('19+) Thoughts on adaptive cruise - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 04:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thoughts on adaptive cruise

Some thoughts on the adaptive cruise control, it's absolutely my favorite feature, but there are some caveats, in my opinion...

The adaptive cruise control works so well, it can be tempting to think of this as an autonomous or at least a semi-autonomous vehicle. I have been amazed to see the car slow down to a full stop behind a vehicle in front of me coming to a well controlled full stop, and then pick up and follow it when the car resumed progress [had my foot hovering over the brake pedal all the way tho ;-)].

But... however tempting it is to think so, this isn't a self-driving car, and you need to disengage cruise control before entering corners, and before entering town limits lest you find yourself traveling far too fast for the environment.

If you're initially following behind another car that's doing the right thing, it can be tempting to think your car "knows what to do", but it doesn't, it's just mirroring the sentient driver ahead, and your car will take off and go way too fast the moment they exit the lane in front of you. I think it's also prudent to disengage cruise when in thick aggressive traffic where people are cutting in and out between lanes or in stop and go traffic. I also like to run mine with a longer following distance to give more margin for system "thinking" and for my intervening if it makes a mistake.

This system is a great advance over old-style "dumb" cruise control and I am tickled to have it, but it's still just an advanced cruise control and it isn't foolproof. You need to be mindful of the system limitations and remain the executive in control at all times. There are some similar caveats in the manual, but these are my two cents! ;-)

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post #2 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 05:00 AM
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Safety wise, it's fantastic.
But in real world driving, I find it a bit of a PITA.
Driving on separated 4 lane highways (interstates), using it makes passing difficult and actually more dangerous.
As you approach a slower vehicle in front of you, even set to the minimum 1 bar separation, your car will begin to slow down.
In order to pass the slower car in front, you are forced to either pull out early to maintain your set speed, or deactivate the cruise temporarily in order to overtake.
If there is anything but very light traffic (rare), I just don't bother with the adaptive side of the cruise and more often than not use regular cruise.

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post #3 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 05:12 AM
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This is what I thought until I realized if I press the gas pedal it ignores the adaptive cruise and passes without slowing the vehicle. Once the pass is made release the gas pedal and adaptive cruise resumes. If you lift all the way off the gas pedal before switching lanes to make the pass then it will slam on the breaks making the pass dangerous.
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post #4 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 06:07 AM
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I know that will work.
What I don't like is that I have to start using the gas and anticipating and planning the pass way behind the vehicle I am overtaking.
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post #5 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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I actually haven't had any issues with it when driving on I-95 (limited access road with 4 lanes in each direction and usually moderate traffic in this area), whether sitting behind a car or passing. I pretty much drive with the automated cruise the same way I drive manually on I-95, and it hasn't been getting in the way. I do pay less attention to my speed with the auto-cruise. I used to try to drive exactly 75mph at all times, and was more active with changing lanes to pass to try to maintain that more rigorously. Now as long as I am not going too slow, I am more content to stay in my lane and let the system manage the fine points of throttle control.

Whether manual or auto-cruise, I tend to leave about 5-6 car lengths between me and the next vehicle, and when passing, I just look that it's clear to get into the faster lane to my left and do so when it's safe to move over. Then I'll just stay there until I get past the slower car or cars in that lane...with the exception of speeding up a little more with either the gas pedal or a bump of the cruise button to add 5mph to get past them sooner if a guy behind me is wanting to go even faster... seems to work okay for me so far, I haven't noticed anything in terms of danger or unusual braking or acceleration.

I have had a couple of concerning situations on Route 1, but those were due to slower cars merging in front of me in thick traffic, and my own car seemingly still tracking the car in front and speeding up before I intervened. I am going to use a longer following distance on Route 1 than I have been doing
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post #6 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 07:35 AM
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I know both of those roads, and strongly concur.

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post #7 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbird1 View Post
Safety wise, it's fantastic.
But in real world driving, I find it a bit of a PITA.
Driving on separated 4 lane highways (interstates), using it makes passing difficult and actually more dangerous.
As you approach a slower vehicle in front of you, even set to the minimum 1 bar separation, your car will begin to slow down.
In order to pass the slower car in front, you are forced to either pull out early to maintain your set speed, or deactivate the cruise temporarily in order to overtake.
If there is anything but very light traffic (rare), I just don't bother with the adaptive side of the cruise and more often than not use regular cruise.
Not sure if I can follow what's going on precisely, but if you approach a slower vehicle from behind, your car needs to either slow down or switch to another lane, no matter who's controlling it. If there's a big difference in speed, and you have it set for minimum following distance and try not to change lanes until you're right on top of the vehicle in front, then it would probably roar right up on the slower car and then need to brake suddenly. if this is what's happening, then I don't think it's a system malfunction, it's doing what you set it to do and dealing with the road situation that it's in.
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post #8 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 08:22 AM
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Thoughts? Not a fan at all. Same is true for all of the other supposed “driver aides”. Just a bit of false security in my opinion.

