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adaptive cruise control in traffic Q&A Review

Do electric vehicles have cruise control?

My Tesla Model S does. And it’s wonderful. When using cruise control on my Tesla, there is no shifting down to go up a hill or any lugging of the engine before it shifts (it never shifts gears). It’s just smooth constant cruising at the speed you set. Note, I do not have Autopilot (adaptive cruise control) on my car, but I have driven one that does. It is even more amazing since it will keep pace with traffic.

Is it likely that present cars with ABS and cruise control, will be able to be converted to automatic braking and adaptive cruise control resonably in 5-10 years?

Adaptive cruise control is a radar that goes in the front of a car and is used to create a cruise control based on the flow of traffic in front of the car. This tech is about 10 yrs old and can be bought off the shelf. To implement it you need to have access to the ecu and that requires vehicle integration. This will still be the case in 5 yrs.

How dangerous is it to sleep while your Tesla self-drives?

To safely drive while asleep requires a Level 4 Autonomous car. The Tesla Autopilot function is about Level 2. Level 0: Automated system issues warnings and may momentarily intervene but has no sustained vehicle control. Level 1 ("hands on"): The driver and the automated system share control of the vehicle. Examples are systems where the driver controls steering and the automated system controls engine power to maintain a set speed (,Cruise Control,) or engine and brake power to maintain and vary speed (,Adaptive Cruise Control,or ACC); and ,Parking Assistance,, where steering is automated while speed is under manual control. The driver must be ready to retake full control at any time. ,Lane Keeping Assistance, (LKA) Type II is a further example of level 1 self-driving. Level 2 ("hands off"): The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, and ,steering,). The driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to intervene immediately at any time if the automated system fails to respond properly. The shorthand "hands off" is not meant to be taken literally. In fact, contact between hand and wheel is often mandatory during SAE 2 driving, to confirm that the driver is ready to intervene. Level 3 ("eyes off"): The driver can safely turn their attention away from the driving tasks, e.g. the driver can text or watch a movie. The vehicle will handle situations that call for an immediate response, like emergency braking. The driver must still be prepared to intervene within some limited time, specified by the manufacturer, when called upon by the vehicle to do so. Level 4 ("mind off"): As level 3, but no driver attention is ever required for safety, e.g. the driver may safely go to sleep or leave the driver's seat. Self-driving is supported only in limited spatial areas (,geofenced,) or under special circumstances, like traffic jams. Outside of these areas or circumstances, the vehicle must be able to safely abort the trip, e.g. park the car, if the driver does not retake control. Level 5 ("steering wheel optional"): No human intervention is required at all. An example would be a robotic taxi. Therefore it is extremely dangerous to sleep or even be distracted while driving a Tesla. Some have paid for it with their life. At this time the Tesla Autopilot is only an advanced cruise control.

As a mechanic, what is the most common thing you see car owners doing wrong?

Please please please, if you bring your vehicle in for a service/ MOT/ repair/ whatever, empty out your belongings, especially in the boot. You won’t be happy when you find yourself changing your wheel at the side of a busy road to find you’ve got no air in your spare, or your locking wheel bolt is missing, or any other piece of equipment is missing. We check your spare and all the tools that come with it on a service, and if we can’t get to it we’re not going to waste our time moving all your dog toys, baby supplies, tool box, work folders, etc. out. Also if you’re having a pollen filter on most cars the glove box needs removing to get to it, again it’s a hassle to move your tissues, old receipts, and CDs. Also, not saying they will, but what’s to stop your mechanic pocketing something valuable from your car. With our vehicles we have 3 different settings for tyre pressures, part-load, full-load, and one has an ‘i’ symbol next to it, indicating to check the owner’s manual; this setting is for increased comfort, the information in the owner’s manual states this setting will increase your fuel consumption. It can also wear the tyres down unevenly. If you don’t know what it does or it doesn’t work as you expected it to, consult your owner’s manual first: 8 out of 10 “faults” can be solved by explaining to the customer how something works. “My revs increase when I’m idling at traffic lights, mainly when I switch on my air con…” Your vehicle has smart idle, the more consumables you switch on such as air con, lights, heating, heated seats etc. the more electricity the vehicle needs, so it increases the engine speed to turn the alternator faster, or the auxillary belt (which the air con pump works off) more. “Cruise control doesn’t slow my car down on hills.” It won’t, it can only maintain your speed, it can increase engine speed to pull you up hills but it cannot apply the brakes to slow you down on hills. For this you’ll need a vehicle with adaptive cruise control (ACC) or hill-assist. It even says in a big orange box in the manual “cruise control does not slow the vehicle down on hills”. I could go on. Edit: A lot of comments are saying that cruise control can slow your car down on a hill. I've never driven an automatic with cruise control, only manual which will just allow the car to run on unless the driver touches the brakes. The automatic cars I've driven either don't have anything or they have ACC. This is my lack of knowledge of other brands of vehicle, so I apologise for the confusion. My understanding of the brand I work with is that cruise control only operates the throttle, it can accelerate and decelerate to maintain speed but cannot work the brakes so going downhill it would just naturally increase speed. Hill assist controls the brakes on hills to help maintain speed. And ACC can control both acceleration and brakes whether going uphill or downhill, and the front sensor can pick up objects and other vehicles and slow down and speed up based on what's happening infront of it. I hope this helps to clear any confusion and I apologise for my ignorance.

Do you trust using cruise control?

