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Stop Go Pedal

posted on Oct 12 2016 by Keith Langford

Stop Go Pedal

A pedal that works as both an accelerator and a brake will save lives if car makers adopt the design, according to Swedish inventor Sven Gustafsson.

The idea sounds bizarre, but officials at the Swedish National Road Administration have already done extensive road tests and approved the device for use. It takes longer to brake in an emergency with separate pedals, says Rickard Nilsson at Uppsala University, who tested out Gustafsson's pedal for the SNRA.

It takes at least 0.2 seconds to move your foot from one pedal to the other, he says, and at 90 kilometres per hour this adds five metres to your stopping distance. Another problem with separate pedals is that it's easy to hit the wrong one. A slight misjudgement when going for the brake, perhaps because a driver is wearing a new pair of shoes, can lead to the accelerator being clipped, causing a crash. With Gustafsson's combined pedal you have to make two distinct motions for accelerating and braking, and you can't do both at the same time.

To accelerate you pivot the pedal, while to brake you push the entire pedal mechanism forwards. Gustafsson, who hails from the southern Swedish city of Lund, pondered the combined pedal idea for 30 years, but has only just got around to developing it. Now his idea could lead to manual cars with two pedals and automatics with just one.

Since the SNRA approved it, he and his wife have been driving their car with one - with no problems. Volvo is testing the pedal in cars, buses and trucks. But a mass-produced version won't be available to motorists for at least three years, even if manufacturing approval is granted straight away.