What is cruise control?

Cruise Control Tips

Long journeys are very tiring for the driver. The operation of the cruise control in the car easily solves this problem. It is designed to automatically maintain the set speed parameters without the participation of the driver. This system appeared in the late 90’s and was first installed on foreign cars Mercedes-Benz and Toyota. The speed sensor is easy to operate. It is in demand for long distance journeys. When driving around town, it can be turned off.

Types of equipment

Today, cruise control in a car is the norm. Models of these devices are constantly improving. Cruise classification is based on the following criteria:

  • by type of transmission: for manual and for automatic;
  • by the way the system is activated: passive and adaptive.

Drivers need to know that the principle of operation of cruise control of different types has no significant differences. Everything depends on the functionality of the device.

How the speed sensor works

Cruise Control

Deciding for yourself the question of what is cruise control and how it works, it is important to know the principle of operation of the device:

  • When the vehicle is traveling at a constant speed, the position of the accelerator pedal is constant. The activated cruise control sensor “remembers” the throttle position and maintains it.
  • If the throttle position remains unchanged when driving uphill, the vehicle starts to drive more slowly. The sensor microprocessor sends signals to the actuator to maintain the speed in the set mode, and the throttle position is corrected. Vehicle speed and fuel consumption automatically increase.
  • During descent, the vehicle is accelerated. The electronic cruise control device reduces speed, fuel consumption and the vehicle moves more slowly.
  • To cancel the set parameters, the driver only needs to press the brake pedal.

A minicomputer in the car to maintain optimum driving parameters is another answer to the question of what cruise control is. It constantly compares the driver’s actions with the signals coming to him and creates a certain algorithm of control of the vehicle.

Different types of cruise control

Cruise Control

Most experienced drivers do not wonder why they need cruise control. Being behind the wheel for 5-6 hours in a row and at the same time constantly pressing the gas pedal to provide the necessary speed, is not a pleasure. Developers of automobile models do everything to make the stay of the driver behind the steering wheel comfortable and safe. The operation principle of cruise control fully contributes to it.

Speed sensor on manual transmission

On these models of cars, the driver needs to shift into a low gear on his own when driving uphill. The brake will have to be applied during descent.

Speed sensor on automatic transmission

In cars with an automatic transmission, driving is automatically regulated. The servo adjusts the damper position and the speed is adjusted.

Adaptive cruise control

Cruise Control

The automatic transmission or variator are the main conditions for the installation of this type of device. The functionality of adaptive Cruise is extended:

  • automatic speed control;
  • ultrasonic radar and sensors to monitor the distance to the nearest vehicle;
  • braking.

When the device is activated, the driver does not need to press the accelerator pedal. The system provides the set parameters of speed and distance to the nearest car. Radar coverage is 150-200. In front of a stationary object the car stops. By pressing a special button the car movement is resumed.

Passive cruise control

This is a simplified version of the system. Its main parts:

  • The actuator to control the throttle;
  • ECU (electronic control unit);
  • speedometer;
  • gauges;
  • control keys.

Once Cruise is activated, the throttle actuator controls the throttle. It is important to note that the passive automatics is deactivated and has to be restarted when shifting gears.

How to activate the cruise control

Cruise Control

After asking what the cruise control is for, it is important to understand how to turn on the cruise control. Most car models have 5 buttons on the steering wheel to activate the system:

  1. On/Off – on and off (the electronics are only activated when accelerating up to 30-40 km/h).
  2. Speed fixer and its increase. After gaining the desired speed the driver fixes these parameters and releases the accelerator pedal. Each subsequent press increases the speed by 1 km/h.
  3. Resume – resumes system operation after emergency braking or acceleration. Pressing the gas pedal and brake pedal will reset the set parameters.
  4. Coast – speed reduction. Step – 1 km/h (or 1,5 km/h).
  5. Cancel – deactivation of the system.  

It is obvious that cruise control control is not difficult to control. The technology is useful and necessary and, nevertheless, the driver should be extremely attentive while driving.

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