Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has announced that it will introduce its new hands-free driving feature for a certain 2021 Mustang Mach E and F-150 pickup truck models in a software update in Q3 2021. The technology Ford has developed rivals similar system from General Motors Corp (NYSE:GM) and Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA).
Ford launching hands-free driving system
The company will offer hands-free capability through an over-the-air software update to the car models with the Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package. In a statement, the company said that it is targeting over 100,000 vehicles equipped with BlueCruise hands-free driving systems in the first year. The system uses radar sensors, cameras, and software to offer lane centering, cruise controls, and speed sign recognition. It has undergone 500,000 development testing miles, and the company emphasized this during the announcement from its CEO Jim Farley in a dig at Tesla’s move to launch a beta software for drivers. Interestingly the system contains an in-cabin camera for monitoring eye gaze and head position to ensure the driver’s eyes are always on the road.
The company says that the hands-free system will be accessible to vehicles with its Co-Pilot 360 tech and it only works at specific sections of divided highways. Notably, the system will be available initially on over 100,000 miles of highways in America.
BlueCruise software to cost $600
However, the system comes with prices and the BlueCrusie software will cost $600, including a three-year service period. Hardware upgrades will depend on the car type with F-150 drivers having to plunk an additional $995 for the hardware whole Mustang Mach E model owners will have to pay an extra 2,600. The BlueCruise software comes with Premium, CA Route, and First edition for Mustang Mach E variants.
Ford indicates that its BlueCruise software has an edge over Tesla’s autopilot. Unlike autopilot, the hands-free system doesn’t require drivers always to put their hands on the steering wheel unless there are vehicle alert prompts. The system employs blue lighting in the digital instrument cluster to show when the care is in a hands-free area.