Ford to Launch Hands-Free, Eyes-on Driving on 2021 Models
July 8, 2020—Ford recently announced an optional active drive assist system that would permit “hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of divided highways in all 50 states and Canada.”
Customers can purchase the system as an unlock for Ford’s all-electric 2021 Mustang Mach-E, and the OEM plans to offer it for “select 2021 model year Ford vehicles.”
Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology adds new offerings including Active Drive Assist, allowing for hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of divided highways in all 50 states and Canada.
Ford said active drive assist is the next evolution of intelligent adaptive cruise control with lane centering from Ford. A hands-free mode is a first for Ford, as well. Hands-free mode allows drivers on certain sections of pre-mapped, divided highways to drive with their hands off the steering wheel.
An advanced infrared driver-facing camera will track eye gaze and head position to ensure drivers are paying attention to the road while in hands-free mode as well as hands-on lane-centering mode, which works on any road with lane lines. Drivers will be notified by visual prompts on their instrument cluster when they need to return their attention to the road or resume control of the vehicle.
The Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package also includes Active Park Assist 2.0, the latest iteration of park-assist technologies to give drivers some peace of mind when parking their Mustang Mach-E. With Active Park Assist 2.0, simply holding a button will allow the vehicle to take control of parking in parallel and perpendicular spaces with ease. It also offers Park Out Assist with side-sensing capability so drivers can confidently navigate out of a parking spot when someone’s parked too close.
Mustang Mach-E’s Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0 standard package includes two enhancements to Ford’s Lane-Keeping System: Road Edge Detection and Blind Spot Assist. The updated Lane-Keeping System joins Auto High-Beam Headlamps, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Post-Collision Braking, Rear View Camera, Reverse Brake Assist and Reverse Sensing System as technologies on the Mustang Mach-E Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0 standard package.
To test the active drive assist vehicles, Ford conducted a road trip that exposed its sensors to snow, rain, bright sun, dark nights, traffic jams and open roads.