Automotive Industry Autonomous Technology | New

USAGE of Ford’s hands-free driving option, called BlueCruise, is growing rapidly in the US as it promises a self-driving version on certain “qualified” highways.

BlueCruise is available as an over-the-air (OTA) download for compatible vehicles and only really took off last year. It is gaining momentum as upgrading (downloading) the system to earlier models is gaining popularity.

True self-driving has huge appeal for many people because it promises to be able to get in the car and pretty much tell it to take you somewhere.

Legal niceties aside, self-driving in Australia may be closer than you think judging by the US experience which has seen the mileage accumulated by BlueCruise-equipped Ford cars, particularly the F-150 pickups (pictured) and the new Mustang Mach-E models jump markedly over the past month.

Ford says 15,000 of its 2021 F-150 and Mustang Mach-E customers have received BlueCruise technology through Ford Power-Up software updates and another 35,000 are on the way, which, combined with factory offerings, means that approximately 66,500 customers now benefit from the hands-free system. highway driving innovation which was launched in July 2021.

BlueCruise hands-free driving miles recorded have more than doubled to 10.6 million (17 million kilometres) since last month, with Las Vegas and Cape Canaveral ranked as the best stretches of pre-qualified divided freeway sections called Blue Zones hands-free where the system can be used.

According to Ford, BlueCruise is a good example of Power-Up OTA technology that is transforming ownership experiences by steadily improving vehicles over time and redefining periodic customer relationships to be “always on.”

Ford is aggregating voluntarily shared and anonymized (secret) data to make BlueCruise even better by refining visuals, sensing and steering to help the system “drive” more like people. And now Power-Up software updates are bringing BlueCruise to more customers who purchased vehicles before the technology was launched.

“We are rapidly increasing the number of digital vehicles on the road with new services that create ‘always on’ customer relationships with great software experiences,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley.

“BlueCruise is a great example, as customers have traveled over 10 million miles hands-free in just one year since we launched the feature and bundled it with a Ford Power-Up software update.

“BlueCruise completes first year of Ford Power-Up software updates, demonstrating transformative capability to improve many computer-controlled vehicle systems – something most other major automakers lack – to regularly improve vehicles and deepen customer relationships.

“The pace of adoption of BlueCruise hands-free highway driving is accelerating as customers more than doubled mileage from last month, from 4.5 million cumulative miles (7.2 million km) 10.6 million miles (17 million km).”

Recent data from BlueCruise also shows that customers most often drive hands-free on the highways between Dallas and Houston, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, and Cape Canaveral and Fort Lauderdale.

Farid Abdulhadi, Program Manager, Ford Power-Up Technology, said, “Power-Up Technology is the gift that keeps on giving. Ford BlueCruise software updates are a great example. One day you’re driving normally and the next day hands free.

“Ford is helping lead the widespread adoption of advanced software update capability, the same way smartphones changed the world of flip phones.”

BlueCruise software update highlights a slew of new features and improvements – including Mustang Mach-E games, EV charging and driving upgrades as well as F-150 productivity features – that Ford has provided in the first year since the launch of the technology.