A renounced Mechanical Engineer, Ralph Teetor, who became blind at the age of five, invented the cruise control or auto drive as some call it in 1948, His idea was born out of the frustration of riding in a car driven by his lawyer, who kept speeding up and slowing down as he talked, This rocking motion so annoyed Teetor that he was determined to invent a speed control device.
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Early names for his invention included “Controlmatic”, “Touchomatic”, “Pressomatic” and “Speedostat”, with “Speedostat” becoming the trademark name.
Cruise Control (sometimes known as speed control or autocruise, or tempomat in some countries)
How it works?
The cruise control is a system that automatically controls the speed of a motor vehicle. The system is a servomechanism(sometimes shortened to servo, is an automatic device that uses error-sensing negative feedback to correct the performance of a mechanism and is defined by its function, It usually includes a built-in encoder) that takes over the throttle of the car to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver.
Advantages of Cruise Control
Cruise control improves your comfort while driving.
You can comfortably take long road trips, or drive distances over 30 mph without putting strain on your legs through having to hold your foot in a set position for extended periods to manually control the gas pedal and speed. With cruise control activated, you can sit back, relax your right leg, and steer your vehicle. When you need to slow down or stop, simply tap the brakes to deactivate.
Cruise control gives you better control over your speed.
If you’re one who’s heavy on the gas pedal, or has a habit of speeding the cruise control feature can be your best friend. Activate this feature to maintain the speed limit, and avoid those expensive speeding tickets. It also prevents you from creeping over the speed limit accidentally. When the speed limits change, you can easily adjust your cruise control settings to match as long as it’s more than 30 mph.
Cruise control can improve your fuel consumption.
Keeping your driving speeds steady can help you save money on fill-ups. Most drivers are fairly inconsistent at maintaining a given speed, instead creeping up and drifting down as you drive along a road as you manually adjust relative to the speed limit and road conditions such as hills. Accelerating and braking continuously will use considerably more fuel than maintaining a set speed.
Cruise control can work to your advantage in a variety of ways. Be sure to read your car’s user manual for specific details on how to operate your vehicle’s cruise control feature. Also remember that when using cruise control, you won’t have to control your accelerator – but you still must control the brake pedal at all times. In addition, the brake pedal will disable cruise control, so be aware if the brake pedal is accidentally hit or pressed while driving.
However, cruise control can also lead to accidents due to several factors, such as:
- The lack of need to maintain constant pedal pressure, which can help lead to accidents caused by highway hypnosis or incapacitated drivers; future systems may include a penalty switch to avoid this.
- When used during inclement weather or while driving on wet or snow- and/or ice-covered roads, the vehicle could go into a skid. Stepping on the brake – such as to disengage the cruise control – often results in the driver losing control of the vehicle.
Many countries establish that it is illegal to drive within city limits with the cruise control feature activated.