Porsche has the right idea when it comes to saving fuel. While some automakers think that cutting down on gas consumption means making cars more austere, Porsche is going the other way as much as possible by incorporating design elements that actually make saving gas fun. Take, for example, the hybrid tech on the 918 Spyder, or look at the company’s new cornering cruise control.
The active cruise system, called InnoDrive, is currently being tested out on German roads. It’s designed to take a car through twists and turns on a road while losing as little momentum as possible, mixing efficiency with road-hugging pleasure. The system controls the car’s throttle and brakes, ideally executing flawless entries and exits every time.
Drivers aren’t cut completely out of the fun because they still get to steer. It can pull about 0.5 and 0.7 g through a turn, which should be enough to make a road trip more enjoyable. Sensors measure the radius of a turn and the road’s grade, making adjustments so the vehicle moves forward more efficiently. The whole point is to maximize brake-specific fuel consumption, or BSFC, which squeezes the most forward movement possible from each drop of gas.
Naturally, not everyone is on board with this technology. People complained when cruise control and the first automatic transmission were created, and they’re complaining now because InnoDrive is perceived as removing freedom from the driver. Among the concerns that have been brought up is whether the car adjusts its cornering speeds based on inclement weather or if a turn is blind, increasing the risk of an accident. Others feel that the tech takes all of the joy out of being behind the steering wheel.
Things could be much, much worse. Google’s latest autonomous car doesn’t even have a steering wheel, completely removing human control so it’s more like you’re on a ride at Disney Land than driving. Porsche at least is trying to keep humans in the loop with its autonomous tech, which looks like a much brighter future for enthusiasts.