Cars can think faster, smarter and with more precision than any other person, at least when it comes to routine driving tasks such as commuting in the morning. (They do not need any coffee either.) Recently, in a test of a Land Rover Discovery HSE from 2018, we discovered almost by coincidence that having a large SUV that controls your speed is a smart move, at least in most driving conditions.
Part of the reason has to do with where we drove – the crowded side roads of Atlanta at rush hour. If you've never ridden in this area – known for its spaghetti-like highways and jam-ups that can happen in the blink of an eye during lunch – it's a bit like an ant colony. You can eventually reach your destination, inch-by-inch, but it takes time.
In the Land Rover you can activate a speed limitation function, the so-called Adaptive Speed Limiter, which was formerly called the Intelligent Speed Limiter and can read the maximum speed of the traffic (with verification of the internal navigation system). It is useful for a very specific reason.
If you are not an eagle (or you are a little blurry in the morning), you may not notice any changes. You are rocked at a slow pace, and if the traffic jams decrease, you may not know what the posted speed is. In five or six cases over a few days, using this function meant avoiding a fairly general offense – not knowing that the limit was unnecessary and accelerated.
"The system is designed to help customers in areas where speed limits often change, but the use of the cruise control system is desirable, for example at long distances," said David Larsen, Jaguar Land Rover Product Planning and Launch Manager.
A cocoon of protection
On a road up to Alpharetta from Atlanta it was sometimes difficult to even see the limit. Curiously, the Discovery would suddenly reduce its speed after a new route or resume an earlier speed. It is first disturbing – the car behaves autonomously.
In some cases the adaptive cruise control could also be switched on (by limiting your speed based on the car in front of you and then accelerating again). It felt like a cocoon of protection.
This is exactly how robot driving works: control your speed on the basis of traffic and posted limits, but also read other signs on the road, for example a suggested maximum speed for curves, construction warnings and other notifications.
A traffic control center will one day optimize all traffic to prevent jamming, with each car being placed under the limit up to a few kilometers to prevent the bumper-to-bumper from being driven. In our case, the speed limiter was most important after entering a new highway without traffic jam and not seeing the posted speed.
Go to the extreme
However, speed restriction is not new. Ford introduced a speed-limiting feature in various brands and models that support Ford MyKey. Once programmed, you can limit the top speed of the vehicle. Even if you press the accelerator harder, it does not matter.
With the Discovery it is a small problem – there are times when you may want to go faster, although you can easily disable the function by clicking on the steering column. Do you ever need to accelerate? Maybe not unless you want to get out of the way of a reckless driver.
Overall, the feature is useful in traffic and may not be as convenient during a long drive when you can click on the desired speed and leave it there during the entire journey.
The more basic Land Rover Discovery costs $ 52,090 (about £ 40,000, AU $ 72,000); as tested, the Discovery HSE Luxury costs $ 67,490 (about £ 52,000, AU $ 94,000) with all technical bells and whistles.
On the road is TechRadar's technical eye on futuristic technology in today's hottest cars. John Brandon, a journalist who has been writing about cars for twelve years, puts a new car and advanced technology to work every week. One goal: to discover which new technologies will lead us completely driverless car & # 39; s.