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Is the Tesla Model S Pedal Placement A Safety Hazard?

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the keep-stomping dept.

Transportation 394

cartechboy (2660665) writes "When things go wrong with the Tesla Model S electric car, its very loyal--and opinionated--owners usually speak up. And that's just what David Noland has done. An incident in which his Model S didn't stop when he pressed the brake pedal scared him--and got him investigating. He measured pedal spacing on 22 different new cars at dealers--and his analysis suggests that the Tesla pedal setup may be causing what aviation analysts call a 'design-induced pilot error'. And pedal design, as Toyota just learned to the tune of $1.2 billion, is very important indeed in preventing accidents."

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394 comments

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How dumb do you have to be (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46567727)

One thing's for sure: US drivers aren't getting any smarter.

Simple Rule (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 6 months ago | (#46568371)

When you press a pedal and don't get the expected results, it's most likely the wrong pedal.

Actually it is easy to do if you are wearing work boots. Thankfully it's the usually the opposite...pressing the brake didn't make the car go.

Tesla fanbois crying in 3... 2... 1... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46567735)

Boo hoo!! How comes teh Slashdotz haz so meany articles aghenst da Telzas?!?!?!?!?! U must B a SHHHHHILLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Whaaaaa!!! Whaaaaa!!

Don't blame others for user error. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46567747)

Size 13 winter boots. Brake pedal and gas aren't "as far" apart as other cars.

User Error != Manufacturer Defect

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (5, Funny)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 6 months ago | (#46567763)

He's holding it wrong.

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 months ago | (#46568447)

My advice to him would be to get an angle grinder and chop 0.3" off the side of the brake pedal to bring it up to international safety standards.

You can never be too careful.

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (1)

Crimey McBiggles (705157) | about 6 months ago | (#46567899)

When it comes to cars, it's an established industry with nearly all of the UX design kinks having been already ironed out over the past century. If there's a new car on the market and the driver makes an error, AND the driver is somewhat experienced, I think it's safe to say the design isn't as accommodating or standardized as it needs to be.

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (3, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#46568081)

Sports cars have the brake and gas pedals close together so that one can heel-and-toe them. Wannabe-sports sedans copy this, for the same marketing reason we were afflicted by spoilers on family sedans for a generation.

Each "standard" has its place, the fault if any of Tesla was in believing their own hype that the Model S was some kind of sports car (hint: when your car's over 2 tons empty, that's not what "sports car" means. GT cruiser maybe, but no one's gonna be heel-and-toeing it through the race track in anything like stock.)

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (3, Interesting)

amorsen (7485) | about 6 months ago | (#46568215)

Heel and toe is a bit stupid in a car without gears...

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568333)

Heel and toe is a bit stupid in a car without gears...

All cars have gears including the tesla.

Heel toeing is useless in a car without a clutch pedal.

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568587)

Actually, no. It has no gears. That is why it tops out at 125 mph. They tried to put gearboxes in there, but the motor blew them apart.

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (4, Informative)

Rakishi (759894) | about 6 months ago | (#46568605)

All cars have gears including the tesla.

The Tesla has a fixed single speed transmission so for all intents and purposes it has no gears.

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (4, Insightful)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 6 months ago | (#46568685)

Heel and toe is a bit stupid in a car without gears...

The Tesla is a 1-speed fixed gear ratio (9.73:1). So technically it does have gears. But you can't change them while driveing. Only by tearing the car apart to swap out a different set of gears. In the sense that the GP meant, no the car does not have gears. At least none that you can change(shift) while driving the car. So as the GP correctly stated, it is pointless to heel-toe in a Tesla.

Re: Don't blame others for user error. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568365)

Your personal definition of a sports car doesn't contribute to our collective intelligence. Do you have another point you'd like to make that isn't so incredibly pointless?

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568471)

You're one of those who believe thoselarge spoiler sedans were $16K cheapo kid cars with some parts from pep boys on it....

And you're quite seriously wrong.

I own a 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR which is exactly one of those large spoiler cars you speak of. It was one of the only cars on the road making 300 horsepower from a 2.0 liter motor with such a unique set of features that have yet to be adopted in the industry.

For one the car was sold making 400 horsepower from it's 2.0 engine which is a world record for highest horsepower per liter of a production engine.
It has a four wheel drive setup with a manual transmission which not only has limited slip differentials, but even better upgraded electronic differentials in the center and rear which can be controlled via computer to enhance handling.

