Love it or hate it, the Internet of Things is upon us. We have watches that tell us when we've been sitting too long, dog collars that keep tabs on our pooches' pulmonary patterns, and refrigerators that know way too much about our private eating habits.
So, it's not very surprising that one company has developed a smart gas pedal -- one that teaches motorists to drive more efficiently, gives them a heads-up on traffic jams, and warns them of potential collisions.
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The company in question is Bosch, and its pedal is called, rather obviously, the Bosch active gas pedal.
In its most basic form, the active gas pedal helps drivers use less fuel. When the pedal is installed, it keeps an eye on a motorist's driving habits. When it determines that the person behind the wheel is edging into leadfoot territory, it vibrates, alerting the driver to slow down.
According to Bosch, using the active gas pedal can cut fuel consumption by up to seven percent.
But that's not all. The active gas pedal can be networked with other elements of a vehicle or even apps to help make driving safer and more efficient:
- It can tell drivers when to shift. When tied to a car's transmission, Bosch's pedal can nudge a driver to change gears at ideal times. According to Bosch's Stefan Seiberth, "The pedal tells the driver when the economy and acceleration curves intersect."
- It can tell hybrid owners when to coast. If a hybrid vehicle offers start-stop coasting, the pedal can alert the driver when to take her foot off the gas, saving fuel. According to Bosch, start-stop coasting can be used on roughly 30 percent of all trips.
- It can tell drivers about impending collisions. When it's linked to a car's collision warning system, Bosch's active gas pedal augments alerts to drivers with an extra vibration.
- It can read maps. If the pedal is tied into a car's navigation system, it can keep an eye on traffic and other hazards so that motorists don't have to, alerting them when it's time to take an alternate route. It can also warn of treacherous bends in a road.
- It can read road signs. The active gas pedal can be connected to a camera that can read speed-limit signs. Not that you'd intentionally ignore such very important things, but just in case.
According to Bosch, the kind of feedback that the pedal gives can be tailored to each driver's preferences. There's no word on pricing or availability of the active gas pedal yet, but we'd be a little surprised if it didn't launch soon. If you're interested, you can learn more at www.bosch-gaspedal.com.