Ford BlueCruise: a new era of driver assistance in the UK
It is the first “Tier 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 the vehicle is on the highway. New Mustang Mach-E models will be the first to take advantage of this, while older models will be able to access the technology through a remote software update later in the summer of 2023.
According to Ford, this version of Autopilot is three times better than the 1.2, and five times better than the 1.0 when it comes to driver input. In fact, with the release of BlueCruise 1.3, when the blue warning light is activated, the driver has the right not to put his hands on the steering wheel provided he looks at the road at least once every 10 seconds. To ensure drivers remain alert, an infrared camera monitors their vision, even through sunglasses. If the driver is distracted and admires the green scenery along the highway for more than five seconds, a chime prompts him to return his attention to the road. If the distraction is prolonged, the alert becomes more urgent. After about 15 seconds of inattention, the car begins to brake gradually to encourage the driver to regain control.
Autonomous driving: better navigation in curves and narrow lanes
Driving with ‘Level 2’ autonomous devices (“hands-free, eyes on the road”) is the maximum limit currently permitted by UK regulations. However, BlueCruise 1.3 can cover an impressive distance with minimal human intervention: from Dover, in the south of the UK, to Dundee, in Scotland, a distance of 880 km.
So far, 225,000 drivers have tried various iterations of the BlueCruise, covering a total of 152.8 million kilometers, Ford announced. In addition to the upgrade to Level 2 autonomy, the BlueCruise 1.3 is able to handle tighter turns and provides more precise positioning in narrow lanes. Of course, all this has something that excites us… awaiting the approval of this system in France!
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