The BlueCruise technology will be available later this year through over-the-air updates on the Ford F-150 and Ford Mustang Mach-E vehicles.
BlueCruise is a new hands-free, highway driving, SAE Level 2 feature. Before offering the tech for its flagship models, Ford tested it on a 110,000-mile “Mother of All Road Trips” trek through North America in various conditions using five F-150s and five Mach-Es as test vehicles.
BlueCruise allows the driver to remove hands from the steering wheel when in so-called Hands-Free Blue Zones. Those zones are prequalified sections of divided highways in Ford’s GPS mapping system.
The BlueCruise technology uses radar sensors, a driver-facing camera, Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering, and Speed Sign Recognition.
Unlike GM’s Super Cruise, which uses red and green lighting, or Tesla’s Autopilot requiring to keep hands on the steering wheel, BlueCruise communicates with drivers in different ways. The instrument cluster transitions to communicate that the feature is in Hands-Free mode through text and blue lighting cues, effective even for colorblind.
Ford launches BlueCruise from the third quarter of 2021. The software costs $600, including a 3-year service period.
For the 2021 F-150, BlueCruise comes as a part of the Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 Package for a total of $1,595: $995 for the hardware plus $600 for the software.
For the Mustang Mach-E, BlueCruise will be available at $3,200 as part of the larger Comfort and Technology package.