With the advancement of automobile technology in cars, driving has become safer and more convenient than ever before. Safety features like anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), brake assist, crash avoidance systems, automatic parking control, brake override system etc., ensure passengers safety. Among all the features, driver or brake override system is one of the most advanced and important active safety features in cars.
What is driver or brake override system?
Brake override is also known as Smart pedal. The system’s sensors or ‘smart’ technology recognize mixed signals or an electric malfunction when the gas and the brake pedals are being pushed simultaneously. After recognizing an abnormal acceleration, it overrules the command and sends signals to the central computer system to stop the vehicle safely.
How does it work?
Brake override is a fully integrated electronic system. This braking system enables various sensors, affixed in the vehicle, to transmit signals to electronic control unit (ECU). The ECU is responsible for checking the position of accelerator and brake pedals and detecting conflicts. If an abnormal acceleration or electronic malfunction is recognized by sensors, the ECU either overlooks the acceleration pedal or sustainably reduces its effect. In some systems, the accelerator command is overruled, partially, by stopping the throttle. Other systems minimize engine’s fuel supply; while in hybrid vehicles, the electronic current force is reduced.
When brake override works?
Whenever the vehicle accelerates beyond the driver’s intention, it senses it as accidental or involuntary acceleration. It might occur due to several reasons such as -
An object entangles with the accelerator pedal and keeps pressing it, even when the driver has released his/ her foot from the pedal.
When accelerator and brake pedal are pushed accidentally at the same time.
An electrical malfunction that is accelerating the vehicle beyond the driver’s intention.
If the driver keep pressing the brake and the vehicle accelerates constantly, then there is a problem with the vehicle. Stop the car as safely and immediately as possible.
What are the limitations?
Just like many other automobile safety features, the brake override has its own limitations that depend on system understanding and interaction of driver with the system.
It doesn’t help driver to maintain a safe speed or stop quickly.
Driver should be watchful and attentive, especially in poor driving conditions.
It is difficult to estimate at what speed and how far the system will stop the vehicle, even in dry conditions. Therefore, drivers always need to maintain a safe speed and distance between themselves and other vehicles.
Drivers need to keep a check to prevent unintended accelerations. However, some conflicts are caused by electrical malfunctions, sticking of objects or two-footed driving.