You may have heard the term “adaptive cruise control” being mentioned more and more these days.
But what exactly is this technology, and how does it work?
UNLIKE REGULAR CRUISE CONTROL, IT ADAPTS TO TRAFFIC CONDITIONS.
If you’ve ever used regular cruise control, you know that it merely helps you maintain a set speed.
Adaptive cruise control is a lot more advanced. The system relies on a suite of sensors and cameras to detect cars ahead.
Based on this data, the car’s various systems continually adjust the vehicle’s cruising speed.
IF I SET MY SPEED TO 90KM/H, WILL IT BE MAINTAINED?
Well, yes and no. And generally speaking, no, especially in the Singapore context.
With so many vehicles on our roads jostling for space, it is going to be rare to have a clear stretch of road without any other cars.
You can set the cruising speed to 90km/h, but once the system detects vehicles in front, it will slow your car down to what it determines is a safe speed and following distance.
In many cases, adaptive cruise control systems maintain a very safe (read: far) distance from the vehicle in front.
In Singapore, this will only lead to numerous other drivers cutting/filtering into your lane.
WHAT CAN I DO TO CLOSE THIS DISTANCE?
Part of how adaptive cruise control works is that it lets drivers adjust the following distance. The button is usually on the steering wheel.
However, due to safety concerns, your car will still keep quite a distance from the vehicle in front – even if you select the shortest following distance.
HOW CAN I BENEFIT FROM THIS FEATURE?
Using adaptive cruise control gives you a more relaxed driving experience.
It automatically adjusts your vehicle’s speed and distance vis-a-vis the car in front.
Good systems will be able to reduce your speed when a car cuts into your lane without you really feeling the slow-down.
However, you must always be ready to intervene. No carmaker has ever guaranteed that their adaptive cruise control works flawlessly.
ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL IS ONLY THE BEGINNING OF AUTONOMOUS DRIVING
Luxury carmakers are already producing models with adaptive cruise control that works in conjunction with other features.
Active cruise control can be paired with Lane Keep Assist systems and Blind Spot Monitors.
When all three technologies come together, they help maintain a set driving speed and keep the car within the chosen lane.
They even help prevent the driver from switching lanes if another vehicle is detected in the blind spot.