicle while it is in the autonomous or semi-autonomous driving mode;
means for detecting the steering angle of the steering wheel and providing a steering angle signal;
means for subtracting the steering command signal from the steering angle signal; and
means for determining whether the perturbation signal exists in the steering angle signal after the steering command signal has been subtracted from the steering angle signal.
16. The system according to claim 15 further comprising means for filtering out a road disturbance signal from the steering angle signal before determining whether the perturbation signal exists in the steering angle signal.
17. The system according to claim 16 wherein the means for filtering out the road disturbance signal determines road type from a map database.
18. The system according to claim 15 wherein the means for providing a perturbation signal to the steering wheel includes an electric motor in an active front steering system on the vehicle.
19. The system according to claim 15 wherein the means for providing a perturbation signal to the steering wheel includes an electric motor in an electric power steering system on the vehicle.
20. The system according to claim 15 wherein the means for detecting the steering angle uses a steering angle sensor.