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AutoBlog: REPORT: So-called "smart" gas pedals could counteract floor mat issues

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Filed under: Safety, Technology

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Now that Toyota's massive 3.8 million-vehicle recall for floor mats with a mind of their own has got unintended acceleration on our brains, perhaps it would be a good time to take a look at ways to solve the potential problem once and for all. In contrast to Toyota's initial low-tech tie-wrap approach, The New York Times reports that some automakers have created so-called "smart gas pedals."

So, um, what's a smart gas pedal? Apparently, on all BMWs since 2005, a computer can tell when both the gas and brake pedals are being applied when the vehicle is moving. In that situation, the computer disables the gas pedal and gives the brakes priority. Presumably, the BMW system is smart enough to figure out intentional left-foot braking, as we don't recall experiencing any problem in such usage scenarios.

Considering Audi and other automakers' unfortunate history with unsubstantiated unintended acceleration claims, similar technology reportedly exists at that automaker along with parent company Volkswagen. Interestingly, the NYT reports that General Motors, Ford, Honda, Acura, Toyota, Lexus and Hyundai don't employ such systems, though Toyota is said to be considering the technology after its recent travails. According to Chrysler spokesperson Lisa Barrow, most vehicles from the Pentastar "have a feature that recognizes the use of both pedals at the same and brings the engine speed to idle."

[source: The New York Times | Image: George Heyer/Getty]

REPORT: So-called "smart" gas pedals could counteract floor mat issues originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 09 Oct 2009 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Heaping more upon more electronic nanny-ing !!

So much for 'I like to be in control of my vehicle' : we're halfway down the road to 'driving' a roller coaster 'car'.

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Seems like overkill for a problem that begs a simple fix. This isn't a problem when the pedal is hinged at the floor (like on the '80s Mercedes I'm familar with).

(though the design in the Benz had another problem when the pedal broke loose from the bar that goes through the firewall... I had to push the bar directly to get acceleration).

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Heaping more upon more electronic nanny-ing !!

So much for 'I like to be in control of my vehicle' : we're halfway down the road to 'driving' a roller coaster 'car'.

With throttle-by-wire, brake-by-wire, steer-by-wire, etc I worry about scenarios where all the control interfaces are electronically controlled, and you end up w/ wierd failure scenarios where the vehicle is undrivable, or worse, uncontrollable.

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It's not an 'expensive, needlessly complex 'solution' for a totally easy fix!' No, It's called progress! and innovation!!!

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As critical thought is less & less a requirement to successful driving, it'd be hard to avoid that.

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It's not an 'expensive, needlessly complex 'solution' for a totally easy fix!' No, It's called progress! and innovation!!!

It's neither expensive nor complex. My inexpensive 6-year old Passat has it... it's merely a setting - a few lines of code - programmed into DBW, which has fewer parts than a conventional throttle. While it takes some getting used to, DBW has been completely reliable, and it's super precise. Even half a centimeter's difference registers on the instantaneous fuel consumption meter.

By the way, it doesn't prevent you from brake torquing from launches... :scratchchin:

Edited by pow
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Before we know it, we will be driving by voice and sign language... unfortunately, there will have to be some safety modifications to prevent unintended hood popping when someone flips another driver the bird. Oh well, we can't control everything automatically!!! <-- Note the importance of that comment?

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