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Porsche ACC InnoDrive screen  (Source: Autoblog)
System takes control of the pedals leaving the driver to steer

Walk up to most people and ask what they think of when the name Porsche is uttered and many will immediately think 911 and racing. Porsche is getting further and further from its pure sports car roots even though it still makes some of the best sports cars around. Most of the Porsche models sold today aren't the sports cars the company currently makes (911, Boxster, Cayman), but larger vehicles like the Panamera sedan/hatchback, and Cayenne crossover.

While performance remains a priority for Porsche, the company is looking into ways to make all of its vehicles safer and more efficient. Part of the investigation into efficiency and safety is a new system that takes adaptive cruise control a lot further than simply being able to slow down a vehicle in emergency situations.

The new system Porsche is working on is called ACC InnoDrive and it completely removes the driver's feet from the pedals. The car learns the route the driver takes complete with estimates of the speed limit, curves, and elevation changes and then translates that into data the car uses to completely control the pedals.

The goal is to create a car that constantly monitors speed, throttle, and other aspects for a smooth and comfortable ride that optimizes efficiency. Autoblog was able to take a ride in a prototype Porsche Panamera S that is equipped with the system. The hardware to make the ACC InnoDrive function is a second ECU in the trunk of the car that gathers additional data. 

Autoblog says that allowing the car to take over the pedals completely was unnerving in some parts, but the system performance flawlessly.

ACC InnoDrive has three modes: Comfort, Dynamic, and Off. The Dynamic mode is where the pedals are taken over by the car. Apparently, the system will bring your car to a complete stop, slow for curves, and knows the speed limit so you just have to steer. The system is expected to be production-ready in about three years and of course will be optional. InnoDrive is expected to be offered on most Porsche vehicles, including its sports cars.

Porsche did note that its system would not touch the steering wheel. It feels the hands-on aspect of steering is integral to the Porsche experience. 



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By jr9k on 6/29/2011 12:41:36 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
It feels the hands-on aspect of steering is integral to the Porsche experience.


What about the foot down on full throttle? Not a Porsche experience?




RE: .
By JMC2000 on 6/29/2011 12:53:26 PM , Rating: 2
That's only for those 'pedestrian' people that drive 'Italian' and other 'German' vehicles. We Porsche drivers are beyond merely pushing those archaic devices known as 'pedals'...


RE: .
By amanojaku on 6/29/2011 1:00:50 PM , Rating: 4
What about foot down on brake? I'm not worried about my normal driving patterns. I'm worried about someone else swerving in front of me and my fully automated system being unable to adjust. Sure, I can steer, but I would want full control of the gas and brakes at that point. Many drivers instinctively handle issues on the road, like deer jumping out, or stuff flying off the back of a truck. Computers should be better, but I have yet to see one that actually is.


RE: .
By DanNeely on 6/29/2011 1:04:54 PM , Rating: 4
I'd be shocked if foot on the break wasn't a method to instantly switch back to manual speed control.


RE: .
By xti on 6/30/2011 10:45:12 AM , Rating: 2
just the way it works with cruise control, i assume the same.


RE: .
By Slyne on 6/29/2011 2:21:46 PM , Rating: 2
Working daily with computers and humans, I can tell you that I've come to trust the machines to do their job a lot more than the humans.


RE: .
By Camikazi on 6/29/2011 7:33:43 PM , Rating: 3
Ok, but do you trust the machine to take your place, and take over for your experience?


RE: .
By someguy123 on 6/29/2011 10:54:22 PM , Rating: 2
I think a machine is much more reliable for specialized tasks like this one.

Obviously they need some method of disabling computer control just in case, but I'd trust computers more than I'd trust the average person to pay attention to the road, especially with how popular texting and internet browsing on phones have become.


RE: .
By Strunf on 6/30/2011 8:06:42 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly a few well placed ultrasound sensors in your car and you could detect all incoming objects and the computer would do a much better job choosing what to do and faster.
For instance if a deer jumps into the road chances are you will not see it coming, with sensors the computer could be aware if it and warn you or takeover and do what needed to reduce the risks of an accident!


RE: .
By KillerNoodle on 6/29/2011 5:04:44 PM , Rating: 2
From reading this brief synopsis, it seems as if the pedals are still there and the InnoDrive needs you to drive the route at least once before the car can do it.

It is a nice idea, not relying on GPS and maps that could be wrong, and a computer that knows the upcoming terrain can probably drive more efficiently than a person.

And with all other Cruise Control Systems there will be the disclaimer that the driver should still pay attention and be prepared for the dynamic situations that arise while driving.


RE: .
By JediJeb on 6/29/2011 6:19:21 PM , Rating: 4
It will work ok where you have long drives with no intersections. I wonder what it does when you come to the places you have to stop and wait for crossing traffic, or things like rail crossings? Those are variables it just can't learn and are part of many peoples daily commutes.


RE: .
By nafhan on 6/30/2011 9:32:09 AM , Rating: 3
What'll be really interesting to see (from a legal perspective) is what happens the first time a pedestrian is struck and killed by one of these things... Is it Porsche's fault or the "drivers"?


RE: .
By fcx56 on 7/3/2011 8:43:10 PM , Rating: 2
Morally I'd say the driver, considering they are the one who pressed the button and took their eyes off the road. That being said, in America it's usually whomever has the deepest pockets..


RE: .
By Souka on 6/29/2011 7:33:14 PM , Rating: 2
I find it funny Porche is developing a system so you only need to steer your car, and VW this week talked about their system which its big feature is lane-holding..aka, self steering.

Just my thought....


RE: .
By Lazarus Dark on 6/29/2011 7:38:35 PM , Rating: 2
My concern is that the people buying Panamera's have more money than brains. They want a famous name, but don't actually want to drive a car. Many of them are likely ignorant enough to roll down the window and stick their feet out to cool, thinking the system will brake if someone comes flying into their path. Or better yet, falling asleep because they are so detached from driving thier brain isn't focused at all.

I'm in the camp thinking auto trans is the worst thing to happen to driving. If only we could force everyone back to manuals, they would have to put down the phone and pay attention... (I can dream of a world where I don't have to be constantly severely paranoid of someone ramming into me, cant I?...)


RE: .
By Wererat on 6/30/2011 8:50:07 AM , Rating: 2
You can't "force everyone" into anything. God knows the people who already want everyone (but themselves) to stop smoking, drinking, eating anything but tofu, using energy, buying interesting video games, etc. already have been trying to impose their will on all of us.

I would at least like the option to actually drive if I want. That seems to be drying up as people clamor for more automation in driving. There is no inexpensive "people's sportscar" any more; the Caterham 7 that was a $12k kit is now a $50k rich-kid's toy.

So, even though I'm a "car guy" I've been getting into motorcycles as the last refuge of those that want to control their vehicles and aren't yet independently wealthy.


"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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