What is Cruise Control in cars?

cruise control

How does Cruise Control Work?

The Cruise Control is a system capable of automatically maintaining the desired speed (i.e., speed set by the driver) without pressing the accelerator pedal. This system is beneficial while driving at a constant speed as it significantly reduces driver fatigue.


The system uses many components for its operation. They are:

  1. Steering Wheel Controls
  2. Vehicle speed sensor
  3. Clutch pedal switch
  4. Brake pedal switch
  5. Throttle position sensor
  6. Vacuum valve control
  7. Vacuum actuator
  8. ECU

Working of Cruise Control:

After attaining the desired speed, the driver can activate this system with the help of steering-mounted controls. Usually, manufacturers provide buttons named ON, OFF, SET/ACCL. However, they vary broadly from manufacturer to manufacturer. For example, the ON and OFF buttons are for activation and deactivation, respectively, while the SET/ACCL button helps set the required speed.

Cruise Control Unit in Toyota Camry
Cruise Control Unit in Toyota Camry

But, the vehicle must attain that speed before setting. Thus, the system comes to know the vehicle’s speed from the speed of the driveshaft. Alternatively, it takes the input from the wheel speed sensors and sets the throttle fixed at that location. In addition, the manufacturers mostly prefer vacuum-operated actuator mechanisms to hold the throttle in position.

Almost all cruise control systems get disabled as soon as the driver touches either the brake or the clutch pedal. Manufacturers program these systems in such a way that they turn ‘OFF’ upon human intervention.

Cruise Control components
Cruise Control components


  1. This system helps improve driving comfort on long journeys as there is no need to press the accelerator pedal.
  2. It reduces driving fatigue to a great extent.
  3. It improves the fuel economy of the vehicle significantly.


  1. This system is not helpful in heavy traffic conditions with varying speeds.
  2. Its inability to recognize the road surface may lead to skidding on wet or icy surfaces.

Please find additional information on the subject here.

Watch Cruise Control System In Action Here:

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