ABS, ACC, ESC, ASR: We've put together a glossary to help you unravel the alphabet soup behind your carango's technologies
In today's world, knowing our cars is becoming more and more complicated. As technology advances, offering welcome safety and assistance features, the owner's manual gets thicker and thicker. For each new function, new car acronyms appear and the driver is left to demystify their meanings, both when operating their car and when choosing one.
That's why we've refined the most used terms so you don't waste time when you need to understand what they do.
This list is not intended to go into technical intricacies, but only to offer a superficial explanation of the function of each of these car acronyms. Some of these features may look a little different depending on the maker, model or year of the vehicle, although the end purpose they serve is the same.
To search for a specific acronym, use the shortcut Ctrl+F in your browser.
Prevents wheels from locking and skidding during emergency braking, reducing the distance to stop the car. And it allows the steering system to obey the driver's commands on the steering wheel. read more
It identifies the distance and speed of the car ahead, being able to follow it, braking and accelerating automatically. It is the same as other car acronyms: Active Cruise Control, Autonomous Cruise Control, ICC (Intelligent Cruise Control), Radar Cruise Control, DRCC (Dynamic Radar Cruise Control).
It electronically monitors the speed of the front wheels, and when a turn is made, brakes the inside wheel so that both wheels turn by the same amount. It is the same as other car acronyms: TVC (Torque Vectoring Control).
Cameras identify the horizontal signaling of the lane and the vehicle follows it. It issues an alert in case of deviation from the trajectory, interfering with the direction of the vehicle through the steering wheel and brakes.
It makes the gear changes automatically for the driver, but it doesn't have the torque converter, like the conventional automatic. It is identical – mechanically – to the manual transmission, but with a computerized system that performs the changes electrically or hydraulically, eliminating the clutch pedal and the gear lever. In Brazil, it is known as Dualogic, I-Motion, Easytronic, etc.
It is used to prevent the wheels from skidding when starting off, cornering or on slippery terrain. Constantly monitors wheel rotation. When it detects that one of them is rotating at a speed incompatible with the vehicle's, it interferes to regulate and regain traction. Interference can be through wheel braking or engine power control. It is the same as other car acronyms: TCS (Traction Control System), MSR (Motor Slip Regulation), TRC, 4-ETS, DTC (Dynamic Traction Control).
Automatically controls the ABS brakes to keep the vehicle stationary on a hill even if the driver takes his foot off the pedal. It is deactivated when the accelerator or clutch is engaged.
It is activated in emergency braking situations, automatically applying more pressure to the brake hydraulic circuit when it detects a sudden step on the pedal. It reinforces the effort of the driver who does not apply maximum pressure on the pedal. It is the same as other car acronyms: EBA (Emergency Brake Assist), BA (Brake Assist) or AFU (in French: Assistance au Frenage d'Urgence).
The blind spot is a region that is out of sight of the driver and mirrors. BLIS detects vehicles in this area by emitting a light signal in the exterior mirrors.
It is an evolution of ABS, designed to distribute the pressure of the brakes when they are applied during a turn. It is the same as other car acronyms: Dynamic Cornering Assist, Curve Dynamic Assist.
Electronically regulates air pressure in the suspension to adapt to the terrain while maintaining ground clearance. For air suspension only. It is the same as other car acronyms: Dynamic Damper Control, Dynamic Damping Control.
Wrongly defined as “autopilot”, Cruise Control keeps the vehicle's acceleration constant. The driver activates his command and the desired speed is automatically maintained.
It is a type of automatic gearbox consisting of a system of pulleys, instead of the gears of a common gearbox. Pulleys eliminate unevenness between gears, which is why many call them “infinite”. Instead of limited speed options like five, six or nine gears, the CVT has infinite variation between the lowest and highest gear ratios.
It offers different driving modes (Sport, Normal, Eco etc.). It regulates various vehicle features according to the chosen mode, emulating a certain behavior and steering response. The idea is that the car adapts to various types of terrain, with special attention to the response of the shock absorbers. It is the same as other car acronyms: VDIM (Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management).
Driver behavior is constantly monitored. If signs of fatigue are detected, a light illuminates on the dashboard (it could even be a cup of coffee…) indicating that it may be a good time for a rest stop.
It is an automated dual-clutch transmission system, as if they were two coupled manual gearboxes, one with the even gears, the other with the odd ones. Allows the next gear to be already engaged, changing only clutch to shift. It is the same as other car acronyms: PDK (Porsche), Powershift (Ford), DSG (VW).
Dynamic steering adjustment. Corrects the steering angle applied to the steering wheel to optimize maneuverability. It can offer driving mode options with varied responses.
It is an extra feature for the ABS, capable of controlling the distribution of braking force to each wheel individually. Thus, one wheel can receive greater braking than the others in order to maintain vehicle stability in different situations.
