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Driving a semi-truck isn’t exactly easy. There’s a lot to manage when you’re hauling 80,000 lbs of cargo at highway speeds. But many cars are seeing advances in technology, with upgrades to their cruise control systems and safety technology. But does that technology also transfer to semi-trucks?

Driver sitting inside semi-truck
Driver sitting inside semi-truck | Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Do Semi-Trucks Have Cruise Control?

The short answer is yes, most semi-trucks do have cruise control. Even older semi-trucks with a manual transmission have some cruise control capabilities. But unlike cars, you can’t just “set it and forget it.” Manual semi-trucks with cruise control will need driver input for hills and speed changes. But having a cruise control system in a semi-truck doesn’t just make sense, but it’s more efficient.

Semi-trucks are governed to a certain speed, sometimes it’s 65 miles per hour, other times its 70 miles per hour. That doesn’t mean that’s the truck’s top speed though, it’s just limited, so in order to maintain that speed, you have two options. You can either keep your foot pressed on the pedal, or you can engage cruise control and let the truck do the work.

By using cruise control, you don’t have to constantly press your foot to the floor, which saves a bit of fuel. Provided, semi-trucks aren’t fuel-efficient vehicles, but when a trucking company is paying for gas, every mpg counts.

However, that’s not where semi-truck cruise control ends. As technology evolves, newer trucks are being fitted with more advanced features.

Do Semi-Trucks Have Adaptive Cruise Control?

Parked semi-truck
Parked semi-truck | plus49/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

For some more modern trucks, yes. Adaptive cruise control is slowly being implemented into semi-trucks to make the trucker’s job a bit easier. That doesn’t mean the tech is streamlined yet, but many higher-end trucks from Freightliner or Volvo are integrating the technology.

Adaptive cruise makes a lot of sense on semi-trucks, as semi-trucks have larger blind spots right in front of them. If a car cuts too close, sometimes truckers can’t see it. If the semi-truck itself can step on the brakes, that’ll help prevent deadly accidents.

Some semi-trucks even have lane keep assist mixed in, making vehicle operation even easier. After all, it’s hard to stay centered in that big of a truck. That said, the tech isn’t perfect. Sometimes semi-trucks will see bridges and mistake them for cars, slamming hard on the brakes. But those technological mishaps are rare.

How will semi-truck technology continue to evolve?

Tesla semi-truck
Tesla semi-truck | Tesla

Semi-truck technology has certainly evolved through the years, but it’ll continue to get better. With electric and hydrogen trucks on the way, the industry will eventually go greener. But there are more advanced technologies just around the corner.

Autonomous semi-trucks sound like science fiction. But in reality, autonomous semi-trucks are among us. It’s a slight step above the lane to keep assist/adaptive cruise control, as these new trucks don’t need any human intervention at all. And these new trucks have traveled thousands of test miles to make sure these semi-trucks work properly. But while the technology is budding, we’re still a long way from truck drivers being outsourced.

For now, truck drivers get the benefit of cruise control, making their lives a little easier with every mile.


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