Fired Ford will feature the new BlueCruise hands-free driving feature in the 2021 F-150 pickup truck and some 2021 Mustang Mach-E models through a software update later this year, a technology the automaker developed to compete with similar systems from Tesla and GM .
Ford confirmed in its announcement that the BlueCruise system – which uses cameras, radar sensors and software to provide a combination of adaptive cruise control, lane centering and speed signal recognition – has undergone nearly 500,000 miles of development testing.
The system also includes an in-cabin camera that monitors eye gaze and head position to help ensure the driver’s eyes remain on the road.
The drive-by system is available in vehicles equipped with the Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 package, and operates across certain sections of split highways only.
The system, which is being rolled out via software updates later this year, will initially be available on more than 100,000 miles of North American highways.
The BlueCruise system, which includes a three-year service life, costs $ 600, and the price of the hardware upgrade depends on the vehicle.
F-150 owners have to pay an additional $ 995 for the hardware, while owners of the specific Mustang Mach-E must pay an additional $ 2,600.
And BlueCruise is standard on the CA Route 1, Premium, and First Edition Mustang Mach-E models.
And while nearly every automaker offers some driver assistance features, it’s clear that Ford aims to compete with the market share of General Motors and Tesla – the two companies with the most popular and capable ADAS advanced driver assistance systems.
Convincing customers that its system is worth paying is critical to achieving its internal goal of selling more than 100,000 BlueCruise-equipped vehicles in the first year, based on the company’s sales and pick-up rate projections.
Ford said its system communicates with drivers in various ways, including displaying text and blue light signals in the instrument cluster, which make it clear that it is effective even for people suffering from color blindness.
The company explained that it is bringing the BlueCruise system to other Ford car models in the future. Drivers who choose the technology continue to receive software updates as it improves.
Ford said: The future improvements include a feature that allows the vehicle to change lanes by clicking on the turn signal indicator in addition to that the indicator predicts and adjusts the vehicle’s speed at intersections and bends.