The march toward autonomous cars continues apace: The 2014 Chevrolet Impala offers full-speed-range adaptive cruise control that can handle stop-and-go driving situations such as toll booth lines, according to General Motors.
The GM press release said the Impala’s adaptive cruise control works like most other vehicles’ adaptive cruise systems. You can set one of three following distances you’d like to maintain, with each distance interval growing as you pile on speed. As we’ve experienced before, such adaptive cruise systems are a good way to avoid getting yourself into dicey cruise control-enabled situations on the highway. Unlike any adaptive cruise system we’ve experienced, however, GM says the 2014 Chevrolet Impala’s can handle stop-and-go driving situations such as waiting in line at a tollbooth.
Of course, now is where you cue the corporate lawyers who encouraged GM to say:
Adaptive Cruise Control still requires the driver to pay careful attention to traffic and road conditions and override the system when necessary by manually accelerating and/or braking.
GM said it partnered with the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute in 2005 to study use of adaptive cruise control at speeds above 25 MPH, with results leading them to consumer-ready adaptive cruise setups like the one offered on the 2014 Malibu.
General Motors and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute conducted a large field test in 2005 in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, using Adaptive Cruise Control at speeds above 25 mph.
“Results indicated that brake-apply rates were 25 times lower under freeway conditions relative to manual driving,” said James Sayers, a research scientist in the institute’s Human Factors Group. “These results suggest that Adaptive Cruise Control can substantially reduce the workload and stress associated with the everyday task of car following.”
The release said should you slack off and not pay adequate attention in line at the tollbooth, optional Forward Collision Alert can help warn you when you’re approaching someone too quickly from the rear. And if you opt for the ACC Package, you get Collision Imminent Braking, which will automatically pre-brake the car if you fail to respond to the Forward Collision Alert signal in a timely manner. There’s also Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Vision Camera, and Ultrasonic Rear Park Assist to help you avoid banging up your new Impala.