Also known as brake override, the change involves modifying existing electronic controls to reduce power to the engine in cases where the brake and accelerator pedal are being simultaneously depressed.
General Motors says that brake override is an additional safeguard to the braking performance standard GM has had for several years, applicable to all cars, trucks and crossovers, requiring that the brakes can stop the vehicle within a specific distance.
2011 Honda CR-ZEnlarge Photo
Honda announced two years ago that it was committed to applying “Brake Priority Logic” on 100 percent of all Honda and Acura passenger vehicles with automatic transmissions, with the first application coming to market in August of 2010. The vehicle was the all-new hybrid-only subcompact car, the 2011 Honda CR-Z. For the remainder of the 2011 model year, about half of Honda and Acura vehicles had the system. For 2012, the system, which Honda now calls Brake/Throttle Override, is on all Honda and Acura vehicles.
How the system works is explained to buyers in Honda and Acura vehicle owner’s manuals, but here’s a brief summary. The Brake/Throttle Override function applied to Honda and Acura models monitors the electronic throttle control (accelerator pedal) output signal. If that signal becomes static (meaning stuck) AND then the brake pedal is applied, after 0.1 seconds the throttle will be gradually reduced to near idle level over the course of about one-half second.
Ed Miller, Honda spokesman, tells The Car Connection that Honda chose to have a less abrupt throttle system than some other systems in the market. “The one-half second is quite noticeable to the driver, but we judge it to be less unsettling, so the driver can recognize the vehicle is slowing down due to reduction of engine power, but does not confuse the condition with a stalled engine,” said Miller.
Brake/Throttle Override is not applied to vehicles with manual transmissions because Honda believes that clutch is sufficient to allow the driver to decouple the engine power from the driven wheels.
2010 Kia OptimaEnlarge Photo
In addition to Hyundai, corporate sibling Kia also now has brake throttle override technology standard across all model lines. Kia calls its system “smart pedal” technology and the automaker began implementing it 2010 on the 2010 Forte, Optima, Rondo and Sedona and the 2011 Sorento.
See how our editors rate the 2012 Kia Optima in this review.
The smart pedal system monitors and corrects for simultaneous application of both the brake and the accelerator. In such a case, the brakes override accelerator input and revert the engine/RPM to “idle” status. There is no difference in how the system works between manual and automatic transmission-equipped vehicles.
2011 Mazda MAZDA2 TouringEnlarge Photo
When Mazda launched the 2011 Mazda2 subcompact car in the U.S., its press material indicated that this was the first Mazda in the U.S. market to have brake-throttle override technology. All 2012 Mazda vehicles now have brake-throttle override as standard equipment. Mazda doesn’t have any different name for it.
Mazda’s brake-throttle override system works based on a signal from the brake pedal switch. If it detects a conflict where the car’s computer is receiving signals from both the accelerator and the brakes, the brakes take precedence. Brake-throttle override works on all vehicles, regardless of transmission or starting systems.
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-ClassEnlarge Photo
Mercedes-Benz started introducing “smart pedal technology” or “brake override system” in its vehicles as early as 2002 in the S600 and CL600. It is now in 100 percent of all Mercedes-Benz and Smart vehicles.
According to Mercedes-Benz, when the brake pedal is pressed and the accelerator pedal remains engaged, the electronic signal propelling the car is interrupted, and the vehicle is automatically slowed to idle.
There is no difference in general function of the smart pedal technology between manual and automatic transmission. Also, how the engine is started or stopped (e.g. key fob or push-button) does not influence the smart pedal technology function.
Check out our comprehensive review of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class.
2011 Mitsubishi Outlander SportEnlarge Photo
The phase-in of Brake Override in Mitsubishi vehicles began in 2010 with the 2011 Outlander Sport and was added as a running change in December 2010 to the rest of the lineup (except Endeavor). As of the 2012 model year, all Mitsubishi vehicles are equipped with the brake override system as standard equipment, regardless of whether manual, automatic or push-button start.
The Mitsubishi brake override system works by monitoring both the throttle pedal sensor and brake sensor. In the event that both the brake pedal and the throttle pedal are applied at the same time, the system will automatically override the throttle pedal, giving the brake pedal priority.