General Motors announced today that it would expand use of “enhanced smart pedal” technology to all passenger cars with automatic transmissions and electronic throttle control.
Commonly called brake override, the change involves modifying existing electronic controls to reduce power to the engine in cases where the brake and accelerator pedal are depressed at the same time.
The lack of such a system is thought to be one of the problems with run-away cars. (See National Academy of Sciences and NASA to Study Unintended Acceleration Issues for DOT )
The global roll-out at GM will be completed by the end of 2012.
The system is already in use on GM vehicles in the United States. Chrysler and German automakers also use the design philosophy as an additional safety feature. Ford Motor uses the system on its European vehicles, and is looking at expanding its use in North America.
It is expected that when the National Academy of Sciences finishes its report on unintended acceleration issues for the national Highway traffic Safety Administration, that override software will be proposed as a federal regulation.
Toyota, until recently, did not have such as system, but is starting to expand its application as it continues to be enmeshed in an unintended acceleration controversy that is allegedly responsible for more than 50 deaths. (more…)