Top Gear even ran a stint showing it staying right with a V10 Lambo Gallardo around a race track.

In rally form these cars *easily* produce 650-850 horsepower and use anti-lag systems to make around 600ft/lbs of torque at 3000rpm!

They have aluminum roofs, aluminum front clips, aluminum rear clips, a forged aluminum suspension front & rear with a 5 link out back. When everyone else was making 215 horsepower from their 5.0 liter V8 in 1993, this car was already producing 270hp from it's little 2.0 liter 4 banger. With 300ft/lbs of torque at a super low 3300rpm and you could go buy it at a dealership with a 7 year warranty for 100,000 miles.

So those idiots putting wings on their 16K HONDA, are actually mimicking these super bad ass factory race cars like the Lancer Evolution.

That's why I spent $41,000 on mine brand spanking new. It looks like every other 16K car but with $2500 of aftermarket work invested its producing 440 horsepower and 390 ft/lbs of torque yet I can stay off boost and get 31mpg even with full-time AWD that is always on.

Please realize not every import 4 banger sucks... I took the wing off mine to blend in yet I can whoop on a new Corvette since I have zero wheelspin and similar horsepower.

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (2)

Demonantis (1340557) | about 6 months ago | (#46568485)

There are winter boots I won't wear while driving a regular car. I can tell it is dangerous and simply have a second pair of shoes in the car. This guy is just ignorant that driving is a dangerous activity and care should be taken. Some car models have what is called a "smart pedal" which deactivates the accelerator with brake application. I think the US government is looking to eventually legislate it as a requirement. Further, I was taught from a driving instruction video that you are suppose to pop the car into neutral when you have trouble stopping in the winter. Which would have fixed this guy's issue too.

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (1)

PIBM (588930) | about 6 months ago | (#46568531)

I also have size 13 winter boots. I've drove many brands and many models of cars, and since winter last a while around here, I've done so with those winter boots. In most of the cars, I am always touching the brake pedal when pressing the gaz. We learn to be very cautious at all times; in his blog you can clearly see the wide brake pedal that might not be so far from the gaz but you know what, you can move your feet much more to the left without problems.

Most of the issue with large boots is actually slowing down when you intended to speed up, not the reverse! He clearly failed at it...

Oh well, the issue on my side at this time is not having a tesla :) At least he got that right!

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568085)

My biggest problem was his proposed solution. It seemed ignorant of one of the most important philosophies of automotive design...namely, that system(s) for responding to driver input is/are entirely distinct from all other systems. The notion that you should filter how the driver input and try to apply logic to determine what the driver actually meant seems like a recipe for disaster.

The one area I might fault Tesla on is that the warning for this condition is not graphic enough. Popping up a "both pedals pressed" message is nice, but in an extreme condition, the driver will be in no position to read and interpret a message like that. The display should also have a graphical representation of when each pedal is pressed so that a) they're conditioned to know what those indicators mean (since they go on and off when the each pedal is pressed) and b) they can quickly see the state the car is in and rectify it. I completely disagree with his assertion that when pressing two pedals, the driver always wants to stop.

But if Tesla has done enough user testing to find that people respond better to the alert message, then I'd defer to their greater data.

Re:Don't blame others for user error. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568341)

Actually, his proposed solution is exactly what Audi, VW, BMW and Mercedes have implemented.

Tesla (5, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 months ago | (#46567749)

Hey look, some idiot hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal and it's "news" because it was a Tesla.

Re:Tesla (4, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 6 months ago | (#46567805)

Pretty much. I drive a car with a manual transmission; we don't get giant brake pedals, so I'm stomping on this tiny little square which my foot can easily slip from. It has, and has found the accelerator...which is usually non-functional because I'm out of gear.

So yeah. His massive foot should have been able to find the massive brake pedal. It's the big, long, wide one. If you're hanging on the edge of the brake, you could slip off the edge and floor it. I've done it.

Re:Tesla (2)

gnick (1211984) | about 6 months ago | (#46567909)

Getting behind the wheel of an automatic with the parking brake on the floor and stomping down on the "clutch" can get pretty damned exciting too... Locked up the wheels on a GOV SUV getting off the Interstate. Whoops...

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568075)

I don't understand how the fuck you could confuse the two. Those parking brake pedals are way farther to the left than a clutch pedal.

