Adaptive cruise control is a relatively new technology being developed by a couple of companies. This technology can be seen on some of the more upscale cars. This system uses a forward facing radar that is installed in the grill of a car to determine the speed and the distance of the car that is ahead of it.
What It Is
The adaptive cruise control technology is very similar to the conventional cruise control system that has been around for years as it helps maintain the speed of a vehicle. However, the adaptive cruise control system adds the extra ability to be able to maintain the appropriate distance between cars that are in the same lane. This is done by using a digital signal processor, radar headway sensor, and a longitudinal controller. If the car in front of the vehicle slows down or the car senses another object in front of it, the cruise control will send a signal to the braking system or the engine to slow down. Once the road in front clears again the car will accelerate back to the speed it was set to.
Types of Adaptive Cruise Control
There are two main types of adaptive cruise control systems being developed. The first is the laser based system, which is the cheaper of the two. The main problem with this type of system is that it does not detect other vehicles very well during storms or other adverse conditions in the weather. The laser system also has trouble detecting cars that are dirty or non-reflective. This type of system has to be located on the outside of the vehicle and is usually places on the lower part of the grille.
The radar based sensor can be installed behind plastic bumpers, but the bumper may look slightly different than a vehicle that does not have this device.
The single radar system is currently the most common type of adaptive cruise control system. If more than one sensor is used then they are typically similar hardware.
Vehicles that Offer Adaptive Cruise Control
The first car company to offer the laser based adaptive cruise control system was Mitsubishi in 1995. Toyota was next with a more refined system released in 2000. The Acura, in the United States was the first to introduce the adaptive cruise control that was integrated with the collision mitigation braking system.
Currently, there are several models of cars that offer the adaptive cruise control system. Some of the vehicles that have this type of system available include the BMW, 5, 6, and 7 series from 2007 and later, Mercedes Benz, 2011 models of the Volvo S60, 2011 + Audi 8, and the 2010 Panamera and the 2011 Cayenne by Porsche.
There are several other vehicles that date back to the early 2000s that have the option of a partial cruise control that will cut off below a minimum speed that is set and requires the driver to intervene. The adaptive cruise control is sure to be seen on many new cars coming out on the market as well.
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