Driving a car with an automatic gearbox requires transferring the right foot from one pedal to the other, which takes about 0.4 seconds. Over that interval, at 75 mph, the car goes 44 feet or 40% of the 7.5 car lengths which constitutes the safe distance at that speed (one car length for each 10 mph).
Racing drivers recognized the importance of this little span of time and got rid of it by left foot braking (LFB), a method that implies the independent operation of the two pedals: brake pedal by the left foot and gas pedal by the right foot. 80% of the regular drivers did not embrace LFB for fear of depressing both pedals, which may stall the engine and kill the car controls. The other 20% 2-foot drive in spite of brake pedal being positioned for the right foot.
This pedal system allows all drivers to 2-foot drive by eliminating the risk of stalling the engine: the two pedals are mounted on a motion inverter, so they always rotate in opposite directions, about an axis aligned with driver's ankles. The motion inverter is a 3 bevel gears arrangement, of which gears 1 and 3, meshing with the intermediate gear 2, rotate in opposite directions. Driver has both feet fully supported by the two pedals, without touching the floor and operates them by flexing the ankle muscles. This design allows the driver to not only control the car speed, but to react inertial braking forces with the muscles of both legs. Gear 2 is connected with a torsion spring which brings the pedals in the neutral position, when not depressed.
An analysis of fatalities and economic cost of crashes in the U.S.A. shows that braking earlier by only 0.4 seconds would have saved 15,456 lives out of the 32,885 fatalities registered in 2010. Under the same asssumptions, estimates for 2013 show savings of $108.2 billion from the anticipated cost of crashes of $277.54 billion.
Eliminating the right foot transfer also eradicates the pedal application errors, when driver confuses pedals or gets the right foot entangled or trips over the pedals. Pedal misapplications are frequent with the very young and the very old drivers, the latter raising a flag about baby boomers and driving in the near future.
There are many other advantages such as elimination/alleviation of right knee pain in arthritic drivers and professional drivers, who suffer from repetitive strain syndrome, hill holding and others. It is a perfect human-machine interface for drive-by wire control systems.
This pedal system is conceived to be both original equipment and an after-market device. The former will cost about as much as the current pedals and cover over 90% of the North-American market. The latter will be limited to $2000 and can be marketed to the over one million drivers who suffer from right knee arthritis, to professional drivers afflicted with the repetitive stress syndrome and to the 20% of drivers who already 2-foot drive.
ABOUT THE ENTRANT
Name: Constantin Dumitrescu
Type of entry: individual
Constantin's hobbies and activities:
In the last four years, the development of this invention has become my hobby and the bulk of all my activities.
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Better safety and better performance.
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Patent status: pending