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Cruise control is older than you think

In the world of motoring, everything that was once leading-edge technology eventually becomes standard equipment on even the most mundane of vehicles. So it is with cruise control, which is rapidly finding its way into cars as cheap and cheerful as the Kia Picanto, Holden Barina and Toyota Yaris.
 
Actually, "leading-edge" is hardly an apt description for technology that goes back a surprisingly long way. Its first appearance in a car was way back in the 1901 Wilson-Pilcher, but even further back in 1788 mechanical engineer James Watt invented a system that allowed steam engines to maintain a constant speed up and down hills.
 
So how does it work? Well over the years there have been various engineering approaches to the task. According to that font of all wisdom, Wikipedia, one early system invented by Ralph Teetor calculated vehicle speed from the rotations of the driveshaft and speedo cable then used a bi-directional screw drive electric motor to adjust the throttle position on the carburettor.
 

Engine management systems

Another approach used a vacuum powered throttle control with an electrically controlled air valve. The first purely electronic device to control speed debuted in 1968. Twenty years later Motorola developed the MC 14460 Automotive Speed Control Processor which could be integrated into modern engine management systems and electronic accident avoidance systems.
 
Cruise control systems variously take their speed signals from the rotating driveshaft, speedo cable, wheel speed sensor, from the engine's RPM or from speed pulses produced electronically. They then control the speed by pulling the throttle cable with a solenoid or a vacuum driven servomechanism. "Drive-by-wire" systems use the electronic system that's in the vehicle.
 

Adaptive Cruise Control

Adaptive Cruise Control is the next step forward in cruise control, allowing vehicles with cruise control to adapt their set speed by applying the brakes or speeding up to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front. It's very high-tech, the base technology for the future of intelligent vehicles, using radar, lidar (laser) and cameras to detect the movement of the vehicle in front. Vehicles with it are designated as Level 1 autonomous vehicles.
 
Mitsubishi was a pioneer of the technology, incorporating a lidar-based system into a vehicle as far back as 1992. The technology has come a long way since then, with some multi-sensor systems integrating GPS data so that the vehicle can respond to things like freeway ramps. Some even have cameras that can detect indicator or brake lights on the vehicle in front.
 
In the rapidly changing world of vehicle technology such high-tech systems are becoming increasingly common on every-day cars, making driving easier and the roads safer for all who use them. Keeping up with all that innovation is as simple as regularly updating your vehicle to one with the latest safety features. The ideal way to do that is through a Fleetcare novated lease which will not only keep you and your family safe on the roads but will save you money each pay day as well. For further information about the many benefits of a Fleetcare Novated Lease contact us today on 134 333.

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