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NEW PATENT: RODENT REPELLER FOR VEHICLES (VEROREP)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PATENT NUMBER: US 7,324,408 B2
SOUTH AFRICAN PATENT NUMBER: 2006/2979
 
Executive Summary
 

That rodent damage to the electrical and soft-material components within a vehicle’s engine compartment is a major and costly problem is supported by ample evidence from both vehicle owners and service shops. The problem is particularly severe in pick-up trucks and vehicles used as SUVs although family vehicles parked in garages where rodents are a pest are also at risk.

VEROREP is a unique patented concept to eliminate this problem.

The tested prototype system consists of a control box and a number of ultrasonic transducers. The system creates a ”repellent” zone by emitting a constant series of complex ultrasonic sound waves which irritates the rodents and effectively repels them from entering the vehicle’s engine compartment.

Uniquely, VEROREP eliminates the problem of “shadow areas” i.e. areas where rodents can hide from standard ultrasonic repellant devices. It eliminates the problem of pests being immune to a particular frequency by varying the pulse via the system’s programmable CPU.

The system can be linked to the vehicle’s ignition system, ensuring the unit is automatically activated when the vehicle is switched off.

 
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Patent Application :
 
It would be ideally suited as an OEM factory fitment or, alternatively, as approved OEM equipment for installation by authorized service providers.

The system is not currently for sale to the general public. It is available for outright purchase or licensing by interested parties. The Patent Holder may be contacted as follows:
 
Gerhard Cilliers
Mobile: +27829325755

Douglas McKinnon Smith
Mobile: +27795196779
Tel: +27129918483

E-mail: info@verorep.com
 
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1. Background to the patent
   
  Pests such as rats and mice are commonly found on farms, in game parks, on smallholdings and even in domestic habitats. With regard to vehicles, they are known to cause damage to seat upholstery, carpets and even headliners. However, the most significant cost to the vehicle owner is by damage caused within the vehicle’s engine compartment. The original motivation for this patent arose from the inventor suffering major and recurring damage to his vehicle (a Mercedes Benz SUV) while parked at his game farm in South Africa.

The damage was caused by the invasion of rodents into the engine compartment – a regular occurrence throughout the year but particularly noticeable during the nesting season.

Substantial damage was frequently sustained on rubber piping, electrical wiring and other soft materials. One such occurrence resulted in the inventor having to replace the complete sound barrier in the front of the fire wall of the vehicle. (The barrier had been destroyed in a period of only three days.)

On occasion damage was so severe that the vehicle was totally incapacitated. A typical instance was caused by the rodents chewing a hole through the rubber air intake pipe between the air filter and the air mixing control unit. This causes the measuring unit to switch on a hazard light inside the vehicle on the dashboard because of the wrong mix. Driving the vehicle in this state can cause further damage. Consequently a Mercedes Benz service vehicle had to be sent out to fix the vehicle on the farm - an event which was not only highly inconvenient but was very costly.
   
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  Review of possible solutions to the problem:
   
  Poison and traps are not a responsible option.
   
 
Apart from the “hit and miss” nature of this kind of approach, the use of rodenticides will harm other wild life as well as domestic pets. Birds, such as owls, feed on rodents and can be killed systemically by the poison.
In the case of poison, there is a time lag between ingestion and effect which can still allow time for the rodent to inflict damage to the vehicle.
If rodents die inside the engine compartment and frequently (frequently this happens behind the dashboard), it takes far great effort to remove the remains, which usually has to be undertaken by a skilled service provider.
Traps are not easy to erect, and can also cause harm to domestic pets. They do not guarentee success because of the uncertainty about how many traps to use. In farm areas, rodent “colonies” are the problem so that consistent setting/re-setting of traps only reduces the probability and extent of damage to the engine compartment.

Other methods e.g. pepper spray, peppermint spray, bounce sheets, moth balls, etc do not provide serious solutions to the problem. . None are of a permanent nature and their efficacy is highly doubtful. Some of these products render a serious health risk.

   
  Mobile Ultrasonic Rodent Repellers
   
  Various rodent repellents based on the principle of ultra sound are available on the market. However:
   
 
their efficacy is questionable due to the fact that the ultrasound they emit does not penetrate walls or go around corners
they do not address the critical issue of “shadow”. Indeed if they are placed in an enclosed area, e.g. a garage, the rodent is more likely to be driven to hide from the repellent inside the vehicle’s engine compartment.

they have not been specifically developed to protect the vehicle’s engine compartment.

   
 
VEROREP Solution:
 
VEROREP is an effective, viable and environment friendly solution to ensure rodents are repelled from entering the engine compartment.
   
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2. System development & testing
 
 

N.B. The prototype described hereafter serves as a guideline only. Automotive manufacturers or automobile accessories distributors can develop their own system, based on the patent concept.

 

The system was developed concurrently with comprehensive testing.

Baseline tests using bait (cheese in a trap) situated in engine compartments were not successful in catching rodents despite evident activity in the area in and around the vehicle.

The VEROREP prototype was built tested and refined using a variety of farm vehicles extensively exposed to the potential for rodent infestation and consequent damage.

   
 

For the purpose of testing, vehicles were parked in the open and were immobilized for specific durations to monitor rodent movement and behavior in and around the vehicles.

 
 

The test period also covered rodents, nest-building phase, as experience has shown that major damage can be caused to a vehicle, resulting in a total breakdown, within a very short period of time.

 

Test results were conclusive: no damage was caused to the vehicle’s engine compartment while the VEROREP system was in operation despite continued rodent activity around the vehicle.

