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58Bonne's 1958 Bonneville

2019 June
of the Month

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Car and Driver: This Smart Accelerator Pedal Can Kick Back at You

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Leg of man stepping on accelerator

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Drive a car decked out with safety-assistance technology and, depending on the maker, it’ll buzz, beep, bloop, flash, or even vibrate your butt to signal a warning. But Bosch sees promise in giving you a swift kick in the right foot, too.

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The German do-it-all purveyor of home appliances, advanced automotive electronics, and more has just introduced the “active gas pedal.” It’s a natural evolution of modern drive-by-wire accelerators, by which pedals send precise electrical signals to vehicle computers without any physical connection to anything in the engine bay. Here, the Bosch pedal also acts as a receiver, able to communicate information from components such as the transmission, navigation system, and all those driver-assist and V2v sensors that eventually will become standard equipment. The result? A pedal that buzzes, taps, and pushes against your right foot to deliver haptic feedback.

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bosch_connected_mobility_active_gas_pedal_functioning

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Bosch—which supplies automatic-braking, lane-keeping, and other safety technology to a wide swath of the industry—claims this is a more intuitive way of warning the driver versus the usual lights and chimes since the pedal is shooting alerts through your leg. The company envisions collision alerts and warnings about excessive speed in curves being delivered perhaps as heavy vibrations. The pedal might also encourage eco-friendly driving by applying counterpressure to notify the driver when the posted speed limit has been exceeded, or to act as a coach to signal when to begin coasting. Hybrid drivers might feel a small kick when the gas engine fires up. Even manual-transmission users could get a notification when it’s time to let off the accelerator and engage the clutch for maximum efficiency when coming to a stop. The idea, Bosch says, is to give drivers a better sense of traffic and surroundings “without having to think too much about it.”

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Right now, the only carmaker we know of that offers a similar pedal today is Infiniti, some of whose models encourage dainty acceleration by pushing firmly against your right foot when Eco mode is engaged.

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