Stellantis has been granted a patent for a motor vehicle ignition switch that includes two electrical circuits for detecting the position of a key in the ignition lock. The switch has multiple distinct positions, including off, starting, running, intermediate, and on positions. The second circuit is independent and includes a resistive divider, while the first circuit has three conductive laminas and two contacts. GlobalData’s report on Stellantis 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 Stellantis, battery management systems was a key innovation area identified from patents. Stellantis's grant share as of September 2023 was 59%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Motor vehicle ignition switch with multiple angular positions

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Stellantis NV

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11772584B2) describes a motor vehicle ignition switch with advanced features for detecting the angular position of a key in an ignition lock. The switch comprises two electric circuits, each with electrical contacts carried by a rotor that can rotate around a rotation axis. The switch offers multiple positions for the key, including off, starting, running, intermediate, and on positions.

In the running, starting, on, and intermediate positions, the first contact is in contact with a plate forming part of the second conductive lamina. In the on position, the second contact is also in contact with the second conductive lamina. In the off position, both the first and second contacts are in contact with the second conductive lamina.

The switch also includes a third conductive lamina with an arc-shaped portion arranged at the same radius and on the same plane as a contact portion of the first conductive lamina. The first conductive lamina has a connecting portion, and the contact portion has an appendage that protrudes radially towards the rotation axis.

The first, second, and third conductive laminas are coplanar in the switch. The second circuit of the switch comprises multiple conductive tracks connected to each other and separated by a non-conductive material. The second circuit's electrical contacts include a third, fourth, and fifth contact. These conductive tracks are arranged in a diametrically opposite area to the first, second, and third conductive laminas and have a circular arc shape along three different radii with respect to the rotation axis.

The patent also describes an ignition device that includes the ignition switch and an ignition lock with a movable locking pin. A processing and control unit is connected to the ignition switch to detect the position of the rotor through the first and second circuits. The processing and control unit is configured to position the locking pin in the advanced configuration if the vehicle's selector is not in a parking position and in the retracted configuration if the selector is in the parking position. Additionally, the processing and control unit emits an alarm signal when it detects that the rotor stops in the intermediate position during a rotation from the running position to the off position.

This patented ignition switch and ignition device offer improved functionality and safety features for motor vehicles, ensuring proper key detection and preventing unauthorized use.

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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.