It's not quite "Open the pod bay doors, Hal," but we're getting there: Honda is offering a predictive cruise control system on the Exectuve Grade Honda CR-V in Europe starting this year. Advancing the capabilities of the present adaptive cruise control, the Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC) will be able to foresee and automatically react to other vehicles cutting in ahead of you up to five seconds ahead of it happening.

A research team developed the system after studying European driving patterns for years. The i-ACC keeps track of surrounding cars with a camera and radar, "evaluating relations between multiple vehicles" and running the data through an algorithm to figure out who's going to do what. If it detects another car about to move into your lane, the CR-V brakes softly and a dash light illuminates to let the driver know what's about to happen, then it brakes a little more firmly to keep the proper distance after the other car moves in.

Honda says it works in the UK and on The Continent because it knows which side of the road you're driving on. That means it could work here, but our guess is that it will take a while for that happen, our driving patterns being a little more erratic - and that's putting it kindly - than those of our Euro brethren. There's a press release below with more information.
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Honda to Introduce World's First Predictive Safety Cruise Control System

08.01.2015 - Honda is to introduce the world's first predictive cruise control system known as Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC), capable of foreseeing and automatically reacting to other vehicles 'cutting-in' to the equipped vehicle's lane. 

Based on extensive real-world research of typical European driving styles, Honda's Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (i-ACC) uses a camera and radar to sense the position of other vehicles on the road. It then applies an algorithm to predict the likelihood of vehicles in neighbouring lanes cutting-in by evaluating relations between multiple vehicles, enabling the equipped vehicle to react quickly, safely and comfortably.

i-ACC will make its debut this year on the new European CR-V*, building upon the traditional Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system. Traditional ACC systems keep a preselected longitudinal velocity, which is only reduced for maintaining a safe distance to a car in front. However, if a vehicle cuts-in from a neighboring lane, the traditional ACC system reacts later thus requiring stronger braking.

The new i-ACC system is able to compute the likelihood of a cut-in up to five seconds before it occurs, and is therefore designed to react very smoothly so as not to startle the driver, who might not yet be aware of the imminent cut-in. In this case the system applies just a mild brake initially, with an icon appearing on the driver display , informing the driver why a slow-down occurs.. It then proceeds to apply a stronger brake to adapt the velocity to keep a safe distance. Dr. Kleinehagenbrock, responsible for i-ACC at Honda R&D Europe (Deutschland) GmbH says, 'i-ACC takes cruise control systems to a whole new level, offering what we call 'predictive safety'.

i-ACC recognises the side of the road you are driving on whether in the UK or on the continent and automatically detects which neighbouring vehicle is the most critical to be aware of at any given moment.

i-ACC is the result of an in-house Research & Development project undertaken by an international Honda team in Europe and Japan, specifically designed for European roads. Research into driver behaviour to develop the algorithm was carried out across Europe.

Dr. Schmuedderich, responsible for i-ACC at Honda Research Institute Europe GmbH comments: "i-ACC is a significant breakthrough and a considerable further step towards a new generation of driver assistance systems that anticipate the behavior of other traffic participants."

*i-ACC will be available on the 2015 European CR-V, Executive grade only.

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