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GM to Expand Brake Override Software Globally by 2012; Volt at Launch

General Motors will expand use of “enhanced smart pedal” technology globally to all passenger cars with automatic transmissions and electronic throttle control, including hybrids and the Volt. Also known as brake override, the change involves modifying existing electronic controls to reduce power to the engine in cases where the brake and accelerator pedal are being depressed at the same time. The global rollout will be completed by the end of 2012.

For electrics/hybrids, brake override operates on the same principle as an internal combustion engine. The brake override algorithm works with the hybrid controller and pulls out electric motor command to reduce the torque from the battery. The Volt will have brake override enabled at launch, according to a GM spokesperson.

GM has had for the past several years a braking performance standard that applies to all cars, trucks and crossovers, requiring that the brakes can stop the vehicle within a specific distance. Brake override is an additional safeguard.

GM currently has brake override enabled in the following vehicles: Chevrolet Corvette, Camaro V8, Malibu L4, Colorado V8, Cobalt, HHR, GMC Canyon V8, and Cadillac CTS-V and STS-V.

GM says that the rollout plan balances the speed of implementation with validation needed to assure that customers feel no deterioration in drivability.

Comments

HarveyD

Who would push the brake and accellerator pedals at the same time?

If we have such drivers around, the time may have come for yearly drivers aptitude tests to make sure that ALL drivers know and use the basics.

Simulators can be used to check them out with regards to their existing and remaining skills.

Henry Gibson

Many people drive with the foot on the brake pedal to be ready to stop quickly, but many of these are not intending be applying the brakes but do. The issue seems to be fail safe designs. There was a dead mans pedal on many diesel electric locomotives that stopped the engine when the pedal was released for several seconds. Not only is there a temperature limit on gas water heaters but many tanks are required to have temperature and pressure relief valves so that the tank does not rocket through three stories and a roof when the bottom fails as has happened. Computers, their programmers and users are not fail safe. ..HG..

ToppaTom

I think this is mostly to protect against a throttle sensor failure accompanied by "hesitant" braking (prompt full braking will stop any car, except maybe on a long down grade).

This would seem to be a weak, but adequate, solution for anyone numb enough to be pushing both pedals.

Pushing both pedals would wear and heat the brakes, but reducing the power would greatly minimize the hazard.

Roger Pham

Power should be reduced on the engine upon applying the brake pedal, period, no matter what is being done to the gas pedal. This should be a requirement on all cars equipped with computer-controlled ignition and electronic fuel injection. This is even more important in cars equipped with electronic throttle (drive by wire).

ToppaTom

Remember that "applying the brake pedal" includes a faulty brake pedal sensor.
Arbitrary (government) requirements, just like monopolies, lead to systems that do not respond to the market such as Microsoft software (and the "market" is the people; us).

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