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Cruise Control
A vehicle sensing objects in front of it in order to slow down or speed up.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Today’s robots and cars in particular have the ability to perform many automated movements. Some cars can park and even drive themselves. Many new vehicles and self-driving cars have Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). This feature sets the vehicle at a certain velocity and uses sensors to determine if it should slow down or speed up depending on the objects in front of it. How is this helpful? The faster an object is moving, the more momentum or energy it has. So, colliding with objects like other cars is dangerous. Let’s say you are driving on the highway and you set your ACC to 65 mph. Your car will drive at 65 mph until it needs to change its velocity. If a car in front of you suddenly uses their brakes, your car will be able to sense the car slowing down in front of you and also slow down so that you do not crash into them. When the car in front speeds up, your car will speed up. When the road starts up a hill, the car will speed up in order to maintain the 65 mph that you set.

Elevators are another example of robots that need to change velocities in order to function properly. Can you imagine stepping into an elevator and it immediately started going up or down at its max velocity? You would probably fall over! Elevators must start and end at a lower velocity to ensure the safety of its passengers.