Technology

Ford’s ‘BlueCruise’ hands-free driver-assist system to cost $750 for 3 years

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co.’s upcoming hands-free driver-assist system has a new name: BlueCruise.

Previously referred to as Active Drive Assist, the feature will go live on Ford’s Mustang Mach-E crossover and F-150 pickup in Canada sometime in the second half of 2021. Ford Canada said Wednesday that BlueCruise software, activated through an over-the-air-update, will cost $750 for a three-year subscription, on top of the price of the hardware that varies by vehicle.

The feature finally will give Ford an answer to General Motors’ Super Cruise and Tesla’s Autopilot systems, although Ford has vowed to make BlueCruise more intuitive.

At launch, the system will allow owners to navigate more than 160,000 kilometres of divided highways without the need to place their hands on the steering wheel. It later will be updated to include automatic lane changing and other features.

The automaker said it tested the system on more than 800,000 kilometres of divided highway, including a recent 177,00-kilometree road trip across 37 states and five Canadian provinces.

“There are highway intricacies and driving conditions that you simply cannot replicate in a lab,” Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer, said in a statement. “Sending these vehicles out for real-world driving experience is just one of many ways we ensured that BlueCruise technology offers confidence and convenience for drivers all across the continent.”

For F-150, BlueCruise is available as a part of the Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 package for a total price of $2,100 — that’s $750 for the software and $1350 for the hardware. The Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 package is standard on F-150 Platinum and Limited and available as an option on Lariat and King Ranch models.

For Mustang Mach-E, BlueCruise comes standard on CA Route 1, Premium and First Edition variants. It’s an available package on the Select trim for $4140 — that’s $750 for the software and $3,390 for the rest of the package — as part of the larger Comfort and Technology package, which includes features such as a 360-degree camera, heated front seats and heated steering wheel.

Ford officials declined to say how much the subscription will cost after the first three years.

In a briefing with media members, officials also declined to cite anything BlueCruise can do that GM’s Super Cruise could not, but Ford’s news release noted that the system will show that it’s engaged through text and blue lighting cues that are effective for those with color blindness.

Greg Layson of Automotive News Canada contributed to this report.

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