It acts on the distribution of power from the engine to the wheels, regulating the traction that each wheel receives according to the friction with the ground it has. It is the same as other car acronyms: XDS.
A way to make the steering wheel softer, like power steering, but more modern. It is the same as: Electrically-assisted Power Steering, EPAS (Electric Power Assisted Steering).
Constantly monitors the vehicle's trajectory to ensure it is under control. If a side slip is detected, it automatically activates the brake on a given wheel to recover friction. It is the same as other car acronyms: ESP, DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), VSA (Vehicle Stability Assist), VSC (Vehicle Stability Control).
Automatically activates the hazard warning lights when it detects sudden braking. It is the same as other car acronyms: SISV, EBL (Emergency Brake Light).
When present, it is part of the ESC. The system monitors vehicle speed and steering wheel handling by the driver. So you can predict a friction loss before it happens. In case of detection, the system sends a signal to activate the ESC, which takes action to maintain friction.
It detects static or low-speed objects in front of the vehicle, issuing an alert to draw the driver's attention. FCW does not brake the vehicle.
Indicates that the vehicle has four-wheel drive. It is the same as other car acronyms: AWD (All-wheel Drive), 4WD (4-wheel Drive).
Assists on steep slopes by automatically controlling engine speed and applying ABS brakes if necessary. It is the same as other car acronyms: DAC (Downhill Assist Control), HDC (Hill Descent Control), DSR (Downhill Speed Regulation).
It serves to facilitate sprints on the ascent. Keeps the vehicle stationary for a few seconds after the brake is released by the driver, preventing the car from backing up when the accelerator is pressed. It is the same as other car acronyms: HHC (Hill Hold Control), HAC (Hill-start Assist Control), HLA (Hill Launch Assist).
It is a product standardization system. When used in connection with automobiles, it refers to a child seat attachment system. The car seats with the same pattern fit directly into a support that comes from the vehicle's chassis, offering greater security.
Collects and stores the kinetic energy released during braking and reuses it during acceleration.
It comprises a variety of features so that the use of keys is dispensed with. The driver carries, instead of a key, a transducer that is detected by the vehicle when it is a certain distance away. From there, the system can unlock the doors, allow the car to be started from a button on the dashboard, or even some other special functions. It is the same as other car acronyms: smart key, hands-free, RKE (Remote Keyless Entry System), RKI (Remote Keyless Ignition System).
Detects if the vehicle is loaded, adjusting the ESC sensors to optimize stability.
Cameras identify the shape of the road and are able to follow the lines of division of lanes and hands, issuing an alert to the driver when he deviates from one of them. It is the same as other car acronyms: LKA (Lane Keep Assist).
It does most of the work when it comes to parking the vehicle, using distance radars and automatically controlling the direction. Positions the car inside a space, which can be perpendicular, parallel or at an angle. It is the same as other car acronyms: APA (Active Park Assist).
Monitors the area in front of the vehicle and detects impending collisions. If there is a risk, some systems emit an audible signal, while others brake the vehicle or steer it automatically. Detection can be done by laser, camera or radar, the latter being able to work in any weather condition. It is the same as other car acronyms: Pre-Collision System, Precrash System, Forward Collision Warning System, Collision Mitigating System, Automatic Emergency Braking System.
Decreases the chance of rollover. In addition to the ESC sensors, this system can also have sensors that identify the inclination of the vehicle's horizontal axis. If it detects that the axle is destabilizing due to an impact, it activates the ESC systems, causing the vehicle to stay on track. It is the same as other car acronyms: RSC (Roll Stability Control), PRA (Proactive Roll Avoidance).
Recognizes traffic signs and displays an easy-to-understand summary on the vehicle's dashboard. Some vehicles regulate the speed automatically according to the maximum speed signaled. It is the same as other car acronyms: TSA (Traffic Sign Assist).
It is a passive safety system designed to protect occupants in the event of a collision. It makes use of special materials in the doors, in addition to new deformation coefficients in the metals of its structure. The idea is that the doors help the B (central) column absorb impacts and protect occupants in the event of a side impact.
Tire pressure is constantly evaluated and a light alert lights up on the dashboard when any irregularity is detected. It can work using its own sensors or the ABS rotation sensors. It is the same as other car acronyms: TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System), DDS (Deflation Detection System).
It electronically monitors the speed of the front wheels, and when a turn is made, brakes the inside wheel so that both wheels turn by the same amount. It is the same as other car acronyms: AHA (Agile Handling Assist).
Also known as VAG-COM, it is a Windows platform-based software used for computerized diagnostics.
It is a passive safety system designed to protect the spine in the event of a collision. It sits inside the front seatbacks and changes their inclination in the event of a collision to prevent the impact from transferring to the spine and causing serious or fatal injury.