Adaptive Cruise Control and other hazards
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  1. #1
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    Default Adaptive Cruise Control and other hazards

    Have just returned to Oz after a week's driving around Colorado in a rented 2019 Subaru Outback. Given that my usual drive is 34 years older, there was a lot to like in the Subaru's effortless driving.

    However, its "adaptive cruise control" struck me as seriously flawed and I wonder if other modern cars don't have the similar dangerous behaviour.

    I was driving along a state highway with cruise control set at the 65mph limit and there was a car about 100m ahead. That car started indicating, then pulled into the turning lane, then braked to make the turn. The Subaru braked quite hard to match, though I was continuing on the highway, not turning off. The car ahead had done everything right, but the adaptive cruise control was confused by this perfectly ordinary situation. If there had been someone on my tail, they'd have had fair cause to be angry. Really scary is the thought that, if it can get the wrong target so easily, what's to stop it mistakenly targeting a car coming the other way (on a bend or whatever).

    I looked up the owner's manual to find out the mystic incantation to disable the "adaptive" part (which involved holding down a particular button for a couple of seconds). That made for happier cruising, but I needed to do it each time I started the car. It defaulted back to the risky one.

    The car also had a "lane departure warning", which was often confused by Colorado's ice-damaged, snow-plough-scraped road surfaces. Didn't find a way to turn it off, but its beeping every now and then was a minor irritant. More worrying is that the car had "lane-keep assist", where it would take over steering to keep you in what it reckoned was the lane. Fortunately, you needed to enable that with a button-press. I didn't, thanks all the same.

    These features use feedback from a pair of forward-facing optical cameras on either side of the interior rear-view mirror. Might be neat features 99% of the time, but until that's 100%, the car would be safer without them.

    I doubt it's just the Subaru. Cars do "keep up with the Joneses", so I'll bet recent offerings from our Froggy marques offer similar features. Have they managed to avoid similar surprises?

    Have fun,

    Rob.

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    Default Adaptive Cruise Control and other hazards

    I find the adaptive cruise in a 3008 GT-Line works really well. It identifies when cars change lanes in front of you well, and it will slow to increase the gap, pretty much the same way I would if doing it myself. If it does brake, it does it very gently. It also accelerates back up to speed in a moderate fashion - it doesnít stamp on the throttle, but at the same time itís not too slow to pick up the pace.

    The lane keep assist is ok, but it tracks the edge of the lane, not the centre so whilst the system forces you to hold on to the wheel (as it should!!) my aim is for lane keep assist to never kick in. I guess itís designed as a last resort rather than a semi-autonomous driving aid.

    The only thing I donít like about cruise on modern PSA cars is the location of the stalk. Yes, you get used to it but itís not intuitive at first.

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    I must be getting old as those sort of interacting things do concern me, especially if the car decides to "take control" well after I have assessed and corrected or not for a driving hazard, in my own reckoning, quite disconcerting. Sure I could get used to it like adaptive braking, but the first time it shows its head, that really alarms me.

    How are the young drivers of today going to adapt and develop their own driving skills and coping strategies, otherwise it is roll on technology and "In God we trust, all else is the cars fault"!

    Setting us up to accept autonomous driven cars. Ah the Future..

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    Default Adaptive Cruise Control and other hazards

    I see adaptive cruise as improving on the weaknesses of normal cruise. All it does is match the speed of the car in front of you, or drives at the speed you set. As it has the ability to brake, it also means it doesnít overrun on hills, which is another annoyance of normal cruise.

    All in all, itís an aid, and nothing more. I find it makes highway driving much easier as all you need to do is focus on whatís ahead outside, not your speed.

    It canít take control, and anything you do will override it, just like normal cruise.
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    Need to change to a Volvo, their system works a treat

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    Thanks for the replies. I quite liked the Subaru's adaptive cruise control until that first incident -- but it took only about an hour and a half's driving before it happened.

    Being a computer programmer myself, I have a healthy respect for how difficult seemingly simple problems really are. That definitely includes "matching the speed of the car in front of you". "Matching speed" isn't too hard (typically a PID algorithm), but "the car in front of you" is not easy at all -- picture being in the middle lane of a 3-lane road as it goes around a bend and/or cresting a hill. Then have another three lanes coming the other way. Then add in lanes coming to an end and accomodating merging traffic. Etc. Ideally, your car has to constantly anticipate which way the road is going and re-evaluate which car is going to end up in front of you. Not terribly hard for an attentive human, but for a computer -- I'm not all that surprised that there are unexpected stabs of the brakes.

    Pleased to hear that Volvo has done it well, but a quick search shows that at least Ford and Tesla have their problems with adaptive cruise control. From that Tesla article, perhaps all I needed to do was give a quick tap on the accelerator to say "I am aware -- don't bother braking", then again maybe it wouldn't have worked. That we should need to learn the quirks and workarounds for the car's "intelligent" systems suggests those systems aren't all that smart after all.