   
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3. Patent
   
  The inventor has patented a proven vehicle rodent repellent system in the United States of America and South Africa. This patent has particular application for the following types of vehicles:
 
   
- passenger automobiles
- pick-up trucks
- SUVs
- RV’s
-

4 x 4 off-road and 4 x 2 vehicles.

- Any vehicle that has an engine cover and where the ultrasonic transducers can be placed facing towards the engine. (Trucks, buses, tractors, boats, aero planes etc.)
   
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4. Location of the Rodent Repellent
   
  The system is located in the engine compartment. The grid formation of the ultrasonic transducers ensures total coverage of the entire area, and eliminates shadow areas where rodents can hide from ordinary electronic repellents. It can also be placed in other strategic areas of the vehicle.
   
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5. Usage
   
 

From global research, personal experience, and detailed interviews with various OEM service outlets, it is clear that rodents are a significant cause of engine compartment damage, particularly in pick-up trucks and vehicles used as SUVs.

Although a less frequent occurrence, family cars and other vehicles parked in garages where rodents are a common phenomenon, are also at risk.

The system is designed as a protecting zone against pests by emitting a complex ultrasonic sound wave that causes irritation to the rodents.

It repels rodents (especially rats and mice) from entering the engine compartment, and indirectly, discourages them from entering the cabin of the vehicle.

It thus reduces possible damage that could be caused by the rodents to the electrical and soft-material parts of an engine and interior.

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6. Components
   
  The system consists of two main parts, namely:
 
   
- a control box; and
- a number of ultrasonic transducers.
   
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6.1. The control box
   
  The diameter of the box is: 110 x 65 x 25 mm.
   
  The key components of the box are:
 
   
- a synthetic material box, resistant to heat, shock and moisture;
- a LED (light emitting diode);
- a Switch to toggle emitted sound between audible and ultrasonic frequencies;
- a programmable CPU to vary the pulse of frequencies. The purpose of this is to eliminate any risk of sensory tolerance by rodents for a specific frequency.
- a pulse generator;
- a connecting cable to the electrical system of the vehicle; and
- a single plug to connect the ultrasonic transducers.
   
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6.2. The ultrasonic transducers
   
  The unit consists of multiple ultrasonic transducers in a synthetic material, resistant to heat, shock and moisture.

In vehicles with sound damper mats below the bonnet, the wires can be placed under the mat and the ultrasonic transducers above the mat facing downwards.

The patents also grant protection for a wireless system where the ultrasonic transducers are activated by, for example, an infra red signal.

The prototype makes provision for 12 ultrasonic transducers, spaced in a in a grid like formation and directed towards the engine. This was based on the main test vehicle used viz. a Mercedes Benz SUV. The number of ultrasonic transducers will vary depending on the size of the vehicle and engine compartment, subject to that shadow areas be eliminated.

The output per unit sweeps a wide ultrasonic pattern between 18 and 45 kHz.

The ultrasonic transducers are connected to the control panel via an electric cable which can be activated as and when needed.

The system can be linked to - the ignition system, ensuring the unit is automatically activated when the vehicle is switched off.
   
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7. Installation views
   
7.1. Placement of the control box in the engine compartment
   
 
   
7.2. Placement of the ultrasonic transducers on the underside of the bonnet
   
 
   
  The ultrasonic transducers can be arranged and grouped together to protect strategic areas within the engine compartment.

The ultrasonic transducers can also be extended to protect any other area of a vehicle.
   
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8. Functioning
   
  Ultrasonic pulses generated by the system prevent rodents from entering the engine compartment when the vehicle is either stationary or parked.

The system is designed to vary the pulse frequency by means of a programmable CPU, thus eliminating the problem of pests being immune to a particular frequency.

The device has no effect on other electronic components within the vehicle. It uses 3 Ma power which is less power than used for a standard vehicle alarm system.
   
  The system is currently installed as a permanent fixture in a SUV vehicle and has been tested for durability regarding heat, moisture and shock resistance, as well as overall effectiveness for a period of over 14 months. The system has proved to be effective in repelling rodents, with no failure of any components occurring.
   
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9. Installation options
   
  The ideal fitment would be during assembly of a vehicle at the assembly plant.

The system could also be installed at an appropriately qualified fitment centre or service (repair) shops.

   
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10. Environmental impact
   
  The system has been tested in areas where domestic animals are present, Test results have shown that the system has no effect on these animals.

As the frequency is at too high a pitch for the human ear, the system, by definition, imposes no health or safety risk to humans.
   
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11. Customer benefits
   
  The key benefits of the patent are:
 
   
- Repelling pests from entering the engine compartment;
- Minimising the risk of rodent damage to the engine compartment;
- Reducing vehicle insurance claims (although many underwriters will not accept liability from for rodent damage); and
- Ensuring peace of mind, especially when vehicles are stationery or parked in areas where rodents reside.
   
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12. OEM benefits
   
  Factory fitment of the system presents OEMs with a significant value add marketing and sales opportunity at minimum cost. Exclusive use of the patent would enable an OEM to leverage market share particularly amongst niche segments e.g. potential purchasers of new pick-ups / SUVs in geographic areas most vulnerable to pest inflicted vehicle damage. Alternatively OEM approved service providers could install the system as an add-on downstream in the supply chain.
   
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13. Ways of Acquiring the Patent
   
  These include:
 

 

 
- selling the patent to a company on an exclusive basis.
- a selling right of the patent, under license, to all manufacturers interested in the technology.
   
  The purchase price includes transfer of all drawings, prototypes, electronic diagrams, the CPU program to vary the ultrasonic sequences and all related patent documentation. The patent is valid for a period of 20 years.
   
  For any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
   
 
 
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