Mercedes-Benz's new cruise control system goes beyond regulating speed and braking. The system, called Predictive Powertrain Control, reduces fuel consumption by using GPS technology to shift a transmission based on the topography ahead. Mercedes says it’s the first system to link GPS and gearbox shifting together.
Currently offered in the Mercedes-Benz Actros big-rig truck, Predictive Powertrain Control is said to increase fuel efficiency by three percent, making it an attractive feature for companies looking to reduce their fleet’s average fuel consumption. The system also features an EcoRoll function, which can automatically perform a single or double downshift.
Mercedes first offered a GPS-based cruise control system for its Freightliner trucks back in 2009, but it only regulated speed and not the transmission.
It's unclear whether Mercedes-Benz plans to use Predictive Powertrain Control in its passenger cars, but Honda is currently researching its own intelligent cruise control system aimed at reducing fuel consumption and traffic congestion. Honda’s system is programmed to smooth out accelerating and braking in traffic in order to avoid the ripple effect that causes congestion. Honda claims the system will increase the average speed of traffic by 23 percent while reducing fuel consumption by eight percent.
Would you welcome either advanced cruise control system on a U.S.-spec passenger car?