One Pedal for Both the Brake and the Accelerator

After allegations that some of Toyota's cars get stuck accelerators, designers are taking a look at a 1990s Swedish design that never became popular. Sven Gustafsson's invention was a single pedal that did both jobs. Masuyuki Naruse brought the invention to Japan years ago and has been trying to popularize it. It's a superior approach to driving safety, according to psychology and engineering expert Katsuya Matsunaga:

“Simply speaking, the conventional pedal setup, which forces drivers to switch back and forth between pedals, is dangerous,” Mr. Matsunaga said.

“Mr. Naruse’s pedal works because it takes into account how our bodies work,” he said. “It makes sure that when we make a mistake, the car stops.”

Replacing standard pedals with the Naruse device requires no big changes to a car’s braking or acceleration systems, Mr. Naruse said, and retrofitting costs about 100,000 yen ($1,156) each. The biggest challenge of mass marketing the pedal, driving specialists said, would not be cost or technology, but the need to fundamentally change the way millions of people drive.

Link via Popular Science | Image: NYT

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i think this is mostly a problem in automatics, where the brake pedal is huge but kind of far away from the accelerator pedal. in a *proper* car, the brake and gas are very close together, and switching between them quickly is trivial. and with this design, it seems that you'd constantly be cutting gas on accident, which if you're in a corner is one of the most dangerous things you can do. next time you come up to a nice windy corner, put the car in neutral and see how well it handles compared to powering through. i've had some scary incidences where i missed a shift and plowed into a corner unpowered. screeching and swerving and fishtailing ensued.
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Helix, speaking from experience, no, not really...

The motion on the pedals of an airplane are a little odd, because you can both rotate the pedal and push it in, but it's all in the same direction... This system works by requiring you to push in a different direction.
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