If you have experienced adaptive cruise control or have followed a vehicle on adaptive cruise control some aspects of "how it works" surely captured your attention. Especially compared to the classic "old school" cruise control.
In our case it was "You can set the cruise at xxx kph, and the vehicle will slow by itself, if the flow no longer permits the set speed".
With all the talk on self driving vehicles adaptive cruise control evolves into a different thought process as being a component of "self driving"....a different perspective. Its not just the cruise control, but how the vehicle would possibly drive itself with the cruise control as a component.
Some of the stuff we see on TV is perhaps slightly idealised.
Through the years we have always had unique and memorable experiences with Suburbans, this time was no different, we had a 2015 Chevrolet Suburban LTZ with adaptive cruise control, and a roas trip on the 401 heading east then west on the return.
We travelled at least 800 kilometers on with the adaptive cruise control dealing with a variety of traffic situations. As you probably know some of these systems are more refined than others.
From our perspective the system in the Suburban is leading hedge.
Our impressions in no particular order:
- This Suburban is a supreme highway cruiser smooth, effortless, good passing power.
- Fuel economy...not so bad considering the size and frontal area.
- We set the cruise at xxx kph as expected the Suburban will scrub of speed, or accelerate.
- It will brake quite aggressively if a vehicle pulls in to the space (distance).
- Stepping of the gas overrides the braking feature.
How do you the driver and road reality interface with adaptive cruise control:
- You set the speed and distance from the vehicle in front of you.
- The vehicle in from will control your speed agenda...if you permit it to do so.
- Passing must be done prior to reaching the set distance.
- You will quickly scrub off speed and continue cursing at the speed of the vehicle in front.
- You still have to make your way through lane congestion the cruise control has no understanding of alleviating lane congestion.
- Accelerating with the gas pedal negates the braking feature.
- If you accelerate to a higher rate of speed to improve your road position the cruise control will apply the brakes once you stop accelerating.
Its a new way of driving with the cruise control, once you grasp the operation of the adaptive cruise control in some ways its easier since the distance from the vehicle in front is set and the Suburban keeps the distance, even if a vehicle cuts in.
At the same time managing your speed requires constant attention, its very easy to scrub off speed due to the vehicle in front.
Are self driving vehicles around the corner:
- From a technology perspective, yes they are.
- Dealing with road reality still requires a good level of human involvement / intervention.
- Self driving vehicles promote a higher level of distraction.