Active Cruise Control

Many new drivers are apprehensive about driving safely on the freeway but with Active Cruise Control (ACC), it becomes less bothersome. ACC uses forward detecting radar that maintains the desired speed and keeps a preset distance to any vehicles nearby while on the road. This system is also called Adaptive or Radar Cruise Control.

How ACC works?

The ACC has the ability to detect or monitor any vehicle in front within 600 feet distance. Once it detected a vehicle, ACC can adjust the speed in order to maintain it at a preset distance behind the other vehicle especially in poor driving conditions like foggy and rainy weather.

Another important work of ACC is to measure distance as a function of speed and to monitor traffic ahead the moving vehicle.

ACC can also activate when speed is fast or slow as the vehicle gets closer to the front vehicle.

What are the characteristics of ACC system?

The ACC has the following features:

    • Radar headway sensors. These are found in a vehicle’s front part. They monitor or scan the road for any vehicle ahead and for the traffic as well.
    • Preset distance. As the vehicle gets closer to  another vehicle ahead, the ACC automatically reduces speed relative to the preset distance to the other vehicle. The distance is measured in seconds to a safe reaction time in connection to current speed.
    • Cruising speed. The ACC automatically increases to preferred speed when the road clears. There are four types of cruising speed that can be preset or adjusted and just a touch on the brake pedal or accelerator can immediately deactivate the system.
    • Steering wheel/multi-functioning steering wheel. The radar sensor works all-year round. On cold weather, it is heated automatically. The ACC is efficient and functional for speed above 30 km/h and below 180 km/h on all weather type. A paddle on the steering wheel or a button on the multifunction steering wheel controls the speed.
    • Digital signal. The system is not for autopilot. If beyond the speed and when deceleration is necessary, the driver will immediately be warned by a cautionary red signal on the control display. Simultaneously, if the driver needs to apply brake urgently, then the distance between the brake pads and the disc are also reduced.

How the ACC system began?

The pioneer in laser-based ACC system was Mitsubishi with the manufacture of Japanese Mitsubishi Diamante. The system was then known as “Preview Distance Control” although it didn’t apply the brakes and featured throttle control and downshifting in order to control speed.

Toyota’s Celsior also introduced “Radar Cruise Control” in August 1997. It improved the system by including “brake control” in 2000 as well as a “low tracking mode” in 2004. The latter was designed to warn the driver that the vehicle ahead had stopped and for the driver to apply brake.

An improvement in 2006 was introduced by Toyota’s “all-speed tracking function” for the Lexus LS 460 model. A continuous control in speed ranging from 0 km/h to 100 km/h is maintained. It worked perfectly for repeated starting and stopping in most congested highway traffic. It was actually the Lexus division which introduced ACC to the US in 2000 with its Dynamic Laser Cruise Control installed in LS 430.

In the late 1998, Distronic was introduced by Mercedes Benz but later on redefined in 2006 as “Distronic Plus” which completely halts a vehicle when needed. This system was offered on E-class ans S-class luxury sedans and was also used by Bosch as “ACC Plus”.

There were other companies who developed and offered the ACC system. In 1999, Jaguar had the system. In 2000, BMW’s system were sold on their 7-series and in 2007, the company added “stop and Go” system to the 5 series. In 2002, Volkswagen and Audi introduced their own Autocruise system.

Acura was the first to offer Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) in the US. It was integrated with another system, Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS) in the 2006 Acura RL model as an optional feature.