It was around the time I had my car getting an oil change. I needed a rental car and was given a Toyota Corolla. As a man who likes using cruise control, I set the cruise control and was on my way. It was only when I noticed later a car in front of me started to reduce the speed that my car was also slowing down. Surprisingly, this $20,000 car had adaptive cruise control.
I am a big fan of adaptive cruise control. Thanks to Mercedes-Benz back in 1998 with Distronic; their cars could monitor the cars in front of them and speed up or slow down depending on the cars in front. Throughout the years, adaptive cruise control has become a pivotal role in making semi-autonomous vehicles. Although this technological invention has trickled down from $100,000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans to $20,000 sub compact cars, not all adaptive cruise control systems are the same.
Let’s go back to that Toyota Corolla. That cruise control system would shut down under 25 mph and could not be started back up again until you hit the same speed. Some adaptive cruise control systems such as Tesla with their Autopilot and Mercedes-Benz with Distronic + can fully brake the vehicle as well as start it up again. Going from one vehicle such as a Mercedes to a Toyota with their different adaptive cruise control systems does take some getting used to.
Even though adaptive cruise control systems seem the same, there can be differences in how they work. Take for example how the systems work. While Mercedes-Benz uses radar sensors to scan the road, Subaru uses dual color cameras in their EyeSight system. Some other systems include laser based systems and cameras.
Sometimes, adaptive cruise control is bundled in technology or safety packages with features such as lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring. Oddly enough, the Corolla comes standard with these key features while premium brands may cost upwards of $11,000 just to get adaptive cruise control.
So it’s like what people in the automotive industry say: “if you want to see what technology will be in common cars in 10-15 years, take a look at the Mercedes S-Class”. Even if not all adaptive cruise control systems are equal, they are an excellent addition to any car. Not only does it help to make a car safer but easier to drive.
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