Whether you call it Super Cruise (GM) or AutoPilot (Tesla), or BlueCruise (Ford), the march toward hands-free driving systems continues forward. Take Ford, for example. The automaker has been working on its BlueCruise system for the last couple of years and has already introduced BlueCruise 1.0, to which thousands of owners have subscribed. It has offered owners the chance to use hands-free driving safely, and it has amassed an impressive record.
Ford Launching BlueCruise 1.2
Now, Ford, as it continues the development of the BlueCruise system, is launching version 1.2 of the system. Ford has two system versions, one for Ford vehicles and the other for Lincolns. For Ford, the name is BlueCruise 1.2, while for Lincolns, the name is ActiveGlide 1.2. The updated system includes new features such as hands-free lane changing and system updates to create a more human-like driving feel.
The new system will be on vehicles rolling out of the factory this fall – beginning with the Ford Mustang Mach-E.
"We are investing in our ADAS team to constantly improve BlueCruise and ActiveGlide for our customers," said Doug Field, Chief EV, and Digital Systems Officer, Ford Model e. "The latest improvements allow customers to command lane changes using a turn signal, making hands-free driving feel more human-like by smoothly slowing down for turns and giving more room to large vehicles in neighboring lanes. These improvements are just the beginning of a constant journey toward improving safety and, in the future, giving customers valuable time back."
BlueCruise 1.2 Has 3 New Features
Available BlueCruise 1.2 and ActiveGlide 1.2 include three new features:
- Lane Change Assist can help drivers move through traffic on a freeway or Interstate with more confidence while using BlueCruise. The system will perform a hands-free lane change when requested by the driver tapping the turn signal, and it can even suggest if a lane change would be beneficial when following slow-moving traffic.
- Predictive Speed Assist automatically and smoothly adjusts the speed as drivers approach a sharp curve and will help signal the driver ahead of time when a speed change is about to occur so they understand why the vehicle is slowing.
- In-Lane Repositioning makes the hands-free highway driving experience feel more natural, keeping the vehicle in its lane while subtly shifting the vehicle's position away from vehicles in adjacent lanes – especially helpful when next to more oversized vehicles such as semis.
Software Has Human-Like Feel
Ford engineers are also dedicated to improving its ADAS to deliver more human-like driving performance and refining visuals, sensing, and steering experiences. They've also been continually improving maps with over-the-air updates identifying prequalified sections of divided highways where BlueCruise can be used – currently spanning more than 130,000 miles.
Once a prequalified road is identified, BlueCruise-equipped vehicles sense and help confirm lane lines are visible, and the driver has their eyes on the road. Other conditions are appropriate before transitioning to hands-free driving. BlueCruise uses animated cluster transitions featuring text and blue lighting cues to communicate that the feature is in hands-free mode, effective even for those with color blindness.
75,000 Ford, Lincoln Owners Enrolled
Collectively, 75,000 Ford and Lincoln owners enrolled in BlueCruise and ActiveGlide, with over 16 million hands-free driving miles accumulated through the end of August.
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.