    Anyhow, a toast to the self-driving car future. May it stay in the future until it's as humdrum as a ride in an elevator.

    Have fun,

    Rob.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeKa View Post
    I see adaptive cruise as improving on the weaknesses of normal cruise. All it does is match the speed of the car in front of you, or drives at the speed you set. As it has the ability to brake, it also means it doesn’t overrun on hills, which is another annoyance of normal cruise.

    All in all, it’s an aid, and nothing more. I find it makes highway driving much easier as all you need to do is focus on what’s ahead outside, not your speed.

    It can’t take control, and anything you do will override it, just like normal cruise.
    Adaptive cruise control is the item responsible for the constant, annoying, unexplained application of brake lights in the car/s in front of you. As you say, they don't alter the throttle position but simply apply the brakes, even when a car is slowing in a different lane. The system does not have the anticipation or distinction that a driver would. I drive using my non-adaptive cruise control's + and - buttons to control the distance between my car and the one in front and rarely need to use the brakes on the highway.
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    I first experienced both is a Mondeo lease car a couple of years ago, then lost it with its replacement Everest, but got it back with its replacement Everest. I'm a chassis engineer at Ford so am lucky enough to change over cars every 9 months.
    I found it very easy to get used to the adaptive cruise and lane keep, and have ensured the wife's new Focus coming next week has it all too. They can make driving much easier, but they are driver aids, they don't drive the car. The cruise can be tricked by oncoming traffic around a corner and slow down, and the lane keep will stop if you are persistent in physically saying no to it.
    The lane keep on a Ford is one button on the end of the indicator stalk, cruise through the menus.
    Would not buy a new car without both. Am sure some do it better than others.

    Sent from my SM-G973F using aussiefrogs mobile app
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    Quote Originally Posted by driven View Post
    Need to change to a Volvo, their system works a treat
    Why?

    DeKa has already made the case for the Peugeot 3008 being a good system. And if Peugeot got it right in one model, then the chances are that they got it right in other models as well.

    (Note that I didn’t say ‘every’ model.)
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    All this stuff is very dangerous and has the added effect of dumbing down drivers, no thanks.
    I managed to stop right on the edge of a huge vertical sided watercourse across a gravel road the other day. Caution boards had been moved to one side and it was dusk so hard to see. If I had had ABS there was no way the car would have stopped in time and I would now be dead or in hospital.

    A few years ago we were driving on a track with muddy patches, for no reason the traction control on the Discovery completely cut the power in a patch of mud, giving us no control, the car spun through 180 and collected some salt bush. May have been a lot worse if there had been trees on the side of the road.


    Autonomous Emergency braking on a Subaru Outback recently slammed the brakes on for no reason now and then, how the hell is that safe?

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    All this stuff is very dangerous and has the added effect of dumbing down drivers, no thanks.
    I managed to stop right on the edge of a huge vertical sided watercourse across a gravel road the other day. Caution boards had been moved to one side and it was dusk so hard to see. If I had had ABS there was no way the car would have stopped in time and I would now be dead or in hospital.

    A few years ago we were driving on a track with muddy patches, for no reason the traction control on the Discovery completely cut the power in a patch of mud, giving us no control, the car spun through 180 and collected some salt bush. May have been a lot worse if there had been trees on the side of the road.


    Autonomous Emergency braking on a Subaru Outback recently slammed the brakes on for no reason now and then, how the hell is that safe?

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    Graham, if the ESP or ABS activate in the Koleos, I recognise I'm nearly at the limit. ESP may have saved my bacon a couple of times on dirt in the bush over 10 years. Because of that, I won't deactivate it, as I could. You can't get rid of ABS and why would you? The system on the Koleos activates at about the same time I as a driver am thinking about modulating my brake pressure, it does it seamlessly, each wheel independently and regardless of the surface I'm on. I suggest you buy a car like the Koleos with a particularly good ABS + ESP system instead of whatever inferior piece of crap you are currently driving!
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    Quote Originally Posted by driven View Post
    Need to change to a Volvo, their system works a treat
    Don't judge the technology by driving just a Subaru (it's a pretty primitive version).

    The Volvo is a good example of a top level system. It doesn't just use a camera, it uses forward facing radar, Camera and Lidar and uses all 3 to make a decision and this stops a lot of false activations.

