Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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E-brake button

Like those found on trains.
  [vote for,

A big red button which when hit, will cause the car to automatically brake to a stop in the shortest possible time safely (a computer may be able to determine the optimal ABS rate etc). A smaller green button to override this mode to resume to manual braking.
_dragonfly_, Apr 17 2003


       The centre pedal does this on my car. Press it as hard as possible; ABS does the rest.
angel, Apr 17 2003

       And does the same computer determine the optimal travelling speed when you press the green button? I agree with angel, the centre pedal wins, feet down. What makes you think you could react faster with your hand to hit a big red button (what about colour-blind folks?) than with your feet to press the brake pedal? And what about those "drivers" who insist on holding their morning coffee in one hand while pressing the cellphone to their ear with the other hand, how quickly could they hit the button? No, _dragonfly_, this idea is not worthy of pastry. Here's the fishbone -
Canuck, Apr 17 2003

       Points noted, angel and Canuck, but...   

       A front seat passenger can hit the big red button too. (instead of shouting "Watch out!", the passenger can have better control of his destiny)   

       I think some paniced drivers step hard on the accelerator instead of the brake.   

       Peace of mind for parents who are letting their newbie young adult children take over the wheel after just getting their license.   

It seems that the reaction time for hand is faster than the feet in a seated position. hmm... need to convince a few people to play a game of snap with feet versus hand to verify that...

The bigger button is the "dead stop", which is also green in color. (also the big red button should be easier to reach and hit than the smaller green button). The green button merely cancels the "dead stop" order.

       The red button is like a macro, it tells the car to "do whatever it takes to stop safely immediately", which the computer can do things like: regressively drop to lower gear and use engine brake + apply maximum brake, but not neck breaking etc decisions which the computer should be able to perform faster than the speed of human thought and reaction...
_dragonfly_, Apr 17 2003

       1) If a passenger cannot trust the driver, he shouldn't get in the car. Having two people controlling the same car is a recipe for disaster, and if any passenger of mine expressed a desire to have such a device, he should expect to walk home.
2) The accelerator is the one on the right, the brake is in the centre (or on the left). This is fairly basic stuff as far as driving skills go. If a driver is inclined to get the pedals confused, he really shouldn't be driving.
3) Likewise for children; try a few more lessons, with a qualified instructor.
4) Hands are doing other things, and the range of places they can go is far greater than for feet.
"Whatever it takes to stop safely" is exactly what "stamping hard on the brake pedal" does in ABS-equipped cars.
angel, Apr 17 2003

       Nope - I'll hit the big middle pedal quicker than I'll hit a big red button on the dashboard. Why? Because I do it instinctively. In an emergency I'll brake hard before I've even consciously noticed why I'm doing it. Your big red button will be used rarely and so is something which I'll need my conscious mind for ("Hmm, a pedestrian is in front of my car - I'd better hit that button"). It's like Cruise Control - I almost never use it, so I have to concentrate on what I'm doing when I do use it.
hippo, Apr 17 2003

       Your big red button control is yielded to the driver of another car that is closest to you and her button control is yielded to you?   

       Might as well make it truly interesting.
bristolz, Apr 17 2003

       I don't know the first thing about driving a car, but you have the Monkey's guarantee that as he hurtles towards the edge of a cliff at 80mph, the last thing on his mind will be to press a big red button. One e-fishbone.
monkeyseemonkeydo, Apr 17 2003

       I can just see my mother (who has a habit of setting my wipers to high when I prefer low, reaching over and flashing my brights at oncoming traffic, twiddling with the air conditioner, etc...) reaching over and slapping this button the next time some yahoo in front of me steps on his brakes a little too hard. She's already been scolded by me for trying this with the hand-brake, but fortunately my handbrake cable is so stretched, it didn't do much more than slow us down a bit. My situation may be a bit unusual, but I'd imagine this big red button would cause far more accidents (the guy behind you running into your suddenly stopped car) than it would prevent.
Freefall, Apr 17 2003

       You need a big red "mother-into-the-backseat" button.
bristolz, Apr 17 2003

       -reensure, now that I've got so many fishbones, there's plenty of fishbone diagrams to make.
Thanks for all feedback. So I gather it's not wise for such button system because: 1. The driver loses total command of the vehicle. 2. Much less intuitive to use than brake padel.

       OK, the question now becomes: Is there a need for computer aided E-braking in the first place?   

       I mean, suppose if the big brake padel has the computer E-brake button feature, but is triggerred when the driver jams the brake (at some statistically determined critical force applied to the pedal). Would that be better? (the green button feature may similarly be triggered when the force on the brake padel is, say, zero Newton?)   

-hippo mentioned about the Cruise Control being a white elephant. How many of you car buyers think that you should not pay for this feature and scrap it altogether?

       I think that most car manufacturer are perpetually trying to improve on the car, I mean like tweak it better (not revamp). Since they have allocated funds to do R&D on this, what do you think needs to be improved? I mean it can be like removing some feature that you never use or gripes about something that is lacking, although you may not have a suggestion to improve on it (if you have a solution, I think you'd probably posted in Halfbakery. Hmm... maybe we can have a gripe section in Halfbakery, but let others offer their solutions).
I wonder how the R&D folks knows what to R&D on. Do they ever ask you (car owners) for feedback?
_dragonfly_, Apr 18 2003

       This reminds me of when I was learning to drive. I thought my mother was groovin to the tunes, until I realized she was pounding the floor boards with her right foot even after I turned off the radio.
We need a placebo brake pedal for passenger seat drivers. Maybe coupled with the kind of seat-motion controllers in virtual thrill rides that emulate G- forces, so mum thinks she's actually slowing things down and calms herself a bit.

I don't know how they do it in other countries, but here in the U S of A, the sole aim of automotive R&D is to sell more cars, and they employ more market research people than ergonomic design engineers.
roby, Apr 18 2003

       The sole aim of any commercial R&D effort is, unsurprisingly, to sell more of whatever it is they sell and marketing usually represents a large percentage of any successful corporation's workforce. In fact, outside of academic or pure research institutions, I would be surprised if any R&D division staff or budget exceeds the marketing arm.   

       With maybe one exception.   

       [_dragonfly_] I use cruise control a lot. I use it on city streets and arterials where the speed limit is very low, like 25 or 30 and the streets are speed trap havens.   

       If I didn't have cruise control, I would have a lot of tickets by now.
bristolz, Apr 18 2003

       Any product marketing/ R&D folks around to comment?   

       At least bristolz finds Cruise Control useful. I was thinking, about the gripe section in Halfbakery should also have the voting system to find out how many people find that the gripe is relevant or otherwise. (at the same time, improvement can also be separately posted, or just annotate).   

       BTW, please continue to add fishbone to the original idea of E-brake button if you think it's not workable. I think it's very interesting to get the most fishbone award if I can, for then more folks might be curious to read what you guys think.
_dragonfly_, Apr 18 2003

       Let's say it again. Your 'computer-aided E-braking' (assuming that means 'emergency braking') already exists; it's called ABS. Pressing hard on the brake pedal results in maximum braking. The ABS system detects imminent wheel-locking and momentarily releases the errant brake, independently of the others, until the locking condition no longer applies.
[Freefall], I suggest you hand-cuff your mother to the rear head restraint next time she gets in your car. Or put her behind the dog-guard.
angel, Apr 18 2003


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