Adaptive cruise control

How this technology works

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is an advanced cruise control system that can also keep a set distance behind another vehicle. A sensor in the front of the vehicle monitors the distance and relative speed of a vehicle ahead. The ACC system then adjusts vehicle speed to maintain a driver-selected cruising speed and minimum following distance. If the ACC system detects that the vehicle in front is slowing quickly or if another vehicle cuts in front from another lane, the system automatically applies limited braking and may alert the driver with a warning light or sound. When not following a vehicle, the ACC automatically accelerates the vehicle to the speed the driver has chosen.

More advanced systems will slow the vehicle all the way to a stop in stop-and-go traffic and automatically returns to the set speed when traffic gets moving again.

Adaptive cruise control

A car uses sensors to measure its distance from a slower vehicle in front. Its speed adjusts to match the speed of the other vehicle. When the slower vehicle exits the highway, the car goes back to its set speed.


  • Drivers set desired speed and following distance (close, medium or far)
  • Standard ACC systems ranges of operation vary by manufacturer

Other names for this technology

  • Active cruise control
  • Automatic cruise control
  • Cooperative adaptive cruise control
  • Distronic Plus
  • Intelligent cruise control
  • Radar cruise control
  • Smart Cruise Control
  • Traffic Aware Cruise Control

Things for drivers to keep in mind

  • These systems are designed to help you drive. They don't replace your attention and judgement
  • You can accelerate or brake at any time, like with standard cruise control
    • This may override the system and require you to turn the system back on
  • You may need to brake to avoid a crash if the vehicle in front brakes sharply or a slower moving vehicle cuts in front
  • The system may not respond to stopped vehicles
  • Adaptive cruise control should only be used on highways, and not urban roads

You should read your owner's manual to learn about your vehicle's system, including its capabilities and limits