Cars are becoming increasingly more comfortable, useful and safe to drive with the help of driver assistance features. One of the most notable, and arguably most helpful modern accomplishments is the development of adaptive cruise control.
With the ability to automatically adjust a car's speed to the traffic conditions to ensure that you remain a safe distance behind the car in front, adaptive cruise control is a technology that is ideal for many UK drivers and is becoming increasingly available in mainstream family cars such as MG ZS EV and All New MG HS.
What is adaptive cruise control?
Adaptive cruise control, sometimes referred to as ACC, is an intelligent form of cruise control that uses radar and cameras to automatically accelerate and brake to maintain a safe distance from the car in front. When the path ahead is clear, the car will continue at a pre-set speed. It has the capability to speed up if a slower car pulls over and can slow down if a car travelling at a slower speed pulls in front of you. Some adaptive cruise control systems can also take control in stop-start traffic jams and even read speed limit road signs.
What’s the difference between cruise control and adaptive cruise control?
First introduced on high-end models in the 1960s, traditional cruise control allows drivers to keep their vehicle at a set speed without having to keep applying pressure to the accelerator. This differs from adaptive cruise control as the vehicle moves at a set speed – rather than adapting to the traffic ahead.
How does adaptive cruise control work?
Adaptive cruise control works by using a laser, radar or camera system. This is usually mounted within the front of the vehicle and will constantly scan the road ahead for other vehicles and monitor their proximity to you.
Using adaptive cruise control will vary slightly depending on your vehicle. Usually, the driver will need to push a button to turn the system on – this will also activate a light on dashboard. You then simply accelerate to your desired speed and push the ‘set’ button.
Once you’ve set your speed, you can also set the gap you wish to maintain from the car ahead using the relevant buttons, which will either be given in seconds or metres, depending on your vehicle.
If the car in front of you slows down, your car will either slow down to maintain the gap you set, or alert you to apply the brakes – which then deactivates the adaptive cruise control system.
Alternatively, if the vehicle ahead speeds up suddenly, your car won’t necessarily follow suit. Instead, it will stick to the speed you have previously set, unless it catches up to another car in front.
What are the benefits of adaptive cruise control?
Adaptive cruise control is most beneficial on busy roads with a lot of traffic. Not only does adaptive cruise control react to your surroundings, it also means you don’t have to worry about stopping and starting in traffic jams as the system takes care of that for you, providing you with an extra layer of comfort and safety.
Convenience and comfort
On longer drives, adaptive cruise control can be very helpful and convenient. It allows you to relax slightly, can make your drive more comfortable in traffic and allows you to entrust some responsibility to your car.
Maintaining speed limits
When driving on the motorway, it can be easy to become distracted from the speed at which you are driving. Adaptive cruise control can keep you safe by allowing you to set a speed below the legal limit. Furthermore, it can be tempting to accelerate above the speed limit to reach your destination after a long journey, but adaptive cruise control will keep your car travelling at a constant speed within the legal limit, keeping you and your family safe.
Increase Fuel Efficiency
Our driving habits have a significant impact on our car’s fuel efficiency. When we are frequently adjusting our car’s speed, it can have an impact on the engine and fuel system, causing your fuel economy to worsen, ultimately costing you more. Adaptive cruise control is a great tool to keep the speed of your car consistent, only slowing or braking when necessary, avoiding fluctuations in fuel consumption.
For more information on driver assistance technologies, check out the safety section of our blog.More Articles