Bosch’s ingenious pedals use haptic feedback to make you drive smarter

Bosch has unveiled new pedals that use haptic feedback make your driving safer, smarter and more eco-friendly. The “active gas pedals” will use data from your car’s CPU and nearby connected cars – but the interesting part is just how they’ll transmit that information to the driver. By using the pedals rather than a dashboard light, or audible sound, Bosch has cracked how to make the warnings more direct, but also less intrusive at the same time. And with so much information flowing through car interiors, it’s a huge development. 

Bosch's ingenious pedals use haptic feedback to make you drive smarter

How do the vibrating pedals work? 

The pedals will use a combination of “knocking, vibration or counterpressure” to warn and advise the driver in a variety of situations. Bosch says the pedals could “knock” the driver when a gear change is required, or even push back to encourage coasting. When combined with feedback that notifies the driver of excessive, fuel-burning acceleration, Bosch claims that pedals can reduce energy consumption by 7%. Bosch thinks the pedals could make your driving safer, too: when a driver exceeds the speed-limit, the pedals could vibrate, giving them a clear, direct reminder to reduce their speed.

How to notify the driver

After testing out a number of sensor-laden cars, I think this is a great idea – and one that’s much overdue. EVs, hybrids and tech-heavy vehicles such as the XC90 can provide drivers with even more information, but need a less distracting way to do so. Head-up displays (HUDs) are currently my favourite method, but Bosch has just gone one better. The company says: “The prompt to push down or ease off the accelerator is given precisely where it can be carried out virtually as a reflex – directly at the foot.” And that’s exactly what makes it more intuitive, safe and so, well, obvious.

When will they be in cars?

Although you won’t see a Bosch logo in any cars today, the German company is a major player in the world of automotive technology and supplies unbadged tech to the likes of BMW, Mercedes and Audi. And that means it might be in cars sooner than you’d expect. Bosch hasn’t mentioned where we’ll see it first, but I’d expect the technology to debut on flagship saloons such as the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-Series and Audi A8 pretty soon.

Read next: Bosch’s connected in-car touchscreen will cover your WHOLE dashboard

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