There is no denying the convenience of cruise control. Conventional cruise control systems however, are not always practical when it comes to driving in moderate traffic. Whenever the vehicle in front of you is moving slower than you are, you need to depress the brakes and de-activate the system. When traffic clears you need to press the accelerator, return to the desired speed and reset the cruise control.
Not very convenient, huh?
Imagine a cruise control system that not only controls your speed, to match the cars ahead of you but also controls the braking as well. Car companies like Daimler Chrysler, BMW, Jaguar, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Volvo and Ford have found the technology!
Using advanced Radar technology, Adaptive cruise control automatically scans the driving environment for slower vehicles ahead and can slower the vehicle to adapt, to current traffic conditions. Once traffic clears, the system will automatically return to the cruise set speed.
Another advantage of this radar system is it actually helps you brake more smoothly in an emergency. Assume the car upfront suddenly stops. Most people apply the brake too lightly at first and when they realize they are not going to stop, they suddenly slam them on! Well, that is where the radar can fix things. It knows exactly how far the car in front of you and also how fast you are travelling. So, it calculates how hard the brakes need be applied. If you are not pushing hard enough, it automatically takes over.
Setting the adaptive cruise control is just like setting the conventional cruise control system. First, while driving, press the “ON” control on the steering wheel. Accelerate to the desired speed, press and release the “SET +” control on the steering wheel and take your foot off the accelerator pedal. You can increase (“+” button) or decrease (“-“ button) the speed by using the buttons on the steering wheel. Pressing the brake pedal deactivates the system.
Put it in cruise control and when it is a situation to slow down, the car does that automatically! You don’t have to put your foot on the brake at all. The system does it by itself. And with a flick of the button and with no foot on the pedals the car speeds up by itself to the pre-set speed
The key difference between Conventional cruise control and Adaptive Cruise control is being able to adjust the Gap distance. When a vehicle ahead of you enters your lane or a slower vehicle is on the same lane, vehicle speed will adjust automatically to maintain a pre-set gap distance.
One thing to remember, is that you, the driver are always in control of the system and it is your responsibility to ensure the safe operation of your vehicle.