Ford's BlueCruise Hands-Free Driver-Assist System Coming Soon
General Motors' Super Cruise system essentially goes unmatched in the automotive industry as the only, totally hands-free system on the market. That's going to change soon, as Ford has plans to introduce a hands-free driver-assist system of its own later this year. We've known about this system since last year, but Ford's finally ready to provide some more information on what the system will be called, what vehicles it will be offered on, and where it will work.
BlueCruise Is Here
The driver-assist system will be called BlueCruise, which is incredibly similar to GM's Super Cruise name. That can't be a coincidence and we're sure it will annoy some GM personnel. Beyond that, BlueCruise will work on roughly 100,000 miles of premapped, divided highway roads in the U.S. and Canada. Unsurprisingly, GM owners with Super Cruise will be able to use that system on roughly 100,000 miles of highway roads, too.
Ford only plans to offer BlueCruise on two vehicles later this year – the 2021 Ford F-150 and Mustang Mach-E. In order to get BlueCruise, consumers must purchase one of these vehicles and get the available Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package. For the F-150, the package is standard on the range-topping Limited trim. The Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trims can be fitted with the package for an additional $995.
When it comes to the all-electric Mustang Mach-E, the First Edition, California Route 1, and Premium trims come with the necessary package as standard. Further down the lineup, the package is a $2,600 option on the Select trim. In addition to requiring consumers to get the right trim level and package, Ford will charge consumers $600 as a three-year service fee to use the system.
How BlueCruise Works
The BlueCruise system is based on Ford's Co-Pilot360 suite of advanced safety features, but is more advanced. In order to let drivers take their hands off the wheel, BlueCruise uses adaptive cruise control and lane centering technology to maintain the vehicle's speed and to keep it in its lane. Just like with Super Cruise, BlueCruise only works on "prequalified sections of divided highways." According to the SAE's breakdown, BlueCruise is a Level 2 semi-autonomous system and requires drivers to be prepared to take control of the vehicle back at all times.
To make sure that drivers are actually keeping an eye on the road ahead, BlueCruise comes with a driver-facing camera. The camera's sole purpose is to track the driver's gaze and head position. If this sounds familiar, it's because GM uses a similar came for Super Cruise.
Where BlueCruise and SuperCruise differ from one another is when it comes to the way the systems let the driver know that the hands-free driver-assist feature is engaged. The F-150 and Mustang Mach-E's digital instrument cluster will provide multiple visual cues that will be portrayed in various shades of blue.
Ford claims that it's tested BlueCruise across 500,000 miles of testing in the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, the automaker plans to sell more than 100,000 vehicles equipped with BlueCruise in the system's first year. For consumers that have purchased a vehicle with the necessary package, BlueCruise will be available through an over-the-air update.
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