Gas pedal provides haptic feedback

January 26, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
If you are alone in your car on the highway and you suddenly feel a gentle vibration in your right foot, you are not gone crazy. Instead, you probably drive a car equipped with Bosch’s active gas pedal. The purpose of the vibration is warning about sharp bends ahead – or just about driving too speedy.

Bosch has developed a technical aid that helps drivers to travel safely and at the same time save fuel. Connected to the navigation system or road sign reading assistant, the gas pedal gives drivers a haptic warning signal if they are exceeding a speed limit, approach a sharp bend at too high speed or, more general, tend to drive with a “lead foot”, burning too much fuel.

This kind of feedback to the driver’s accelerator foot helps to reduce fuel consumption by as much as seven percent, the company says. This is possible because the smart pedal is linket to other automotive functions such as the transmission. In addition, it comes with the option of a palpable indication of the best time to shift gear. “The pedal tells the driver when the economy and acceleration curves intersect”, explains Stefan Seibert, president of Bosch’s Gasoline Systems Division. Drivers can however override the gas pedal’s feedback by applying more pressure.

Additional fuel-saving potential is available in conjunction with start-stop coasting, i.e. when the engine is stopped while still moving at speed in order to save fuel. Bosch estimates that the engine can be stopped in this way on 30 percent of all journeys. The gas pedal can be set to give an alert as soon as coasting mode makes sense. With advancing powertrain electrification, this technology offers further benefits. The pedal also opens up fuel-saving potential in hybrids, since it lets drivers know when the combustion engine is about to take over from the electric motor, so they can lighten the amount of pressure on the gas pedal.

In connection with collision warning systems, the gas pedal can issue a vibration signal, warning drivers not to kick the pedal any further. Type and force of the haptic feedback can be set by software parameters.

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