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New Haptic Gas Pedal Helps You Drive More Efficiently, Save on Fuel

Gas pedal

Two of the most effective ways to save on fuel (as listed in our Ways to Save on Fuel infographic) involve altering your driving style – lowering your highway speed and avoiding aggressive driving. Speeding, accelerating quickly and braking hard really take a toll on your fuel use. I know we all pledge daily that we’ll try to drive more carefully but it’s easy for your good intentions to go out the window during a frustrating commute. So…what if your gas pedal was an active participant in helping you alter your driving behaviour?

Enter Bosch’s new haptic feedback gas pedal. The word “haptic” is derived from a Greek word meaning “I touch” – “haptic” refers to any interactions that involve touch. We’re used to responding to haptic signals in our electronics, like when our phones vibrate, or even in our cars – in some vehicles, for example, the steering wheel vibrates when you’re drifting out of your lane. In Bosch’s “active gas pedal” design, your gas pedal would knock, vibrate or provide counterpressure to give you cues about how to adjust your driving in a variety of situations.

Bosch Active Gas Pedal
Photo: Bosch

Here’s how it works, according to Bosch:

“[…]The active gas pedal uses an internal connection to the navigation, powertrain, and driver assistance systems. On top of this, the pedal also uses external data, such as information from other vehicles or connected infrastructure, which is transmitted to the vehicle via the cloud. Based on this technology, the active gas pedal becomes a safety, gearshift, and coasting assistant that warns of a traffic jam behind a bend, flags unnecessarily high fuel consumption, or signals the switch to the internal combustion engine in hybrid vehicles. Warnings and indications are delivered by means of haptic signals that vary in kind and strength. This allows drivers to respond intuitively and adapt their driving style accordingly.”

Here’s the kicker – Bosch claims that following the prompts of the active gas pedal could potentially reduce your fuel consumption by up to 7%.

Bosch Active Gas Pedal
Photo: Bosch

This sounds like a pretty interesting idea – and if your car is communicating with you through your feet, driving shoes might come back into style! Then again, just plain ol’ driving in the city or on a busy highway can be a pretty sensory-overloading experience - I could see where an busy gas pedal might provide an excess of stimulation in an already tense situation.

What do you think about this gas pedal technology? Do you think a haptic gas pedal would be a helpful and intuitive way to encourage you to drive more carefully? Or would it just feel like another distraction in the car? Let us know in the comments!

- Rose R.


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Nicole Williams

Sounds like a great idea! I'd be interested in hearing more.
On another topic, I would appreciate a future column on how to deal with aggressive drivers. I know that staying out of their way is the best way to avoid accidents but I think there may be more to it?

Rob Meyers

Great idea, but... most if not all intrusive feedback systems are expected to intervene or buzz, occasionally, enough to get your attention and bring something back under control. This situation begs the question, many times driving you require to not drive efficiently, so sometimes you choose efficiency and sometimes you choose not. The intervention is frequent and a soft yellow light on the dash makes more sense, as many cars already have the ECO light. The buzzing especially on a control element, would soon lead to annoyance then anger IMHO. Right idea, but design is a bit off.

Lucas H

Looking at all the new technology trinkets found in vehicles today, I think the main question to ask is, "Are you a driver or a passenger?"

I build and modify my vehicles, I take driving courses and would rather take a long trip through the mountains on my bike or in my vehicle because I enjoy the drive.

These new technology trinkets are not "creating" better drivers, but giving multiple crutches to individuals who should not be driving in the first place.

You want safer roads and the thought that driving is a privilege? Why don't you make people re-take their road test every 5 years instead of "just renewing" your card.

Things change, shouldn't we be sure that we have people who know how to operate their motor vehicle instead of creating Band-Aid fixes for everything?

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