Driving a car is the most dangerous thing that any person can do. Yet we all do it everyday without much consideration of this fact. No ammout of computer wizardry is going to change this reality. Instead of relying on a digital nanny perhaps people should be properly trained on how to drive a car again.

I’d rather take my chances amongst average drivers who are in control of their vehicles versus a bunch of terrible drivers cruising blindly along in what they deem to be some sort of autonomous shuttle craft. Speaking in generalities of course.
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post #9 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 08:49 AM
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I am very much a driving enthusiast and enjoy driving myself but definitely will be looking to get adaptive cruise at least on the next late model car purchase I make. Especially for stop and go traffic (for those systems that can handle it). With any system you learn to understand it's limits and adapt accordingly. I absolutely do not subscribe to the theory that these technologies are detrimental to general driving safety. Bad drivers yes, technology no.

I've always looked forward to the day where in heavily congested areas - such as our local bridge tunnel system which is backed up for miles every single day, simply due to drivers slowing down for the tunnel - that cars will be autonomously forced through the tunnel at 75mph. Yes you and I may not be the cuplrits, but no amount of driver training will stop those prone to it from slowing down to 35 and backing up traffic for miles - despite the current "Maintain 55" signs posted all over the place which humans ignore. A so equipped autonomous system could get traffic through the tunnel faster and more safely then any mob of humans, at much higher density due to quicker and predictable reactions. This scenario is decades away since cars not so equipped will have to be outlawed from these areas. 2-3 decades at least maybe?

If you told me the same forced system would be implemented in a low congestion area, I would rally against this - I expect in our lifetime there will always be public roads we can DRIVE on!
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post #10 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbird1 View Post
I know that will work.
What I don't like is that I have to start using the gas and anticipating and planning the pass way behind the vehicle I am overtaking.
I don't think having three car lengths is, or should be, considered "way behind" when attempting a safe lane change at today's freeway speeds. I would normally be allowing at least this much distance between my car and the car I am passing anyway. I agree, however, that this can only be done on the open highway when you are not in congested conditions.

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post #11 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbird1 View Post
I know that will work.
What I don't like is that I have to start using the gas and anticipating and planning the pass way behind the vehicle I am overtaking.
So you're the ____ flying on my *** waiting til the last minute to change lanes.
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post #12 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 10:57 AM
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I’ve had a 2017XT and now an 18xt and I haven’t turned it on once.

I keep meaning to try it aha
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post #13 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbird1 View Post
I know that will work.
What I don't like is that I have to start using the gas and anticipating and planning the pass way behind the vehicle I am overtaking.
True but you have two options. 1) Anticipate the pass and switch lanes before your follow distance zone is entered to avoid the vehicle braking. Or 2) Press the gas pedal to enter inside the follow distance zone allowing a later switching of lanes without braking. But this will also require anticipation.

For this NOT being fully autonomous driving, I love how well the Subaru adaptive cruise control works. I've driven the entire East Coast, Canada to FL using adaptive almost the entire way. It's fantastic. The one thing I didn't like was how aggressive it accelerated after switching lanes or after the vehicle ahead moves over out of the way. To remedy this I lowered the cruise aggressiveness in the settings menu. It's almost perfect now. The only time on the freeway I drive manually is in bumber to bumper traffic jams because I can do a better job holding one speed to save gas and not be at mercy of the erratic accelerating driver ahead.
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post #14 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PearlWhite View Post
True but you have two options. 1) Anticipate the pass and switch lanes before your follow distance zone is entered to avoid the vehicle braking. Or 2) Press the gas pedal to enter inside the follow distance zone allowing a later switching of lanes without braking. But this will also require anticipation.

For this NOT being fully autonomous driving, I love how well the Subaru adaptive cruise control works. I've driven the entire East Coast, Canada to FL using adaptive almost the entire way. It's fantastic. The one thing I didn't like was how aggressive it accelerated after switching lanes or after the vehicle ahead moves over out of the way. To remedy this I lowered the cruise aggressiveness in the settings menu. It's almost perfect now. The only time on the freeway I drive manually is in bumber to bumper traffic jams because I can do a better job holding one speed to save gas and not be at mercy of the erratic accelerating driver ahead.
Thanks for that, PearlWhite - I already like the way it works on I-95 just fine. On Route 1 though, which has much thicker traffic and a lot more dynamic lane changing going on by aggressive drivers, along with people entering and exiting the roadway from the shops lining the road, it hasn't been 100%. If there's a setting in the main info screen to reduce the aggressiveness of throttle used when changes occur, that would be just the ticket for Route 1 :-).
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post #15 of 88 (permalink) Old 03-03-2019, 02:59 PM
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On the Interstates I set it at 5 above the speed limit and go with the flow. My eyes and my foot are always at the ready, just in case.

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