Ford will debut its new hands-free driving feature on the 2021 F-150 pickup truck and certain 2021 Mustang Mach-E models through a software update later this year, technology that the automaker developed to rival similar systems from Tesla and GM.
That hands-free capability — which uses cameras, radar sensors and software to provide a combination of adaptive cruise control, lane centering and speed-sign recognition — has undergone some 500,000 miles of development testing, Ford emphasized in its announcement and tweet from its CEO Jim Farley in a not-so-subtle dig at Tesla’s approach of rolling out beta software to customers. The system also has an in-cabin camera that monitors eye gaze and head position to help ensure the driver’s eyes remain on the road.
The hands-free system will be available on vehicles equipped with Ford’s Co-Pilot360 Technology and will only work on certain sections of divided highways. The system, which will be rolled out via software updates later this year, will initially be available on more than 100,000 miles of highways in North America.
The system does comes with a price. BlueCruise software, which includes a three-year service period, will cost $600. The price of upgrading the hardware will depend on the vehicle. For instance, F-150 owners will have to plunk down another $995 for the hardware, while owners of the “select” Mustang Mach-E model variant will have to pay an additional $2,600. BlueCruise comes standard on CA Route 1, Premium and First Edition variants of the Mustang Mach-E.