Autonomous technology has given us all sorts of vibrating parts inside our cars to warn us of a variety of dangers. There are seats that vibrate when proximity sensors detect an object in the way. There are steering wheels that vibrate when you drift out of your lane. Soon, there may be a gas pedal that vibrates to help save gas and prevent accidents.
How heavy you are on the gas pedal has a big affect on fuel consumption. It’s why cruise control can improve your fuel efficiency. Taking your foot off the gas and letting the car maintain your speed keeps a consistent, even pressure on that pedal instead of the variable pressure of your foot. It also reduces the chance that you will accelerate hard and burn more fuel.
Bosch is developing a new gas pedal that senses how hard you’re pressing with your foot and then vibrates when you need to ease up. They estimate it could provide a 7 percent reduction in fuel consumption.
There’s additional potential for fuel savings by combining this gas pedal with hybrid car technology. It can be set to alert the driver when the car can coast to a stop on electric power so they take their foot off the gas sooner. Coordinating gas pedal notifications with hybrid technology to help the driver optimize time in electric mode will make hybrids even more efficient.
The technology takes things a step further by providing haptic feedback as a safety feature. Cars come with a huge number of sensors to keep us safe. Instead of warning drivers about a potential danger with a tone or a flashing icon on the dashboard, connecting the sensors to the gas pedal could let that warning come to your foot.
Connecting the gas pedal to a car’s safety systems could warn drivers if the car sees a sharp bend in the road and they’re going faster than recommended. It could vibrate as a warning and even provide counterpressure to immediately reduce speed.
Any information a car collects through its sensors or through its connection to the internet could be communicated to the driver through a haptic gas pedal. Depending on the information, the pedal could provide a different type of haptic warning like knocking, vibration, or counterpressure.
This new technology offers a way of relaying information directly to a driver without taking their attention from the road to look at a dashboard icon. It could make us all safer and less distracted drivers.