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The better car finder

by David Zatz on

Thanks to a pair of Fiat engineers in Turin, owners may find it easier to find their FCA cars. Way back in 2012, Andrea Mainini and Antonio Erario filed a patent application for a dramatically improved antenna-mounted “finder light” (provisions for sound alerts is also included).


The owner can push a button on the fob or, for connected cars, their phone, and a light will appear on the end of the antenna (see the not-quite-artist’s rendering; the drawings are from the patent application).  Optionally, the car can make a noise.

The Fiat engineers replaced the old incandescent bulb with LEDs,  chose a transparent waveguide which lights up — increasing reliability and visibility alike — and found a solution to the problem of having the light break off.  In the patent drawings, it is integrated well enough as to look like an ordinary antenna.

Prior art goes back to Kolm et al in 1970. Thanks to Steven St. Laurent for the tip.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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