Ford is finally showing off its entry into the Level 2 driver-assistance space. BlueCruise will be available this year and will help take over some driving duties on 100,000 miles of North American highways.
The system will be available as an over-the-air update to 2021 F-150s and Mach-Es equipped with Co-Pilot360 and Active 2.0 Prep Package. The system works via a combination of advanced camera and radar-sensing technologies that build on the sensors already installed for the above-mentioned features.
So that drivers aren’t constantly required to touch the wheel, BlueCruise watches the driver to keep track of their eyes. Even if they’re wearing sunglasses, the system will ensure that the driver is still paying attention to the road since, like FSD, this isn’t a fully autonomous feature.
Ford also boasts that its blue lighting and visual warnings will make it better for color blind people than Super Cruise, which uses red and green light by default (though there is a color blind mode).
Like Super Cruise, though, the system’s functionality will (initially, at least) be limited to divided highways that have been mapped by Ford. The roads are color-coded blue on the vehicle’s maps.
To test the system, Ford sent out five F-150s and five Mach-Es on a test mission that covered more than 500,000 miles of highway. The test took the vehicles to 37 states and 5 Canadian provinces in all weather conditions and on roads with faded lane markers to make sure BlueCruise was ready for rollout.
“There are highway intricacies and driving conditions that you simply cannot replicate in a lab,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer. “Sending these vehicles out for real-world driving experience is just one of many ways we ensured that BlueCruise technology offers confidence and convenience for drivers all across the continent.”
Ford says it expects sales of BlueCruise to top 100,000 in its first year. The system will be rolled out to more vehicles as time goes on and it plans on adding more features, like lane-changing and a predictive system that will adjust the vehicle’s speed for curves in the road.
The software itself will cost $600, though it’s only available with the Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 package, which costs $995 in the F-150 and $2,600 in the Mach-E. All in, it’ll cost F-150 buyers $1,595 and Mach-E buyers $3,200. For those who bought the Mach-E CA Route 1, Premium, or First Edition trims, though, it comes standard.