Ford BlueCruise – The First Motorway Hands Free Driving System has Been Given the Green Light
Published on April 20th, 2023 | by Tom Kerrigan
Ford has recently announced a significant development in the field of autonomous driving technology with the introduction of its BlueCruise motorway self-driving system. This latest innovation by the automotive giant is designed to enable hands-free driving on pre-qualified sections of motorways within the UK.
The BlueCruise system is based on advanced camera and radar sensors that work in tandem with high-definition mapping data to provide drivers with a safe and reliable autonomous driving experience. The driver must remain focused on the road and an infrared system positioned behind the steering wheel will know that they are doing so by scanning their eye gaze and head position, even with sunglasses on. If the car notices that the driver is not looking it will flash up a warning and if those instructions are further ignored then the car will gently pump the brakes to alert the driver. Ignoring all of these safety measures will bring the car to a minimum speed of 7mph while keeping lane assist technology on.
The technology has been in development for several years in the United States and Canada, and is now going to be available on Mustang Mach-E electric SUVs with the necessary software updates in the UK. This is ground-breaking for Ford and the automotive industry as it is the first part autonomous system of its kind to get approval within Europe.
The system has been extensively tested and validated by Ford engineers on over 100,000 miles of European roads and millions of roads in the United States. It is expected to be one of the most advanced autonomous driving systems on the market.
One of the key benefits of the BlueCruise system is that it allows drivers to take a break from driving on long motorway journeys, reducing driver fatigue and increasing safety. The technology has been designed to work seamlessly with Ford’s Co-Pilot360 driver assistance suite, which includes features such as lane-keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control to further enhance safety and convenience. Once the driver is on an approved stretch of motorway they can activate the system with a simple press of a button and away it goes. If the driver needs to change lanes then the vehicle will do so by itself once the driver has prompted it by using the indicator.
However, it is important to note that the BlueCruise system is not a fully autonomous driving solution, and drivers must remain alert and ready to take control of the vehicle at any time. The technology has been designed to work on pre-qualified routes and in specific driving conditions, and drivers must follow all relevant laws and regulations when using the system.
Overall, Ford’s BlueCruise motorway self-driving system represents a significant step forward in the development of autonomous driving technology. By enabling hands-free driving on pre-qualified motorway routes, the technology has the potential to significantly enhance safety and convenience for drivers, while also reducing driver fatigue on long journeys. The BlueCruise system is paving the way for a future where self-driving cars are a common sight on our roads.
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