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568083)

Hah. Once (just once) I pressed the edge of a (wide) brake pedal thinking I was going for the clutch.
That got the adrenaline flowing.

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568493)

Been there. Done that too. While turning in the middle of a busy intersection when my left leg said it was time to go from first to second.

Maybe we can start a club. We'll need to print T-shirts too.

Manual Driver.
Out of control Automatic.

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568129)

Which is exactly why sane manufacturers have the parking brake actuator higher up and way off to the side and a large footrest left of the brake pedal.

Re:Tesla (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 months ago | (#46568361)

Yep, I've done that....

Re:Tesla (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 months ago | (#46568389)

No I haven't. I though you meant you stomped the brake pedal when you went for the clutch.

All the parking brakes I've seen are way higher than the other pedals and way over on the left. Pretty darn difficult to hit accidentally.

Re:Tesla (3, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | about 6 months ago | (#46568489)

Getting behind the wheel of an automatic and putting it into gear and it starts moving is scary! Cars are designed to go to a halt without active user input, but for some reason automatics has mindblowingly retarded defaults that makes them move unless you floor the brake! Automatics are just scary scary things of EPIC UI FAIL!

Re:Tesla (1)

sribe (304414) | about 6 months ago | (#46568497)

Pretty much. I drive a car with a manual transmission...

Every once in a while, when I'm wearing winter boots, and go to push in the clutch, I get the brake too as a special bonus ;-)

Re:Tesla (3, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | about 6 months ago | (#46568613)

and has found the accelerator...which is usually non-functional because I'm out of gear.

It's not non-functional. It makes you sound awesome!

Re:Tesla (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#46568675)

Indeed, this image from TFA nicely demonstrates what a retard this guy is: http://images.thecarconnection... [thecarconnection.com]

Re:Tesla (2)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 6 months ago | (#46567973)

Well, I hear you, but that's how news work. If a dog bites a man, it's not news. If a man bites a dog, it's news even if it happened in a faraway country.

If an expensive high status car has a problem, it's news.

Re:Tesla (1)

gutnor (872759) | about 6 months ago | (#46568313)

All cars of in that price range have quirks that don't make the news, it is just Tesla. That's the flip side of all the positive media hype surrounding Tesla: extravagant CEO, car company from silicon valley, aggressive communication ( eg: to defend the car after a mild review ), ...

Re:Tesla (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 6 months ago | (#46568659)

If an expensive high status car has a problem, it's news.

No, if it's an electric car, it's news.

It's safe to say that there are some powerful people who really don't want Tesla to succeed. These "pro-consumer" stories are most likely coming from the same place laws that laws forbidding Tesla from having showrooms in several states come from.

If they'll go to the extent of having captive legislatures pass laws making it harder for Tesla to do business, does anything think they wouldn't gin up a few press releases?

Re:Tesla (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46568005)

Hey look, some idiot hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal and it's "news" because it was a Tesla.

It was "news" when it happened to Toyota, too.

Your sacred cow, eh, eets not so sacred.

Re:Tesla (1)

PIBM (588930) | about 6 months ago | (#46568579)

Toyota flooring cover were sticking the pedals down when pushed down hard by the user. That's quite different, in this case he took his feet off and the car didn't start accelerating as if there was no tomorrow.

Re:Tesla (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#46568019)

Other makers have found to be "at fault" in similar incidents with close pedals. Audi got partial blame for their unintended acceleration problems because the brake and throttle were close enough that when it was fully depressed, the driver would have trouble telling from position which pedal was depressed. Sure, you should know before you press it, but it's not like you can glance at your feet and see where they are. Aside from trucks, I can't recall any cars that you could see your feet while driving.

The real problem is that people like me would rather have the smaller pedals closer together. If they aren't packed close, how are people like me with small feet supposed to heel-toe in a manual? Those with bigger feet can manage brake with the big toe (or ball of foot) and roll the side of their foot on and off the throttle. But us small-footed people require dangerous cars to manage that in, otherwise, we are actually heel-toeing, and that's harder to get the soft touch. You can blip the throttle, but not well controll the RPM.

Re:Tesla (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 6 months ago | (#46568295)

The thing is, you have no use for heel-toe in a Tesla. Not only is it not a manual, it does not have gears at all.

Re:Tesla (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46568393)

The thing is, you have no use for heel-toe in a Tesla. Not only is it not a manual, it does not have gears at all.

