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The interface between human and machine are often as much art as they are science. A prime example is the way automobiles are controlled, in particular acceleration and braking. While nearly all vehicles over the last several decades have used a pair of adjacent foot pedals to manage those operations (with a shrinking proportion using a third for manual clutches), a third setup hasn't gained any traction in the marketplace.

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The interface between human and machine are often as much art as they are science. A prime example is the way automobiles are controlled, in particular acceleration and braking. While nearly all vehicles over the last several decades have used a pair of adjacent foot pedals to manage those operations (with a shrinking proportion using a third for manual clutches), a third setup hasn't gained any traction in the marketplace.

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After one month of investigation, Chrysler has decided to initiate a voluntary recall of 34,631 Dodge Caliber and 90 Jeep Compass vehicles from the 2007 model year in order to address a potential issue with sticking gas pedals. While the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has been investigating the problem for over a month, Chrysler reports that no accidents, injuries or property damage linked to vehicles equipped with these pedal assemblies have been reported.

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In an effort to stem the flow of potentially defective accelerator pedal parts at the source, Toyota announced earlier this week that replacement pedal components had begun shipping directly to its factories. While the announcement was a welcome step in the right direction towards a long-term resolution, Toyota retail dealers – face-to-face with millions of concerned customers seeking a fix – were understandably angered that the automaker had apparently left them out of the loop.

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Taking every precaution, Ford Motor Co. has stopped production on its Chinese-made Transit Classic diesel models – a full-sized commercial vehicle with a throttle pedal manufactured by the same company behind the Toyota recall. According to Ford, the vehicles began production in December and only about 1,600 vehicles have been produced. There have been no reported problems with the vehicle's accelerator, but the automaker wants to take a step back to ensure problems will not surface in the

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Now that Toyota's massive 3.8 million-vehicle recall for floor mats with a mind of their own has got unintended acceleration on our brains, perhaps it would be a good time to take a look at ways to solve the potential problem once and for all. In contrast to Toyota's initial low-tech tie-wrap approach, The New York Times reports that some automakers have created so-called "smart gas pedals."

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