- ford announced that what it describes as a hands-free system, an update to the automaker's co-pilot360 driver-assistance package, will first become available on the mustang mach-e beginning next year in an update.
- the system will be able to operate on 100,000 miles of highway in the u.s. and canada.
- the updated co-pilot360 system will become available on other select 2021 model year vehicles.
update 4/14/2021: ford has announced that its forthcoming hands-free driving tech—formerly referred to as active drive assist—will be called bluecruise. the ford mustang mach-e and the f-150 will be the first ford vehicles with bluecruise, and it'll become available through an over-the-air update in the third quarter of this year. not all 2021 mach-es and f-150s will be eligible; only those with the hardware which comes in the co-pilot 360 active 2.0 package will be able to run bluecruise. the hands-free driver assist system intended to be an alternative to tesla's autopilot and gm's super cruise can be used on over 100,000 miles of divided highways in north america.
as driver-assist systems have progressed in recent years, the ability to go hands-free—albeit in select environments—has become a telling marker of how advanced any system is. ford announced that in the coming year, it will add itself to the list of automakers claiming hands-free systems with the advancement of its co-pilot360 technology.
the ability to drive with hands off the wheel on 100,000 miles of highway in the u.s. and canada will first be available in the highly anticipated ford mustang mach-e, due late this year. the new hands-free system will be fully unlocked in the ev through an update slated to be available in the third quarter of 2021, ford says. the system within co-pilot360, described as active drive assist, will be available across the mach-e lineup and will be available in select other 2021 and later ford vehicles.
there are also improvements in the package to the vehicle's adaptive cruise control to include lane centering and the ability to stay engaged in stop-and-go traffic. co-pilot360 will also have a driver-facing camera that tracks the eyes and head position of the driver ensuring they are paying attention while hands-free or are using the hands-on lane-centering system. in march, the insurance institute for highway safety (iihs) issued a recommendation that the advanced driver-assist systems with hands-free capability should monitor drivers to require them to pay attention.
other features in the updated co-pilot360 system include active park assist, which allows the vehicle to park itself and navigate in both perpendicular and parallel spots. road edge detection, which can alert drivers when they are veering onto a gravel or dirt shoulder, and blind-spot assist, which can prevent merging into a vehicle in the blind spot, are also features on the new system that will be standard on the mach-e and come later on other vehicles.
the system as described is in direct competition with cadillac's super cruise, a hands-free system first unveiled in 2017 on the ct6. general motors announced earlier this year that the 2021 cadillac ct4, ct5, and escalade will also feature the system, which now includes automated lane changing. super cruise is capable of functioning on 200,000 miles of road in the u.s. and canada.
this past february, lexus president koji sato said that the luxury automaker is going to launch a hands-free driving system on one of its vehicles later this year.