    Our roads need to be better designed to take advantage of the technology as the road network is the biggest thing holding back current vehicle automation in Australia. For example we have speed limit signs on the back of trucks and buses (100 and 40). When vehicles drive past these they detect the speed limit sign in the correct format and may think that this is the new speed limit, on a fully autonomous vehicle it will change speed to suit. Not the fault of the vehicle, it's read a valid speed sign and will always accept the lower speed of the options available.
    Another good example is the tar joins on the M2 (Sydney) which are also a problem on a lot of other roads. The tar joins in certain light get read by the cameras as road markings and you get a lot of false activations of the lane departure warnings and it may try and pull you out of the lane. Again, not the fault of the vehicle, it s the fault of a road network that isn't ready for higher levels of automation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ausmbtech View Post
    ... not the fault of the vehicle, it s the fault of a road network that isn't ready for higher levels of automation.
    That would be fair enough if these features were government requirements, but they're not. As it is, the above defence reminds me of a computer programmer blaming the user for not using the software correctly when, in truth, it's that the software is not fit for purpose.

    What would be the cost/benefit of making our roads "ready for higher levels of automation"? Will the people who pay be the people who benefit?

    I'd prefer we held off until they have some sort of fully autonomous vehicle worked out and then build an entirely separate network for them. As I hinted earlier, such a network will probably be lifts that have escaped the building, but provide an equally unexciting journey from point to point. Gone will be the thrills of the current automations.

    Have fun,

    Rob.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAHAM WALLIS View Post
    All this stuff is very dangerous and has the added effect of dumbing down drivers, no thanks.
    I managed to stop right on the edge of a huge vertical sided watercourse across a gravel road the other day. Caution boards had been moved to one side and it was dusk so hard to see. If I had had ABS there was no way the car would have stopped in time and I would now be dead or in hospital.
    Many years ago I live on a property (which many of the Sydney froggers came to) with a 50 meter + concrete driveway perpendicular to the road. The last 10 meters or so were unsealed with a few potholes and a random surface of dirt and gravel.

    One night a mate of a mate was driving me mad with his authoritative opinion on everything, so I invited him into my Laguna 1 to show him something.
    Took off down the driveway as fast as the 2litre donk could go, and by the time the car reached the dirt bit, we had accumulated far more speed than was comfortable, knowing that we were heading towards a blind intersection with bugger all room left to stop, with only a rough dirt patch to adhere to!! Old mate would have felt like he was with a psychopath at this stage.

    AT the dirt, stomped the brakes fast and we both strained into our seatbelts as the car pulled up hard in a load of dust, ABS working overtime and pulling us up right as our nose edged the roadway.

    Silence.......

    "right, lets try that again in the Fuego with no ABS" I proclaimed excitedly

    Old mate didn't get in a car with me again, nor did he carry on about ABS either!!


    Jo

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    Quote Originally Posted by jo proffi View Post
    Old mate didn't get in a car with me again, nor did he carry on about ABS either!!
    Perfectly understandable!
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    Default Adaptive Cruise Control and other hazards

    This review is similarly complementary of PSAís Adaptive Cruise implementation (at least on the EMP2 platform like 5008, 3008 and 308):

    Code:
     I loved the cruise-control system, too, which accounts beautifully for right-lane imbeciles who canít keep left when theyíre not overtaking. Just select your speed on the highway and worry about positioning the GT in the lane. You can select the distance to the car in front, too, and it maintains the chosen speed even on long downhill sections.
    https://www.caradvice.com.au/792716/...308-gt-review/

    Like I said earlier, I see it as an improvement to old school cruise in that it doesnít overrun down hills.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeKa View Post
    This review is similarly complementary of PSA’s Adaptive Cruise implementation (at least on the EMP2 platform like 5008, 3008 and 308):

    Code:
     I loved the cruise-control system, too, which accounts beautifully for right-lane imbeciles who can’t keep left when they’re not overtaking. Just select your speed on the highway and worry about positioning the GT in the lane. You can select the distance to the car in front, too, and it maintains the chosen speed even on long downhill sections.
    https://www.caradvice.com.au/792716/...308-gt-review/

    Like I said earlier, I see it as an improvement to old school cruise in that it doesn’t overrun down hills.
    Nice write up, but my only concern is that dumb driver cruise if relied upon exclusively takes all the expertise out of driving and if it went wrong or conditions changed outside its parameters to capture the change a driver could be in the poo quickly and not have those basic driving skills to cope and then panic. Trap for older driver and young drivers perhaps.

    I know that at certain times in my driving experience the things that keep you alert and attention on your driving is extremes and yes speed when rarely required, keep you on the edge of the seat in anticipation of all the things that "might" eventuate. If dumb driver lulls you into a false comfort zone - perhaps your driving alertness might also "zone out".

    The downhill speed adjustment in the Laguna requires great attention as it does freewheel and gains speed on cruise control, whereas in the Diesel Megane the cruise control seems spot on uphill and down dale and in our speed crazy speed trap state dollars mentality, it keeps you from inadvertently infringing by drifting above the speed limit, and I am not one that likes to contribute to state coffers in that way - aversion for that !!

