Ford BlueCruise Hands-Free Driving Technology Approved for British Motorways

Ford has become the first car manufacturer to receive approval from the Department for Transport (DfT) to launch its “hands-off, eyes-on” advanced driver assistance system on pre-mapped motorways in Britain.

The Level 2 advanced driver assistance system (ADAS), Ford BlueCruise, is available for Ford Mustang Mach-E vehicles as a subscription service, costing 17.99 GBP a month.

Before transitioning to hands-free driving, BlueCruise-equipped vehicles confirm that lane markings are visible, that the driver has their eyes on the road and that other conditions are appropriate
Before transitioning to hands-free driving, BlueCruise-equipped vehicles confirm that lane markings are visible, that the driver has their eyes on the road and that other conditions are appropriate

This system has already been used to drive 64 million hands-free miles in the US and Canada and can now be used on 2,300 miles of pre-mapped motorways in England, Scotland and Wales.

Motorways are generally the easiest operational design domain to handle for vehicles that take over aspects of the driving task.

Jesse Norman, UK Transport Minister, said:

“It is great news that Ford has chosen us for the European launch of its BlueCruise technology, and I am delighted that this country is once more at the forefront of innovation. The latest advanced driver assistance systems make driving smoother and easier, but they can also help make roads safer by reducing scope for driver error.”

Ford BlueCruise uses radars and cameras to monitor road markings, signs, speed and traffic conditions. It can control acceleration and braking – adaptive cruise control – as well as steering and consequently lane positioning while maintaining safe and consistent distances from other vehicles.

Operating up to a maximum speed of 80 mph (130 km/h), BlueCruise uses a combination of radars and cameras to detect and track the position and speed of other vehicles on the road
Operating up to a maximum speed of 80 mph (130 km/h), BlueCruise uses a combination of radars and cameras to detect and track the position and speed of other vehicles on the road

In addition, BlueCruise uses infrared camera technology to continually check driver attentiveness based on eye gaze and head pose. If the system detects inattention, warning messages are displayed, followed by audible alerts, brake activations and the slowing of the vehicle.

Martin Sander, General Manager, Ford Model e, Europe, said:

“It’s not every day that you can say you’ve placed one foot in the future, but Ford BlueCruise becoming the first hands-free driving system of its kind to receive approval for use in a European country is a significant step forward for our industry. Modern highways can be demanding even for the most confident drivers, and intimidating for many. BlueCruise can do some of the ‘heavy lifting’, to make highway driving less of a chore, and give drivers that little extra confidence and convenience.”

Ford now anticipates that BlueCruise will be activated in further European countries when regulatory conditions allow. It will also roll out the system to further Ford vehicles in the next few years.

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