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Cruise Control

Ralph Teetor

Ralph Teetor

Car And Us.com found the amazing story of the modern cruise control. Modern Cruise Control, also known as a speedostat

or tempomat, was invented in 1948 by Ralph Teetor, an inventor and mechanical engineer. His idea came out of the frustration of being in a car driven by his lawyer, who kept speeding up and slowing down as he talked.

Cruise Control is a system that automatically controls the speed of the vehicle. It takes over the throttle of the car to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver. The first car with Teetor’s system was the 1958 Imperial (called “Auto-pilot”) using a speed dial on the dashboard. This system calculated ground speed based on driveshaft rotations off the rotating speedometer-cable, and used a bi-directional screw-drive electric motor to change control position as needed.

Imperial 1958

Imperial 1958

Nowadays some modern vehicles have Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) systems. These systems can be automatic braking or dynamic set-speed type controls. The automatic braking type use either a radar or a laser setup to allow the vehicle to keep pace with the car it is following. Dynamic set-speed type uses the GPS position of speed limit signs, from a database.

Cruise Control Icon

Cruise Control Icon

Cruise Control brings advantages such as:

  • Reducing drivers fatigue in long drives;
  • Improving comfort by allowing positioning changes more safely;
  • Avoid subconsciously violating speed limits.

However it can be used incorrectly and so it can present some dangers, such as:

  • Speeding around curves that require less speed;
  • Rainy or wet weather can lose traction;
  • Movable land that can negatively affect the cruise control controls.

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