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Active gas pedal

I pushed the pedal – and the pedal pushed back

With Bosch’s active gas pedal, vibrations can lighten pressure on the gas pedal and warn of wrong-way drivers. Supposedly, it can lower fuel consumption by 7 %.

The gas pedal lets drivers know when they have crossed the line from light touch to lead foot (Photo: Bosch)

The driver’s foot is responsible for one-quarter of fuel consumption. Bosch has developed a technical aid in the shape of an active gas pedal: its vibration tells drivers when they have crossed the line from light touch to lead foot. This turns the gas pedal into an active assistant that supports drivers. To do this, the active gas pedal uses an internal connection to the navigation, powertrain, and driver assistance systems. The pedal also uses external data, such as information from other vehicles or connected infrastructure, which is transmitted to the vehicle via the cloud. According to Techradar, carmakers can connect the gas pedal to the vehicle's CAN network to interact with the navigation, engine, transmission, and safety systems.

“The Bosch active gas pedal helps drivers save fuel – and alerts them to potentially dangerous situations as well,” said Stefan Seiberth, president of the Gasoline Systems division of Robert Bosch. And if the vehicle has an assistance system, the pedal becomes a warning indicator: coupled with the navigation system or a camera that recognizes road signs, the gas pedal gives drivers a haptic warning signal if, for example, they are approaching a dangerous bend at too high a speed.

The active gas pedal helps drivers to be very light-footed on the accelerator. The feedback they get from the pedal allows them to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 7 %, with CO2 emissions reduced accordingly. This is possible because the gas pedal can be networked with other automotive functions, such as the transmission.

The gas pedal can be coupled with a camera that recognizes speed-limit signs (Photo: Bosch)

Up to now, the only indication drivers have had of the best time to shift gear has been in the form of small arrows on the instrument display. The active gas pedal 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,” Seiberth says. If the driver still wants to accelerate some more before shifting gear, applying a little extra pressure is enough.

Advance warning before combustion engine restarts

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 % of all journeys. The gas pedal can be set to give an alert as soon as coasting mode makes sense. 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.

The gas pedal can make cars safer as well, because the component can be connected with a series of assistance systems. In connection with collision warning systems, for example, the system can create a vibrating signal warning drivers not to accelerate any further. A simple change to the software settings is all that is needed to tailor the type and force of haptic feedback to automakers’ specifications.

The gas pedal can also be connected with the navigation system, enabling it to warn drivers if, for example, they are approaching a sharp bend at too high a speed. In addition, the gas pedal can be coupled with a camera that recognizes speed-limit signs. If drivers exceed the speed limit, the gas pedal warns them by vibrating or exerting counter-pressure.

Internet connectivity opens up even more possibilities. The pedal is designed for cars that are connected with their surroundings. And via the vibrating pedal, the connected car will pass on warnings about dangerous situations – wrong-way drivers, unexpected congestion, crossing traffic, and other hazards along the planned route – to the person at the wheel.


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Active gas pedal