Adaptive Cruise Control - Feature Explained

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is an advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) that is revolutionising the way we drive, especially on highways. It offers a more relaxed and comfortable driving experience by automating some aspects of speed control. But is ACC effective on the often-chaotic Indian roads? Let's delve into the details to help you decide if it's a worthwhile feature for your car.

Adaptive Cruise Control

What Is Adaptive Cruise Control Work?

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is an advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) that automates some aspects of speed control on your car.  Imagine you're on a highway;  with ACC engaged, you set your desired cruising speed.  The car's sensors then monitor the vehicle in front of you and automatically adjust your speed to maintain a safe following distance.

ACC uses a combination of radar or camera sensors to detect the car in front of you and maintain a safe pre-set distance. Here's a breakdown:

  1. Set Your Speed: You choose your desired cruising speed using the cruise control buttons.
  2. Sensor Detection: Radar or camera sensors in the front of your car continuously monitor the distance to the vehicle ahead.
  3. Automatic Speed Adjustment: If the car in front slows down, ACC automatically reduces your speed to maintain the set distance.
  4. Resuming Speed: Once the car ahead speeds up and a safe distance is re-established, ACC accelerates your car back to your desired cruising speed.

Pros Of Adaptive Cruise Control:

  • Reduced Driver Fatigue: Long highway drives can be tiring. ACC helps by managing the cruising speed and reducing the need for constant pedal adjustments, promoting relaxation.
  • Improved Safety: By maintaining a safe distance from the car ahead, ACC can help prevent rear-end collisions, especially in stop-and-go traffic situations.
  • Enhanced Comfort: ACC allows for a smoother driving experience, especially beneficial for long journeys.

Cons of Adaptive Cruise Control:

  • Limitations on Unfamiliar Roads: ACC might struggle on Indian roads with sudden lane changes, erratic driving behaviour, and large vehicles like trucks or tractors. It's crucial to stay alert and ready to take manual control.
  • System Dependence: Overreliance on ACC can lead to complacency. Drivers must remain attentive and prepared to intervene in unexpected situations.
  • Cost Factor: Cars equipped with ACC are generally more expensive than those without it.

Adaptive Cruise Control

How Does Adaptive Cruise Control In Cars Work?

ACC relies on sophisticated sensors positioned at the front of your vehicle. These sensors can be either:

  • Radar: This technology emits radio waves that bounce off the car ahead. By measuring the time it takes for the waves to return, the system calculates the distance to the preceding vehicle. Radar works well in most weather conditions, including fog and rain.
  • Camera: A camera system captures real-time video footage of the road ahead. Advanced image processing algorithms then identify the leading vehicle and determine its distance and relative speed. Cameras might struggle in low-light conditions or with heavy dust/smoke.

The data received from the radar or camera is fed into the car's ECU, the electronic brain. This unit continuously analyses the information:

  • Current Speed: It monitors your car's current speed using the wheel speed sensors.
  • Distance to Leading Vehicle: The sensor data provides real-time information on the distance between your car and the vehicle ahead.
  • Pre-Set Speed: You set your desired cruising speed using the cruise control buttons.

Based on the information processed by the ECU, the system takes action to maintain the desired speed and distance:

  • Maintaining Speed: If the road is clear and the distance to the leading vehicle is sufficient, the system allows the engine to maintain your set cruising speed.
  • Slowing Down: If the car in front slows down or the distance starts to decrease, the ECU instructs the engine to reduce power output or even engage the brakes gently to maintain the pre-set following distance.
  • Resuming Speed: Once a safe distance is re-established with the vehicle ahead, the ECU might increase engine power or disengage the brakes to accelerate your car back to your desired cruising speed.

Additional Features:

Some advanced ACC systems might incorporate additional functionalities:

  • Stop and Go Capability: In certain models, ACC can even bring your car to a complete stop in heavy traffic and resume driving automatically when traffic starts moving again.
  • Lane Centering Assist: This feature, often paired with ACC, can help keep your car centred within the lane markings using steering inputs.

Cars With Adaptive Cruise Control In India

While not as widespread as in developed markets, adaptive cruise control is becoming increasingly available in India. You can find it in a range of cars, starting from around Rs. 15.0 lakh for sedans and SUVs like the Honda City, Hyundai Verna or MG Astor, to more expensive models like the Mahindra XUV700 and Tata Safari.

What Is The Cost Of Repairing Adaptive Cruise Control

ACC is a complex system with sophisticated sensors and electronics. Repairing a malfunctioning ACC system can be expensive, depending on the nature of the fault. Consulting authorised service centres is recommended due to the delicate calibration required for optimal performance.

Verdict: Is Adaptive Cruise Control Worth It in India?

Adaptive Cruise Control offers undeniable benefits for highway driving by reducing fatigue, enhancing comfort, and potentially improving safety. However, its effectiveness on Indian roads can be limited due to unpredictable traffic behavior.

Here's a quick guide to help you decide:

  • If you frequently drive long distances on highways: ACC can be a valuable feature for a more relaxed and comfortable driving experience.
  • If you primarily drive in city traffic: The limitations of ACC on busy roads might make it less worthwhile.

Ultimately, the decision depends on your individual driving needs and budget. Consider your driving habits and weigh the pros and cons before deciding if ACC is the right fit for your car in India.

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Nikil Jonathan

Nikil's a huge fan of classic cars, especially Italian beauties such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint and the Iso Grifo. His love for cars and bikes originated when he first laid his eyes on a poster of the Ferrari F40 and the MV Agusta F4 when he was just a child. He also loves all things analogue, especially vintage cameras and turntables.


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