The simple name is somewhat misleading. In addition to keeping the car a set distance from the car ahead in traffic, Audi's adaptive cruise takes into account topography, curves, and speed limits. Pass a speed limit sign and the set speed will reset it to match. Or when traveling on a winding road, the car will slow appropriately for the slower corners. With a navigation destination set, it will even slow the car so you can make the turn without hitting any pedals. It's currently available on the Audi A4 sedan and Allroad as well as the Q7 crossover, and will be optional on the upcoming S4, A5/S5, and Q5 and other future Audi models.
Audi's advanced cruise system beat out two other finalists in the feature category, Jaguar's Activity Key and the Cadillac Rear Camera Mirror. To us, the Audi system represents a bigger step forward and a greater impact on safety. It will also inform future full-autonomous features and marks a step in that direction.
For more on our 2017 Autoblog Technology of the Year awards, including the winner in the car category, check out our awards page.