Volkswagen's adaptive cruise control system attempted to accelerate one owner's car to 100 miles-per-hour in a 30 zone, report says

A Volkswagen logo mounted on the front of a Tiguan during final assembly at a factory in Germany.
A Volkswagen logo mounted on the front of a Tiguan during final assembly at a factory in Germany.Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • Two Volkswagen Tiguan owners told the Times of London about problems with adaptive cruise control.

  • "I thought the car was trying to kill me," said one man, whose car tried to accelerate to 100 miles-per-hour.

  • Volkswagen is currently facing a lawsuit in Missouri over its front assist braking feature.

A Volkswagen driver's car attempted to accelerate up to 100 miles-per-hour in a 30 miles-per-hour while its driver was using its adaptive cruise control technology, The Times of London reported.

Laurie Kenny, a retired university lecturer from East Yorkshire, England, told The Times that he had set up the adaptive cruise control in his VW Tiguan, and was returning home down a street with a speed limit of 30 miles-per-hour. But the car mistakenly registered this as 100 miles-per-hour, and began accelerating.

"It took off like a bat out of hell," he told the newspaper. "I was scared to death. I thought the car was trying to kill me."

Another Tiguan owner, Nick Croft, told The Times that his car slammed on the brakes on one 60 miles-per-hour road, because it thought the speed limit was actually 30 mph. Croft also saw the cruise control accelerate up to 110 miles-per-hour while driving down the M5 freeway, where the speed limit is 70 miles-per-hour — the maximum in the UK.

Croft told the Times that his local dealership said that the problem had been reported to Volkswagen's head office, but when Kenny complained around the same time, he was told the company wouldn't be investigating any further, per The Times.

In a statement sent to Insider, Volkswagen noted that the adaptive cruise control system is "certainly not designed to create a fully autonomous vehicle nor supersede the responsibility of the driver."

"In fact at any time ACC, once activated by the driver, can be deactivated by using a button on the steering wheel, or by touching the brake pedal.

"There are clear, helpful instructions in the owner's manual on how to make good use of ACC, and also warnings that it is not a substitute for the full concentration of the driver, who should be prepared to control the vehicle at all times while driving. Additionally, it warns that ACC may not be able to recognise all driving situations correctly."

Volkswagen is currently facing a class-action lawsuit in Missouri, over complaints about its Front Assist feature. It was filed in 2020, and includes testimonies from 14 plaintiffs who say their cars suddenly put on the brakes.

In court documents seen by Insider, a VW Atlas owner describes the brakes activating suddenly while approaching a highway off-ramp in downtown Kansas City. A couple from North Carolina also say their Tiguan abruptly slowed from 70 mph to 45 mph.

According to Volkswagen's website, adaptive cruise control works with front assist's radar sensors which detect if you're too close to a vehicle in front. ACC also uses front and rear cameras, as well as GPS information, to work out the road's speed limit.

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