Engineers at the German-US car giant Daimler Chrysler have devised a vibrating accelerator pedal that tells drivers when to slow down, potentially saving hundreds of euros a year in fuel bills, the journal New Scientist says.
The vibration is triggered by a computer, which assesses data from the GPS to determine where the car is on the road layout, as well as gradients, speed limits and the tightness of curves.
The gadget monitors traffic flow, speed restrictions and upcoming junctions, causing the pedal to gently vibrate, telling the motorist when to take the foot off the gas.
Trials with 70 volunteer drivers, using a prototype S-class Mercedes automatic, indicate that petrol consumption falls by 11 per cent with the pedal.
Information also comes from a vehicle-detection radar, which measures the proximity of the vehicle in front. One of the biggest factors in fuel wastage is late braking for traffic lights, roadworks, sharp curves or other obstacles. Vibration alert was chosen because drivers react nearly seven times faster to it than a dashboard light – 0.3 of a second, compared with two seconds, the tests found.