Cruise control is among the most practical and innovative technologies that are found in cars. This feature makes cars more comfortable for individuals who drive on expressways regularly. A cruise control mode allows a driver to effortlessly maintain a consistent pace for as long as it is set based on the type of vehicle. This also aids in the reduction of tiredness, which is especially beneficial when driving for long periods. Cruise control technologies make driving practically painless while also cutting fuel usage and emissions.
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Basically, cruise control is a feature that maintains the speed of a car at a speed set by the driver without him needing to use the accelerator or brake pedals. This feature maintains the speed of the vehicle without any intervention by the driver. Through this feature, the car continues moving at the set speed without letting it increase or reduce the speed. This feature is now available even in the top versions of some of the affordable cars in India.
Essentially, cruise control is a feature that replicates the driver’s action of acceleration and braking to maintain the vehicle at the set speed. However, it does this without actually using the accelerator or brake pedals to maintain a constant speed. At first, this system made use of cables to control acceleration without manual intervention. The speed was adjusted by engaging the throttle through an actuator controlled by a cable. Depending on the speed set by the driver, the actuator adjusted the throttle position for required power and speed generation.
However, thanks to modern technology, cruise control systems are now fully electronic. Instead of any cable, the system governs the throttle through various sensors that are connected to the Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Hence, as soon s the driver sets a speed, the ECU calculates the throttle position that’s required to maintain the speed and controls the throttle wirelessly. This speed is maintained irrespective of the road conditions through adjustment of the throttle.
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Before you put the car in cruise control mode, do keep in mind that this feature is not meant to be used in adverse weather or road conditions. For example, it’s best not to use this mode in rain or low visibility. Basically, avoid using it when road conditions are not predictable. Here are the steps use cruise control in car-
Of course, the biggest advantage of cruise control in car is that it makes driving more convenient. But like many other features, it comes with its own set of pros and cons. Here are some advantages of cruise control in a car-
Let us now look at some disadvantages of having cruise control in car –
Can you install cruise control in a car? Well, the answer is yes as well as no. There are aftermarket cruise control kits available for old cars that don’t rely on an ECU to control the engine. However, the system doesn’t work as smoothly as it does on modern cars that come factory-fitted with it. Plus, installing an aftermarket cruise control system is near impossible in modern cars that rely heavily on electronics.
Fiddling with the electronics to install the feature in modern cars is not a simple task. Moreover, even if you get it right, it’s sure to void the car’s warranty. For all practical reasons, cruise control is something that should be installed at the time of manufacturing. What this means is that it’s best to buy a car with this feature than to plan on adding one later.
Many modern cars come with a more advanced version of cruise control that’s called Adaptive Cruise Control. As the name suggests, this feature can successfully adjust the vehicle’s speed automatically. It does it based on the speed of the vehicle ahead. It also helps in collision avoidance by reducing the speed or bringing the car to a complete halt based on the obstacle ahead. This works out to be a great feature to have on the highways or even during rush hour as it reduces driver fatigue by a huge margin.
Basically, this system lets you automatically maintain a safe distance from the car ahead without manual intervention. This distance is maintained even if the car up ahead continues to change its speed. This system is also a part of the Level 1 Autonomous Driver Assistance Technology. The system features a radar to calculate the distance and speed of the vehicle ahead. It then adjusts the throttle accordingly to maintain a constant distance from the vehicle up ahead. This feature is generally found only in premium cars but it’s fast tricking down to more affordable models.
The table we have below gives you a quick Adaptive Cruise Control vs Cruise Control comparison –
|Cruise Control||Adaptive Cruise Control|
|Maintains the speed set by the car’s driver.||Maintains a constant speed relative to the speed of the vehicles ahead.|
|It can’t maintain a constant distance with the vehicle ahead.||It can calculate the speed and distance of the vehicles ahead and maintain a constant distance from it by adjusting the speed of the vehicle.|
|Uses sensors to decide the throttle position to be used.||Uses radars to calculate the speed and distance of the cars ahead and maintains a speed accordingly.|
|Good option for high-speed driving on the expressways.||Can be used in city as well as on highways.|
|Now available in most cars except for budget models||Mostly available on premium cars only|
The basic difference between cruise control and speed limiter is that the former maintains a speed set by the driver. On the other hand, the speed limiter prevents the vehicle from going over a certain speed but it doesn’t maintain a speed set manually.
Cruise control is a feature that is fast becoming common. While it used to be on offer on premium cars, now it’s available even on more affordable models. Here’s the list of some popular cruise control cars in India.
Adaptive cruise control is something that’s still available mostly only on the costlier cars. Here is a list of some popular adaptive cruise control cars in India –
As you just read, cruise control is a great option to reduce driver fatigue over long drives. It’s also a good tool to help you avoid over-speeding. However, like everything, it comes with its own share of problems. The biggest issue is that it might lead to longer reaction times in emergency situations. This can even lead to accidents. Hence, the wise use of this feature is highly advisable. While the risk is reduced by an extent through the advent of Adaptive Cruise Control, this feature can still not replace manual control and judgement. Therefore, even though you can use the cruise control mode to improve your driving experience, we strongly advise you to be fully alert of the surroundings while using it.
No, it’s available either on costly cars or on the top-end variants of some of the affordable cars.
In theory, you can. However, it’s highly impractical and can cause permanent damage to your car’s electronics. It also voids the warranty. Hence, it’s advisable to refrain from aftermarket installation of this feature.
In most cars, the cruise control button can be found on the steering wheel. However, the exact location may vary between vehicles.
Yes, some manual cars come with the cruise control system. However, as they don’t have automatic transmissions, using this feature is often not too convenient.