Car history: The cruise control was invented by a blind man


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Despite his unfortunate life, Raplph Teetor managed to create an invention that wrote his name in the vehicle industry and human history in general.

You would be surprised many times when you read about the inventor of the feature "Cruise Control", Ralph Teetor.

He was actually blind, long before he invented this feature. The story began when he was annoyed because of the constant speed change in his lawyer's car. This happened so frequently during the whole journey that he decided to do something about it. And that "something" has turned this man into a big name in the history of automotive industry.

It is also notable that the original name of the feature was not "Cruise control" but many other names like "Controlmatic" "Speedostat", and so on.

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Ralph Teetor and his friend

Despite his misfortune, he managed to invent a practical car feature we are using till date

Cruise control operating system

The word "cruise" in its name could be roughly translated to "speed" as the main function of the feature is to control the car's speed so that it would not exceed a predefined number in the system. It can do that by overriding the throttle when necessary so that the car wouldn't be able to rev up a certain speed.

1. The advantages

  • It raises the level of comfort

Driving could inevitably put pressure on your feet and legs as you'll have to constantly keep your foot on the gas pedal and also brake occasionally. It's probably okay if your trips are short but it can be problematic if the drive last for several hours. When the cruise control is employed, you don't need to keep your feet on the pedal anymore, as the Cruise Control will operate the mechanism and let your car run at the determined speed. The only thing left for you is to veer left and right. When necessary, simply brake to override this feature

  • It saves your money & life

Even if you think you're the driver with the best manner on the road, there's a slight chance that you would over-accelerate or break the speed limit sometimes. To reduce the risk of that happening down to zero, use the Cruise control. It will keep your vehicle running above the minimum speed requirement, such as in the highway, as well as makes sure you will never over-accelerate the acceptable threshold. Say goodbye to speed limit fines with Cruise control!

adaptive cruise control illustration

Modern cruise control with upgraded features

  • It improves car fuel economy

You probably know this already. Driving at a constant speed, not high or low, is the best way to save fuel. Constant change in the pace will confuse the fuel injector, sometimes makes it squirt more fuel than needed, thus lower the fuel efficiency. This is when cruise control comes in handy as it will guide your system at a constant, fixed speed.

You should refer to the manual to make better use of this feature before actually using it. Remember that though you don't always need the gas pedal, keeping your foot near the brake pedal is a must.

2. The disadvantages

Given those mentioned advantages, there are still some downsides to this feature. For one, when the driver feels as if his presence is less important, he could become absent-minded, while the car is still running at a fixed speed, leading to catastrophic accidents. This is especially pronounced in the highway when the road scene is repetitive which would likely put the driver into a sleepy state.

Another impending threat is when the driver tries to push the brake to override the feature while driving on wet roads, it could lead to uncontrollable veering. You can find a more detailed explanation for this issue in our previous article: Never use the cruise control in the rain. You are seriously risking your safety.

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