Hyundai’s Pedals: Prevent Accidents in Autonomous Cars

Exploring Level 4 Autonomy: Hyundai

Hyundai is prepping its automobiles for Level 4 autonomy and higher, registering a new patent with regard to brake and throttle pedals that can move laterally while not being taken advantage of, steering clear of the driver’s feet. Initially lodged with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) in 2021, this patent has now been publicized through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), where it was noted by CarBuzz.

Filed somewhat misleadingly as “foldable pedal apparatus for a vehicle,” the concept of folding pedals, and even sliding pedal boxes, is not at all uncommon. Traditionally, pedals usually fold away in the event of a crash, and sliding pedal boxes are usually featured in high-end supercars where the seat is molded into the chassis. Hyundai’s invention, however, is neither of these; instead, it focuses on removing the pedals from the cabin when a car engages in self-driving mode that requires no input from the driver – although its principles would be applied to hide the pedals away in the event of a crash.

When autonomous driving mode is switched on, the brake and gas pedals slide off to either the left or right hand side, giving the occupant abundant room to stretch their legs. In vehicles with Level 4 capabilities however, the driver must still stay alert as they will be confined to a designated driving area.

Once manual driving is engaged, the pedals can be rearranged back to their original setting or modified to favour the driver. The brake and accelerator pedals can be shifted closer together, or the brake pedal can even be concealed completely if the driver desires to utilise one-pedal operation in an EV.

The rationale behind this is security. The key contrast between Levels 3 and 4 largely relies on vigilance. While a driver may already remove both hands off the wheel in Level 3, they still must remain acutely cognizant of the environment; even though brands such as Mercedes-Benz have claimed that it would take responsibility for any crashes caused.

Level 4 autonomy does not necessitate any attention from the driver, mainly because it will mainly be put to use for freeway voyages. Undoubtedly, individuals will either fiddle with their phones or nod off. In that case, there is a potential risk that the driver could incidentally tread on one of the pedals, which may result in an accident. Because of this, Hyundai hopes to keep them as far away as possible. Furthermore, even if they were positioned elsewhere, such as sliding forward and tucking up toward the chair, Hyundai maintains that the chances of being triggered are too great.

Nowadays, since so many newer cars, especially all-electric models, take advantage of drive-by-wire systems with electronic throttle bodies, there is absolutely no require for a physical tie-in. This renders the pedals as simply an electrical control interface. Hence, this permits them to be relocated out of sight completely.

Hyundai is the subsequent carmaker on the cusp of attaining Level 3 self-sufficiency subsequent to legislative authorizations being issued to Mercedes-Benz within the United States. Now this new technology is aiming onward to when Level 4 autonomy arrives. It’s conceivable that when that transpires, Hyundai’s dual-joystick controls could also be integrated into some editions, it may even comprise a modern version of the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

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