Technology can do a lot to improve fuel economy, but in the real world, changes in driving technique can also pay off with fuel savings.

This latest fuel-saving measure uses the former to encourage the latter.

Automotive supplier Bosch now has a "smart" gas pedal that uses haptic feedback to tell drivers when to shift in order to keep an engine operating economically.

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Called the "active gas pedal," it can also vibrate when it determines the driver is leaning on the throttle too heavily as a way of encouraging restraint.

These features can help cut fuel consumption by up to seven percent, Bosch claims.

In a sense, Bosch's gadget could be considered a more elaborate version of the accelerator detent in the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid.

In the Audi, the driver has to push past that detent to summon full power and fire up the gasoline engine, so it helps drivers tailor throttle inputs when trying to keep the car in electric-only mode.

Various hybrids and plug-in hybrids have also used graphics on gauge clusters or infotainment displays to try to coach drivers into more economical behavior.

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But Bosch has other uses in mind for this piece of technology.

The active gas pedal can also be networked with other vehicle systems--as well as apps--to enable different forms of feedback for the driver.

In hybrids with the ability to coast, the pedal can alert a driver when to take his or her foot off the gas. Bosch claims coasting can be used on around 30 percent of trips.

Fuel gauge

Fuel gauge

Beyond fuel economy, the pedal can also be linked to a car's forward collision warning system, and vibrate when an imminent collision is detected.

When linked to a car's navigation system, it can remind drivers of particularly curvy sections of road, or alert them to the need to take an alternate route.

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It can even read road signs. Connecting the pedal to cameras and the speed-limit-information systems on some cars allows it provide a friendly reminder when drivers get too exuberant.

Bosch won't discuss availability of the active gas pedal at this time, and no carmaker has publicly talked of plans to offer it in future models.


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