On Wednesday morning, the Ford Motor Company revealed some fresh information about its forthcoming hands-free highway driving assist. Originally known as Active Drive Assist, this new system has been renamed BlueCruise, and it will roll out in Q3 2021 via an over-the-air update to F-150 trucks and Mustang Mach-E crossovers that shipped with pre-installed hardware.
Like General Motors’ highly rated Super Cruise system, BlueCruise only enables hands-free driving on predetermined roads—in this case 110,000 miles (177,027 km) of pre-mapped divided-lane highways.
And, like Super Cruise, it uses an eye-tracking infrared camera to make sure that the driver’s eyes are on the road ahead while engaged. To prevent mode confusion, Ford says that the main instrument display will change unambiguously so drivers know whether BlueCruise is active.
When the OTA update rolls out, it will be available to F-150s fitted with the $995 Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 pack (standard on Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trims) and Mustang Mach-Es fitted with the $2,600 Comfort and Technology Package (standard on the CA Route 1, Premium, and First Edition trims).
However, the hardware—which includes the infrared driver-monitoring system, as well as some radar and optical sensors—has to be fitted by the factory. It cannot be retrofitted at a later date. Ford says this should number about 100,000 vehicles by the end of 2021. (From next year, the software will be installed by the factory.)
Owners will also have to pay a little more to enable the system, which requires an active subscription that will cost $600 for three years of service.
Listing image by Ford