The pursuit of autonomous and self-driving vehicles in recent years has yielded mixed results. While there is still debate on whether such systems should be in place, many a carmaker continues to push forward with their own version of the technology. The latest to throw their hat in the ring is Ford, which unveiled its new system called BlueCruise.
We’re hoping the name is a working title should it be rolled out to other parts of the globe, but BlueCruise is a significant step forward for Ford and its endeavours as for as being a key player in the vehicle technology space goes.
This hands-free system is set to debut on only a handful of Ford car models Stateside, Namely the 2021 F-150 pickup truck and selected 2021 Mustang Mach-E models. As such, it will likely be some time before we see the system be made available in South Africa, if at all, given the lack of regulation around autonomous vehicles in the country.
Back to BlueCruise and it will be made available via a software update. The fact that only a selected number of models will be able to use the feature is down to some hardware requirements, such as the need for a combination of cameras, radar sensors and necessary computing power to get the hands-free system up and running.
Ford CEO, Jim Farley, has also revealed some of the elements that went into the design of this system, such as more than 800 000 kilometres of test driving. He also explained that the BlueCruise system employs the use of an in-cabin camera to monitor the driver’s eyes and head position. This is a safety feature to ensure that drivers don’t doze off when the system is active.
While it means many of the multitasking angles of self-driving that have been talked up by the likes Tesla are not present here, we’re of the opinion that drivers should be compos mentis even if they plan to go hands-free.
It still remains to be seen what Ford’s long-term plans for the system are, but for now it has confirmed that future models will be able to add it as a feature, although precisely which ones and how many have not been detailed.