Did You Know?
Ralph Teetor, the inventor of the modern-day cruise control, was a blind man. He created the device in 1945, but it was only made commercially available in 1958.
Most drivers avoid using cruise control because they feel that the car no longer remains in their control. However, those who are comfortable with its mechanism can't imagine long journeys without it. With gas prices on the rise, and consumers looking to try out any way that can help them save some money, using cruise control seems a viable option.
The technology of a centrifugal governor (regulator) with speed control was developed by James Watt and Matthew Boulton in 1788 to control steam engines. One of its earliest users was the automobile giant Peerless, who advertised that their cars would now 'Maintain Speed Whether Uphill or Down'.
The modern-day cruise control was invented by Ralph Teetor. He conceived this idea out of frustration after being driven in a car by his lawyer, who kept changing the speed as he talked.
As they require no attention from the driver, these systems are known to encourage highway hypnosis (an illusion in which the road moves while the car is stationary), and drivers who get too comfortable behind the wheel are highly vulnerable to bang into other cars or drive off cliffs.
The automobile industry at present is buzzing with the new Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system that uses forward looking radar to detect the speed and distance of the vehicle ahead of it.
Its basic functioning of maintaining a preset speed is similar to that of the traditional cruise control system. However, ACC can help alter the speed in order to maintain a safe distance between vehicles in the same lane. It also slows down the car if it detects any obstruction on the road.
In addition to cruise control systems, keeping the tires inflated, checking the alignment, regular servicing of the engines, smooth driving, and avoiding engine idling are some of the most recommended ways that help save gas.