MUNICH, Germany Automotive tier one Continental AG has developed an accelerator pedal that can give the driver a feedback on current traffic situations. For input signals, the device can be coupled to a range of different sensors.
The Accelerator Force Feedback Pedal (AFFP) warns the driver of hazardous situations or inadequate driving style by vibrating and exerting counter pressure in the pedal. Typically, the input can be coupled to an Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system which in turn measures the distance to the vehicle in front by means of a radar beam. If distance falls below a minimum the system issues a warning signal to the driver by increasing the counterpressure on the accelerator pedal.
An ACC is not the only possible input option. Continental engineers mull the idea of connecting the pedal to a car-to-car communication system which can report breakdowns, accidents or other conditions ahead that enforce an immediate speed decrease. Another possibility would be to use a sensor system that registers if the driver is struggling not to fall asleep as input.
While all these options aim at improving traffic safety, the system also can be used to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. Input from radar or camera sensors can identify the best speed for staying flow with the traffic and warn the driver by pedal counterpressure that if he or she would further accelerate he would exceed the optimum speed range and distance. This would result in an even speed, avoiding frequent braking and accelerating. Such a driving style would not only reduce the risk of accidents but also reduce fuel consumption and emissions, the vendor believes.
The system has already introduced into volume production of a Japanese car. Continental however refused to specify model designation and vendor of the car.