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Cruise control (sometimes known as speed control or autocruise, or tempomat in some countries) is a system that automatically controls the speed of a motor vehicle. The system is a servomechanism that takes over the throttle of the car to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver.

The cruise control takes its speed signal from a rotating driveshaft, speedometer cable, wheel speed sensor from the engine’s RPM, or from internal speed pulses produced electronically by the vehicle. Most systems do not allow the use of the cruise control below a certain speed – typically around 25 mph (40 km/h). The vehicle will maintain the desired speed by pulling the throttle cable with a solenoid, a vacuum driven servomechanism, or by using the electronic systems built into the vehicle (fully electronic) if it uses a ‘drive-by-wire’ system.

AUTO-mate’s AUTOCRUIZE systems are capable of being turned off both explicitly and automatically when the driver depresses the brake, and also the clutch. Cruise control often includes a memory feature to resume the set speed after braking, and a coast feature to reduce the set speed without braking. When the cruise control is engaged, the throttle can still be used to accelerate the car, but once the pedal is released the car will then slow down until it reaches the previously set speed.


  • Its usefulness for long drives (reducing driver fatigue, improving comfort by allowing positioning changes more safely) across highways and sparsely populated roads. This usually results in better fuel efficiency.
  • A speed conscious driver has to spend much less time looking at the dashboard (to check speed), which makes for safer driving.
  • Some drivers use it to avoid subconsciously violating speed limits. A driver who otherwise tends to subconsciously increase speed over the course of a highway journey may avoid speeding. Such drivers should note, however, that a primitive cruise control may go over its setting on a downhill which is steep enough to accelerate with an idling engine.
  • The driver can keep the foot on the brake pedal, thus reducing the reaction distance and the total stopping distance.