Huh?

Heel-toeing is not a manual-transmission thing, you know.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Tesla (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 6 months ago | (#46568561)

I know what heel-toeing is. You have no use for it in a fixed-gear car.

Re:Tesla (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46568599)

Hey, you're the one that superfluously mentioned manual transmissions. Since you know what the term means, assume my comment is directed at anyone who may have been confused by yours.

Re:Tesla (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 6 months ago | (#46568639)

Yes, it mostly is. From your link:

" It involves operating the throttle and brake pedals simultaneously with the right foot, while facilitating normal activation of the clutch with the left foot. It is used when braking and downshifting simultaneously (prior to entering a turn), and allows the driver to "blip" the throttle to raise the engine speed and smoothly engage the lower gear. "

It can be done to keep from jolting the car from downshifting when going into a turn. Or to maintain RPM's in the power band of the engine. Both of which are non-valid issues in a care with a 1-speed fixed gear (9.73:1)

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568661)

The thing is, you have no use for heel-toe in a Tesla. Not only is it not a manual, it does not have gears at all.

Huh?

Heel-toeing is not a manual-transmission thing, you know.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]

Where in your link does it talk about anything but manual transmissions? First paragraph "It involves operating the throttle and brake pedals simultaneously with the right foot, while facilitating normal activation of the clutch with the left foot." The rest of the page doesn't stray from that.

Re:Tesla (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 6 months ago | (#46568273)

Hey look, some idiot hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal and it's "news" because it was a Toyota.

FTFY

And yet only one idiot has this problem. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46567753)

And yet only one idiot has this problem.
In the toyota case lots of people were having problems. Not just one with a tape measure and an axe to grind because he made a foolish mistake.

Re:And yet only one idiot has this problem. (4, Insightful)

Altus (1034) | about 6 months ago | (#46567859)

Before posting crap like this for the love of god at least consider the difference in number between the most popular car on the road and a super expensive specialty vehicle that very few people own. Somehow I am not surprised that with only 25,000 cars on the road there are less reports of problems with the tesla than there are with the 3.2 million prius' sold world wide.

Obviously its just a conspiracy and also there is clearly no way that anyone at tesla could ever make a poor design decision.

Re:And yet only one idiot has this problem. (1, Funny)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 6 months ago | (#46567927)

But...but...he writes a BLOG about Tesla! How can he be an idiot? He must be an authority on all things automotive!

(that was sarcasm btw)

Re:And yet only one idiot has this problem. (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 6 months ago | (#46568319)

It may be a foolish mistake, but it was also very easy to prevent by design. Either move the pedals farther apart or change the error handling in software.

Re:And yet only one idiot has this problem. (5, Funny)

Master Moose (1243274) | about 6 months ago | (#46568475)

O agree, and on an unrelated note, O would loke the standard QWERTY keybaord redesogned so that the letters O "eye" and O "Oh" are not placed so close together. Thor current placement causes me far too many typong errors

Re:And yet only one idiot has this problem. (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 6 months ago | (#46568555)

>In the toyota case lots of people were having problems

Put elderly people in Teslas, and they'll have many people complaining too. There are many more Toyatas, and very few feeble-minded people driving Teslas.

Firmware (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | about 6 months ago | (#46567769)

Can't make it so that double pedaling is automatically assumed brake-only since that would make hill starts impossible, but I don't see why it couldn't be programmed (since its throttle by wire anyway) to only allow double pedaling at a complete stop.

Re:Firmware (2)

toruonu (1696670) | about 6 months ago | (#46567831)

The brake pedal is elevated with regard to the gas pedal meaning that in essentially any situation you hit the break first. If you double pedal the car will break and not only that, it WILL tell you that you are pressing both pedals and make an audible noise.

So I'd have to conclude that the problem lies between the pedals and the seat in this case.

And I know cause I drive one daily and I have managed to double pedal a total of two-three times when being lazy and it's never been a situation where it'd lead to the car not stopping. Also, with regard to hill hold the firmware 5.9 comes with hill hold where after breaking the car remains holding the current position no matter what angle 1s after you release the brake to allow for easy hill hold. At least that's what the first owners of 5.9 report.

Re:Firmware (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46567929)

The brake pedal is elevated with regard to the gas pedal meaning that in essentially any situation you hit the brake first. If you double pedal the car will brake and not only that, it WILL tell you that you are pressing both pedals and make an audible noise.