    So I guess it is what you get used to and hopefully it wont be the cause of some bad habits for drivers that will of course only speed up the calls for more totally in control driverless cars and trucks - I sort of wonder where we are going so fast to taking away jobs that some enjoy. But then the compromise is to still have the person with the vehicle in control, a useless exercise as things will still go wrong in bigger end better ways and you are paying for someone to doze in a delivery vehicle. Modern times.

    Ken
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    I have no idea about cruise control. I have never owned a car with it, so have never tried it. My Xantia had the "silly spring" replaced with an appropriate length of conduit. The brakes are just a valve with about 1cm travel. They are deadly if you come from another vehicle, but I love them. Under normal driving conditions the brake pedal is below my right foot on the accelerator. To brake I just swivel the heel and gently apply some pressure. No car I have owned has ever had that brake/accelerator relationship.

    I am still a proponent that in a life or death situation, there three actions that can save you. The steering wheel to point you to a safer area, the brake to stop you short of a collision (or reduce the speed to limit the damage) and the accelerator to accelerate the car out of the way. Which solution or combination is used is up to the driver, but I would rather have my foot near the speed/brake solution rather than languishing on the floor because the cruise control was set.

    My bane on the road is "thumb-in-bum, mind-in-neutral" drivers concentrating on their in-car phone conversations which may be hands-free but don't aid in their concentration of the job at hand. This can be exacerbated by dark window tinting that obscures my view through their windows at the traffic in front of them.

    It seems more and more that driving has gone from being a set of skills that one could be proud of having accumulated, to being a disinterested occupant in the drivers seat of a car that is expected to work out things for itself.

    John
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    Quote article:
    I loved the cruise-control system, too, which accounts beautifully for right-lane imbeciles who can’t keep left when they’re not overtaking. Just select your speed on the highway and worry about positioning the GT in the lane. You can select the distance to the car in front, too, and it maintains the chosen speed even on long downhill sections.

    I don't get how it "accounts beautifully for right-lane imbeciles .....", does this mean it just slows you down to the same speed if you weren't concentrating on the road ahead? I thought this was a problem with adaptive cruise, that you suddenly realize you are doing 10 km/h less than before as you slow down to his speed - although you would feel the car slow if you have any feel for the car at all.

    Is there something else?

    (I agree the later cruise controls with controlled descent on hills is a good improvement. Love cruise control, its one of those things you think is a gimmick until you've used it for a while, then you can't do without it - well, I can't anyway - but I do keep an eye in front for slower drivers and just change lanes as necessary - no drama).

    Cheers.
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    Agree - I use cruise very regularly on our cars that have it. The Mondeo's is really good (older 2010 model non-adaptive). I'd install factory cruise on the 206 if I could.


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuey View Post
    Agree - I use cruise very regularly on our cars that have it. The Mondeo's is really good (older 2010 model non-adaptive). I'd install factory cruise on the 206 if I could.
    Agree Stuey it is a real "wallet protector" in this state!

    ken

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego View Post
    Agree Stuey it is a real "wallet protector" in this state!

    ken
    I have always taken the view that a job well done should be rewarded. I have been an avid contributor to the State's coffers by rewarding bored traffic police doing their onerous job by stopping, having a chat and agreeing to sharing my money with them.

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    I rewarded them to the tune of $800 last year and they still weren't satisfied - they also had the temerity to take my licence away for four months. But that was in the 206 - see, no cruise control....


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuey View Post
    I rewarded them to the tune of $800 last year and they still weren't satisfied - they also had the temerity to take my licence away for four months. But that was in the 206 - see, no cruise control....
    Ouch. Not only is it difficult to keep to low speed limits in modern cars without a lot of concentration (looking at the speedo instead of at the road, you might argue) but many WA roads don't have very many speed signs to remind you what the speed limit is on that particular section of road.

    I use cruise control a lot in the Scenic and had one fitted to the Xantia many years ago. I found it made for much safer, more relaxed driving. It works well in WA without too many hills of course.

    The Xantia brake pedal configuration was just fantastic and I've never found anything to match it either.

    We've just been in Austria with a hire VW Golf with modern cruise control, and the limiter on over-speeding and on cars slowing down ahead was just great in moderate traffic on main roads. It didn't do anything stupid but we only drove 1500 km or so and therefore not all the potentially stupid or strange things would have happened in front of us in that distance.

    As an aside the Golf was a good cruiser but the turbo diesel engine was a great disappointment with no torque below 2,000 rpm, and I mean NO torque. Not very good in city traffic unless you kept the revs up, and this a diesel!

    Cheers
    JohnW

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