A car brake that makes sense—except to car companies
Have to love this front-page NY Times story “For Driving’s Start and Stop, One Pedal Could Do the Job,” about a Japanese designer/inventor who asked a classic stupid question about a car’s brake and gas pedals: “We have a natural tendency to stomp down when we panic. The automakers call it driver error. But what if their design’s all wrong?”
Masuyuki Naruse, a factory owner, found out what happens when you start asking questions. You get lots of pushback. Naruse, now 74, put forward a new, unified pedal design in 1991 after he experienced two episodes in the late 1980s of hitting the gas pedal instead of the brakes. He shopped it to Toyota back then, which tested and dismissed it. Perhaps if the car company had been open to Naruse’s stupid questions and design solutions, they might have saved themselves, and the people driving their cars, a lot of grief decades later. The question now is which car company today will be smart enough to acknowledge that maybe the old way doesn’t work, and that a redesigned pedal which takes into consideration the way human beings behave in stressful situations is simply good design.
Lots of good anecdotes & info in the Times article by Hiroko Tabuchi; read the full version here.
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