So I'd have to conclude that the problem lies between the pedals and the seat in this case.

And I know cause I drive one daily and I have managed to double pedal a total of two-three times when being lazy and it's never been a situation where it'd lead to the car not stopping. Also, with regard to hill hold the firmware 5.9 comes with hill hold where after braking the car remains holding the current position no matter what angle 1s after you release the brake to allow for easy hill hold. At least that's what the first owners of 5.9 report.

ftfy

Re:Firmware (2)

EvanED (569694) | about 6 months ago | (#46568283)

And I know cause I drive one daily and I have managed to double pedal a total of two-three times when being lazy and it's never been a situation where it'd lead to the car not stopping

I'm not sure you're helping your case. In fact, IMO you're supporting his. He has only double-pedaled a small number of times too, and his previous times were when he didn't have issues stopping either. And in years and years of driving my normal sedan, I think I have never double pedaled.

It really does sound like a design problem.

Re:Firmware (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 months ago | (#46568423)

If you double pedal the car will break

I don't think a car which breaks if you hit both pedals is a car I'd want to buy...I'd like to be able to continue my journey.

Re:Firmware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46567877)

Never "double pedalled" and managed hill starts all my life... not sure what you mean. Clutch control ;) (and every automatic I've drive manages just fine too).

Re:Firmware (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 6 months ago | (#46568585)

Never "double pedalled" and managed hill starts all my life... not sure what you mean. Clutch control ;) (and every automatic I've drive manages just fine too).

The really fun maneuver is to have a manual transmission going from a full stop heading uphill (a steep hill at that) and some jackass that is only six inches from your rear bumper. Bonus points if you don't touch that car behind you.

For me, that takes pressing three pedals at the same time (break, gas, & clutch). You let off the brake pedal first as you let the clutch slip a little bit while stomping on the gas and trying not to stall out the engine at the same time. Perhaps there is an easier way to get that to happen, but typically with a manual clutch you will roll backward at least a few inches or even feet in that situation if you let off the brake pedal too soon and take the fraction of a second to move your foot from the brake to the gas pedal. Automatic transmissions are definitely much easier to use in that situation.

Re:Firmware (1)

Altus (1034) | about 6 months ago | (#46567971)

Hill starts? Its not a manual you know.

Re:Firmware (1)

sirsnork (530512) | about 6 months ago | (#46568265)

And even if it was, that's what the parking brake is for

Re:Firmware (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | about 6 months ago | (#46568425)

Even automatics can roll back on enough of a hill.

Re:Firmware (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 6 months ago | (#46568069)

They pretty much do this now. I have 2013 Dart. If the traction control is on when you take your foot off the break the break basically remains applied for I don't know long exactly I want to say almost a second, unless forward motion is detected. So you can hill start without it rolling backwards unless you are way way way slow with your feet. It may also know if you

If you actually do want to just roll backwards, like I often do to get out of my own driveway you just wait the second.

I think it may also only do this if a forward gear is selected possibly only first but I am not 100% sure.

Need an Awww Shut Button (4, Funny)

Virtucon (127420) | about 6 months ago | (#46567773)

It needs a big red shiny button on the dash! It'll simultaneously apply the brakes, eject the battery pack, contact your insurance agent to file a claim, call your lawyer to sue Tesla and deploy the fire extinguishers. Not necessarily in that order.

Re:Need an Awww Shut Button (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568133)

LOL! That post really cut me up. Thanks for that.

Re:Need an Awww Shut Button (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568511)

And, for good measure, it will post a story about it to Slashdot!

Betteridge's Law of Headlines (2)

ArtForz (1239798) | about 6 months ago | (#46567775)

No.

News for nerds (4, Informative)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | about 6 months ago | (#46567777)

Guy cannot drive and trashes expensive car, blames manufacturer.
News at 11.

PS: Apparently, "The Model S accelerator pedal is disabled if you press the accelerator pedal and brake pedal simultaneously."

Audi (1)

0racle (667029) | about 6 months ago | (#46567797)

Is this the same bullshit that almost made Audi pull out of the US? It looks like it.

Gokart tech to the rescue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46567807)

Our local gokart track with electric motors cut off the engine power if any brake is applied. Mostly to avoid undue wear, but still. You won't be able to heel-toe anymore though, as if that's something a Tesla driver ever needs to do.

