April 24, 2023
Ford’s innovative BlueCruise technology has been approved for use in the UK, with models already being delivered to customers.
The Department for Transport has approved Ford as the first manufacturer to use the next level of driver assistance technology with hands-free driving given the go ahead.
BlueCruise can control steering, acceleration and braking to keep you moving safely in your lane and at a safe distance from the car in front without you needing to lift a finger.
Whilst the technology is hands-free, it includes a camera to ensure that drivers eyes remain on the road. This is a critical feature as whilst the technology allows you to take your hands of the wheel you will still need to watch the road ahead and be prepared to react. This means that you can’t be on your phone, reading a book or distracted in any other way. If the camera detects you’re no longer watching the road ahead it will sound an alert, then brake and gradually slow the vehicle to a stop.
It’s important to be aware that the driver will still be liable in the event of an accident as whilst the technology is a step closer to it, it is not autonomous driving. As a level 2 driver assistance system BlueCruise still requires you to take control if something unexpected happens.
Ford has confirmed that the technology will be available on their 2023 Mustang Mach-E SUV models, with some already having been delivered to UK dealerships last month.
So far, we’ve not been advised of any other models getting this technology, but we expect to see that soon.
The technology has only been approved for use on some UK motorway roads, so drivers will be limited as to where they can use it to this Blue Zone, and it will only be usable when the system feels it’s safe to do so.
It might only just have been approved in the UK, but Ford BlueCruise has been available in the US and Canada since 2021.
With Ford now approved here, it’s likely that we will start to see other brands introduce hands-free driving and other supportive driver systems. And it’s a step closer to other systems like Mercedes’ Drive Pilot which allows you to take your hands off the road and concentrate on something else entirely.
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