What is Intelligent Cruise Control?

Intelligent cruise control is a driver-assist technology that uses sensors and cameras to monitor the speed of your car and the distance between you and the car in front of you. If your car starts to go too fast or get too close to the car in front of you based on those parameters, it will automatically accelerate or decelerate as needed to bring you back into your set cruising speed. To understand how this works, let’s take a look at some examples of driver-assist technology:

What Is Traffic-Aware Cruise Control?

The first type of cruise control we’ll look at is known as traffic-aware cruise control, or TACC for short. TACC is actually a sub-feature of adaptive cruise control. In many cars, adaptive cruise control allows you to set a cruise control speed and it will maintain that speed automatically. So if the car in front of you slows down, your car will slow down, too. And if that car speeds up, so will yours. This is a great feature for long highway trips, but it doesn’t do any monitoring of the traffic up ahead. If you’re driving in a city with a lot of stop-and-go traffic, adaptive cruise control won’t be able to maintain your desired speed at all. That’s where TACC comes in.

Intelligent Speed Assist

With intelligent speed assist, your car will not only maintain the speed you’ve set but also apply the brakes or accelerate if needed to avoid potential collisions with other cars. If you’re driving in heavy traffic, you may find this feature especially helpful. Intelligent speed assist works by constantly scanning the road ahead for signs of slowing or stopped cars and calculating if you’re likely to collide with any of them. If your car comes too close to hitting something, it will automatically apply the brakes and bring your speed down. Depending on the car’s setup, you may be able to set the distance at which the car should start braking.

How Does Intelligent Cruise Control Work?

The way that intelligent cruise control works depends on the specific car you have. Generally, though, it uses sensors and cameras to monitor the distance to and speed of the car in front of you. If your car gets too close to that car, it will automatically accelerate to create some space between you. If the car ahead of you starts to slow down, your car will also slow down to create enough distance between you and the other car.

Pros of Intelligent Cruise Control

If you’re someone who has problems keeping a consistent speed, cruise control can be a lifesaver. However, if you’re able to maintain a consistent speed with your foot, cruise control can still be a useful feature. With cruise control, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to adjust your speed according to the road conditions. Cruise control can be especially helpful on long highway trips or when you have to drive in unfamiliar places where the speed limit isn’t immediately obvious. Cruise control can also help to reduce the amount of fuel your car uses if you don’t have to accelerate and brake as often.

Cons of Intelligent Cruise Control

Cruise control is a great feature, but it’s not perfect. Even with intelligent cruise control, you should still keep an eye on the road ahead and be prepared to apply the brakes manually if needed. If you happen to get too close to the car in front of you, cruise control may keep accelerating and not let up even though you’re trying to brake. If you’re not paying attention and the car in front of you comes to a sudden stop, you may hit the car in front of you even if you’ve set your cruise control to a safe distance. Cruise control is less effective in bad weather, when there are lots of stops and starts or in areas with lots of construction.

Bottom line

Cruise control is a useful driver-assist technology, especially on long highway trips or in areas where the speed limit isn’t clear. It can be helpful for almost any driver, but it’s especially helpful for people whose driving abilities are compromised in some way. Cruise control can definitely be worth it, but only if you pick the right system for your car and your needs. Before you buy, make sure to check that your car can actually be equipped with cruise control and that your cruise control system is actually intelligent.

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