Naruse Pedal Distinguishes the Gas From the Brake, Prevents Confusion
A few months ago, Toyota was forced to recall millions of vehicles following accusations that some of their cars accelerated without warning. While the company acknowledged that many of the incidents could be attributed to faulty pedal placement, it also suggested that some drivers may have simply confused the gas pedal with the brake. Toyota may be able to tinker with its pedal arrangement, but it won't do much about what appears to be naturally occurring confusion -- unless, that is, it adopts the Naruse Pedal.
"We have a natural tendency to stomp down when we panic," inventor Masuyuki Naruse told the New York Times. "The automakers call it driver error. But what if their design's all wrong?" With Naruse's pedal, the braking and accelerating functions become much more clearly distinguished. Drivers using his system would still have to press down on a pedal to brake, but, if they want to accelerate, they'd have to push sideways on a lever located to the right of the brake pedal.
Naruse's already pitched his product to officials at Toyota, but has yet to hear back; it's understandable that the company would be reluctant to alter its mechanisms. While Naruse's driving method doesn't exactly sound like rocket science, it probably won't be intuitive for most drivers, either. Still, if it's more intuitive and easier to use for newer drivers, and if it can make driving safer, it may be well worth Toyota's investment -- especially since U.S. consumers still haven't forgotten that recall. [From: New York Times, via: Technabob]