Ford BlueCruise: a new era of driver assistance in the UK
It is the first ‘Level 2’ autonomous driving system approved in the UK. Ford’s Bluecruise 1.3 aims to reduce the number of times drivers need to intervene while traveling on the highway. New Mustang Mach-E models will be the first to benefit from this, while older models will gain access to this technology via a remote software update in the summer of 2023.
According to Ford, this version of Autopilot is three times better than 1.2 and five times better than 1.0 when it comes to driver input. In fact, with Bluecruise version 1.3, when the blue warning light is activated, the driver has the right to keep his hands off the steering wheel while looking at the road at least once every 10 seconds. And to ensure drivers are minimally alert, an infrared camera monitors their gaze, even through sunglasses. If the driver is distracted and admiring the green landscape along the highway for more than five seconds, a chime prompts him to return his attention to the road. The longer this distraction lasts, the more stressful the warning becomes. And after about 15 seconds of inattention, the car begins to brake gradually to encourage the driver to regain control.
Autonomous driving: Better navigate curves and narrow lanes
Driving with “Level 2” autonomous devices (“hands-free, road on the ice”) is the maximum currently allowed by regulations in the United Kingdom. However, BlueCruise 1.3 can cover an impressive distance with minimal human intervention: 880 km from Dover in the south of the United Kingdom to Dundee in Scotland.
To date, 225,000 drivers have tried different iterations of the BlueCruze, covering a total of 152.8 million km, Ford announced. In addition to upgrading to Level 2 autonomy, the Bluecruise 1.3 can negotiate tight turns and provide more accurate positioning in narrow lanes. Of course, all of this is exciting for us… while waiting for this system to be approved in France!