Bosch says its haptic gas pedal can reduce fuel consumption up to 7%; safety warnings via nav and V2X systems
The automotive industry has been exploring the use of haptic gas pedal technologies as a way to reduce fuel consumption and increase safety by signaling the driver using a mechanism such as a vibration or a counterforce in the accelerator pedal. Continental announced its Accelerator Force Feedback Pedal in 2010, Frost & Sullivan anticipates wide premium-segment deployment of the active gas pedal technology post-2018 (earlier post); and Mercedes-Benz offers the technology in the C 350 PLUG-IN HYBRID (earlier post).
Bosch now says that its active gas pedal allows drivers to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 7%. This is possible because the gas pedal can be networked with other automotive functions, such as the transmission. 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.
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 innovative Bosch gas pedal gives drivers a haptic warning signal if, for example, they are approaching a dangerous bend at too high a speed.
The Bosch active gas pedal helps drivers save fuel—and alerts them to potentially dangerous situations as well. The pedal tells the driver when the economy and acceleration curves intersect.—Stefan Seiberth, president of the Gasoline Systems division of Robert Bosch GmbH
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.
With advancing powertrain electrification, this technology has further benefits to offer, Bosch said. The pedal also opens up more 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.
In connection with collision warning systems, 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 Bosch 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 will warn them by vibrating or exerting counter-pressure.
Internet connectivity opens up even more possibilities. 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.