I don’t drive very often, but the last car I rented (over a year ago) had adaptive cruise control. I couldn’t figure out how to set it on the way up to where I was going, but got the hang of it on the trip back. The first half of the trip is on a road with very light traffic and a 100 kph speed limit. The second half was on a road with very heavy traffic and the same speed limit. I figured I could set it and then brake if necessary. It turned out not to be. I found the adaptive system braked faster and smoother than I possibly could. It was a breeze for the first half as it rarely had to slow down when someone passed me (I set it for the speed limit, no faster) and on the heavily trafficked road it was a pleasure to just keep my eyes on the road instead of the speedometer in heavy traffic while keeping my foot in a comfortable position in case I had to hit the brake.

How could a self-driving car or adaptive cruise control ease traffic jams?

Self-driving cars can alleviate congestion in a few ways. Ideally the cars can communicate for the best results. 1) No need to stop at traffic lights Stopping traffic is a major cause of congestion creating large clumps of cars. Self driving cars know their position and velocity, so they can calculate when they will enter and exit an intersection, and ideally communicate it to others coming to the intersection. If two cars are calculated to collide, you just need reduce or increase the velocity of one of the cars so they don’t collide. No need to stop! 2) Smooth flow and minimum safe spacing There is a sort of accordion effect that happens when people brake. Particularly when they are too close. Ever come to a traffic jam only to discover there is nothing holding everyone up? This is because of the chain reaction braking causes. Self-driving cars more accurately know when braking is required and manage it to avoid stops. There is a similar effect when lanes merge. I think we can all agree humans aren’t great at spacing themselves out and merging efficiently. Here’s a cool video showing the effect adding self-driving cars can have, and how even a few self-driving cars can improve the situation. And the original article in Science, but the video has and ad first ,:-( Watch just a few self-driving cars stop traffic jams 3) Leave when you need to, and know when you’ll arrive. Another benefit that may have a small impact, by better spacing out traffic over time, is the ability to leave exactly when you need. If you’re not driving and everything is managed by the cars, you don’t need to worry about being late because of traffic congestion. You are just along for the ride, so enjoy! Or, use the time to talk, work, or even sleep! It’s kind of like riding the bus or a train, but you end up exactly where you want instead of a station! I hope those help!

Why are adaptive cruise controls and other automation in cars not programmed to 'see' traffic signals? Would this not eliminate the running of red stop lights?

Why are adaptive cruise controls and other automation in cars not programmed to 'see' traffic signals? Would this not eliminate the running of red stop lights? Absolutely. The problem is that we have crammed surroundings of our streets with so many other stuff that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between traffic lights and some other lights. And let’s not forget - autonomous system have to work 100%. ,In all conditions., In 99% OK and 1% failure is not an option. And that’s hard.

What is the brutal truth about owning a Tesla car?

After saving for almost ten years, I finally got my ModelX a year ago. Her name is Joule. It is the BEST car I’ve ever had. That said, there was a learning curve and the only constant is change. You have to be flexible. It is cutting edge technology that is constantly being updated and improved and there are little bugs sometimes. Running on electric only can be nerve wracking but you learn to plan and Superchargers are common enough you can go almost anywhere in the US. I have done several road trips and although you have to plan a few extra hours to charge, it really tends to work out well because there is almost almost always good shopping/food walking distance from the Superchargers. The Supercharger infrastructure is constantly improving. Most TESLA owners I have met are genuinely nice people who love their cars, technology, and the Earth. The car is MOST efficient when driven responsibly (reasonable speed, turn radius, using regenerative braking vs. the brake pedal, accelerating normally from a stop). I have however, had the pleasure of opening her up on a NASCAR track and it was both exhilarating and terrifying. The raw power of 100% torque is simply incredible. The stability of the low center of gravity due to the battery pack in the chassis made it hug the curves very well. I do have the autopilot hardware and programming. Many people mistakenly think the car drives itself. This is NOT true (although the goal is to get there). It basically has adaptive cruise control (holds the lane and adjusts speed with traffic). This makes driving in traffic or on long trips MUCH easier but you must remain diligent and pay attention as the technology is not yet perfected.

Is adaptive cruise control a game changer for people regularly stuck in stop and go highway traffic?

Full radar adaptive cruise control that works down to stationary is great. I have a VW Golf with such a system. Unfortunately, mine doesn’t want to accelerate hard enough, so it’s not entirely feet-free, but it works well enough that I don’t have to concentrate much on speed and distance, and instead look at the traffic. You do have to watch for the cars ahead of the one the radar is tracking slowing suddenly, because the radar can’t see them and won’t anticipate.

Why is the world moving away from things that last for a long time?

Because the trend of technological advancement keeps accellerating and there’s nothing that can be done about it. The world is still full of technology that’s unnecssarily wasteful, but it still in use because, technically “it still works”. If I delivered a brand new powerful computer to your house and you saw this when you booted it up…. You would be rightfully upset. And it’s only 19 years old. Lots of people alive today thought XP was the bee’s knees when it was released, but now it’s a relic. And manufacturers have trouble keeping up with the curve because it takes time to implement new technology. When it is implemented, it’s clear it’s superior to the old technology it replaced. I don’t drive much and, as such, when I do rent a car, it takes me a while to get used to it. A few years ago it was the fact that the trunk didn’t have a key (it’s a button on the fob). More recently, I was driving a Mini and it “stalled”. It hadn’t - it had shut down the engine while I was stopped in traffic, which saves a lot of gasoline. Most recently, I had a car with “adaptive cruise control”. Once I figured out how to use it, I found it was much better at adjusting the speed of my car in traffic. I set it, let it handle the speed, and focussed on driving. So, yes, you can keep using your smartphone for five years and swap out the battery when it goes bad, but why would you? Your new smartphone will be better in every way. When my old phone was low on a charge, it took hours to recharge it. My new phone takes about a half hour. That’s likely to improve again in the next iteration.

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