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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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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 whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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