Ford announces the details of it’s latest ‘BlueCruise’ hands-free semi-autonomous driving technology for the 2021 Ford F-150 and the Ford Mustang Mach-E. We knew this feature was coming to these new and existing vehicles (via over-the-air updates). When Ford launched the new 2021 F-150, some higher trim trucks came already equipped with all the sensors and cameras to enable this hands-free driving mode. Now we know more details about it and how much it costs.
In a way, ‘BlueCruise’ is similar in its approach to the existing ‘Super Cruise’ from General Motors. This hands-free driving feature still requires the driver to remain alert and watching the road. The feature works only on some pre-mapped major highways. Ford says that about 110,000 miles of highways have been verified and enabled for BlueCruise in the United States and Canada. More highways and roadways will continue to be added in the future.
Ford says that BlueCruise is different from GM’s Super Cruise in a way that it communicates with driver. Since this is a ‘Level 2’ semi-autonomous driving system – it must have a robust way to let the driver know when to take over the driving duties. As the system encounters poor visibility, unmapped highways, lack of highway markings, or other adverse conditions – it must quickly and effectively alert the driver and have the driver take over. Ford does it with blue visual and written ques on the center digital gauge cluster. There are also audible alerts.
Here is the a high-level map of Ford’s BlueCruise enabled highways in North America.
GM alerts the driver via the red, blue, and green lights on the steering wheel – and other visual graphics and audible alerts. We will have to drive the Ford’s system to experience it for ourselves and see how it compares.
Here is our latest comparison test of the GM’s Super Cruise versus the Tesla Autopilot.
In the 2021 Ford F-150, it’s $995 for the BlueCruise prep kit (hardware) plus $600 for the software for a total of $1,595. In the Mustang Mach-E, it’s $2,600 for the BlueCruise prep kit and additional content it’s bundled with (e.g. 360-degree camera, heated seats, etc) plus $600 for the software for a total of $3,200.
This is a fairly competitive price. For example, Cadillac currently charges $2,500 for the Super Cruise system in their new 2021 Escalade. Ford says that more vehicles will get the BlueCruise hands-free highway driving feature in the near future. Ford says F-150 and Mach-E ‘BlueCruise’ feature will be available for sale later this year.
Here is our Ike Gauntlet towing test with the new 2021 Ford F-150 Limited truck.