Re:Gokart tech to the rescue (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 6 months ago | (#46568015)

You won't be able to heel-toe anymore though, as if that's something a Tesla driver ever needs to do.

Given the lack of gears, I'm going to say confidently that they do not need to heel-toe.

Re:Gokart tech to the rescue (2)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 6 months ago | (#46568089)

Given that it is all drive by wire, I don't see why it couldn't be adjustable to foot size...

Re:Gokart tech to the rescue (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#46568063)

no automatic ever required heel-toe. The only reason to use both pedals in an auto (one on each pedal, no need to use one foot on both) is to spool up the turbo. But there's never a gain in using both in an electric automatic with yaw-control and traction control.

Unintended consequences (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 6 months ago | (#46567827)

Moving the pedals farther apart and with more vertical separation may make it harder to quickly switch from the accelerator to the brake pedal, causing more accidents than the few prevented by the people with size 13 feet wearing large boots. Plus, with a large vertical separating, the big footed guy might find his foot trapped under the brake pedal when trying to quickly shift over.

I think it's going to take a little more research than one man's anecdote to determine if it's a problem.

Re:Unintended consequences (2)

quarterbuck (1268694) | about 6 months ago | (#46568039)

The guy did not actually recommend what you just said. He suggested a software fix where if brake and gas are both pressed, the brake would over-ride the gas pedal. So brake would always stop the car independent of whether the gas pedal was pressed.

It already works that way. (1)

tlambert (566799) | about 6 months ago | (#46568349)

The guy did not actually recommend what you just said. He suggested a software fix where if brake and gas are both pressed, the brake would over-ride the gas pedal. So brake would always stop the car independent of whether the gas pedal was pressed.

According to the comments section, it already works that way. Also, if you look at the pictures of the pedals, the brake pedal area is huge compared to the gas pedal area. While I personally like a long gas pedal hinged at the bottom, compared to a small square one, it's pretty clear his heel was too far right for braking. He probably needs to adjust his seat forward to increase his foot rotation.

Re:Unintended consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568373)

Cars already have this ability due to a clever invention which is already attached to the brake pedal on all vehicles.

Hint: they're called brakes.

Re:Unintended consequences (1)

Altus (1034) | about 6 months ago | (#46568079)

You mean moving them to a position consistent with other cars on the road would somehow make this car less safe than those other cars?

Big Foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46567833)

From a quick scan of the article, it looks like the author has really large feet, so when he tried to step on the brake, he stepped on the gas pedal as well. It's a problem for sure, but not for the majority of drivers.

Defect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46567851)

Are you pretending that a Tesla may have a defect (gasp).

Heresy ! Blaspheme !

One pedal to rule them all... (1)

leuk_he (194174) | about 6 months ago | (#46567885)

The one pedal to do braking and accelarating is already invented a dozen times. it is faster and stops this kind of error.
  It is just that car owners are far to conservative to make this a succes.

like.
http://static.autoblog.nl/imag... [autoblog.nl]

Re:One pedal to rule them all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568229)

That appears to be the most uncomfortable thing I've ever seen.

Re:One pedal to rule them all... (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 6 months ago | (#46568379)

How do you do cruise control with just one pedal?

Re:One pedal to rule them all... (1)

ftobin (48814) | about 6 months ago | (#46568439)

I suspect the pedal would move, just like it does in my radar-guided cruise control.

Re:One pedal to rule them all... (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 6 months ago | (#46568583)

But how would you disengage the cruise control with your foot? Would you have to press a button on the steering wheel before doing emergency stops?

That does not sound particularly safe.

Re:One pedal to rule them all... (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 6 months ago | (#46568643)

Never mind, the designer already thought of that. Sorry about the interruption.

Re:One pedal to rule them all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568557)

Err, the same way you do it with 2?
That "one" pedal is still 2, just with one mounted to the other at a right angle.

Re:One pedal to rule them all... (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 6 months ago | (#46568617)

What do you do if you are on cruise control and suddenly spot a hazard? Press a button on the steering wheel?

Re:One pedal to rule them all... (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 6 months ago | (#46568629)

No I see the point now. That is a rather nice design.

Re:One pedal to rule them all... (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 6 months ago | (#46568509)

With thatsolution I think you're actually more likely to encounter this same problem, as you could far more easily be pushing your foot to the right (accelerate) and down (brake) at the same time.

Re:One pedal to rule them all... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568641)

That thing has two pedals -- one you push down on, and another you push sideways on. I second their other AC who said that looks like the most uncomfortable thing he's ever seen.

This is a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46567955)

Tweak the parameter and re-print the car?

Toyota's fine was not just about pedals (4, Informative)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | about 6 months ago | (#46567997)

Toyota's fine was not just about sticking pedals (and initially making deceptive statements about the safety of those pedals). Toyota's fine was in part for claiming that sticking pedals were the sole cause of unintended acceleration when in fact multiple defects in Toyota’s engine software directly caused at least one (decided by a jury) other crash.

An Update on Toyota and Unintended Acceleration Barr Code [embeddedgurus.com]

U.S. Fines Toyota $1.2 Billion but Defers Criminal Prosecution Over Vehicle Safety Deceit - IEEE Spectrum [ieee.org]

This is an important safety (and technology) issue that has flown mostly under the radar. I believe that is in part because journalists and the public believe they got their answer years ago, when in fact new evidence, expert testimony, and court verdicts have come to light. I think the issue is important enough that this misconception should be corrected whenever it's reported.

My opinion, not my employer's.

Re:Toyota's fine was not just about pedals (1)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | about 6 months ago | (#46568473)

Correction: the fine mentioned by the summary is actually because of two different pedal related defects. Toyota and suing parties are still in court-ordered negotiations over the software-related problem. I thought this was a case of the article not recognizing the software defects (and it doesn't) but there was another, separate, also pedal-related problem which was new to me. I still think it's important to bring up the software-related problems as they are underrepresented but the article isn't actually wrong.

The Worst Pedal Arrangement (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46568067)

The worst pedal arrangement I've ever seen was in a manual transmission Mini Cooper S. That floorboard was designed for a goddamn stick-man. Seriously, I'm not a very big dude, and even I had trouble heel-toeing to the brake pedal without accidentally catching the edge of the clutch pedal.

Long story short, unless Tesla outsourced the pedal design to Mini, it could be worse.

Re:The Worst Pedal Arrangement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568593)

>The worst pedal arrangement I've ever seen was in a manual transmission Mini Cooper S. That floorboard was designed for a goddamn stick-man.

No, it was designed for women. Adult males don't fit in that car, and would be embarrassed if they did.

Self-induced pilot error (1)

TigerPlish (174064) | about 6 months ago | (#46568337)

I just went from an Rx-8 to a Mini, both 6-spd manual boxes.

I find myself stepping on my clutch foot with my brake foot. That didn't happen with the 8. Disconcerting, to say the least.

I'm getting better after a month (2000 miles), but that does tell me there are differences between the two cars that my muscle memory is trying to overcome.

I'm not blaming the car, I'm changing how I drive.

Maybe that's what's going on here, except they're not changing how they drive?

"You're stopping it wrong" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568501)

Answer from California.

Pedal Placement Failure (1)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | about 6 months ago | (#46568607)

I thought the biggest failure in pedal placement on the Tesla was placing them in a $75,000 car.

drive with two feet? (0)

ftobin (48814) | about 6 months ago | (#46568637)

I was taught from my driving instructor (who drove trucks for a living) to drive with two feet. As long as you're driving automatics, it only made sense that this provides safer driving since:

1) You can't hit the wrong pedal with the "one foot" you're using. Left foot is always brake, right is always gas.

2) You can cover the brake while holding the accelerator down. Not needing to depress and switch pedals improves reaction times.

3) If you ever did slam down with two feet, brakes override the engine. As a two-foot driver, I doubt I'd press the right foot down to brake, though -- I've had enough close calls. Additionally, I've occasionally tried using my right foot to brake in low-speed situations and it's scary, since I'm so hard-wired to only use the left.

I don't recommend re-teaching existing drivers, but we should at least be teaching new drivers the safest way.

The "one foot" style of driving is simply a poor carryover from manual transmissions. If automatic-transmission cars were designed from scratch today with no backstory, we'd have the brake over on the left, the gas on the right. Simple, obvious.

Accidentally depressing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46568655)

This is what passes for news these days? Size 13's, a warning light, and an audible warning. And the car isn't designed properly.

Explain to me again how a smaller VERTICAL gap is more prone to accidentally depressing both pedals.

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