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Semi-autonomous driving is all the rage these days, propelled by the demand for a fully self-driving vehicle. And if you're a Ford enthusiast, you may be looking forward to trying out the new BlueCruise Driver Assist system in a new Ford F-150 or Mustang Mach-E.
However, while the system was slated to make its debut in 2021 through an over-the-air-update (OTA), Ford recently announced it won't be available in its vehicles until early 2022.
What's behind the delay?
Ford said that the company wants to make the transition to BlueCruise as simple as possible, which is important for widespread adoption. According to Kelley Blue Book, Ford's CEO, Jim Farley, has indicated they hope to compress the BlueCruise OTA update into a single download. Farley explained that because of the complexity of Level 2 systems, drivers often need to download multiple files for the system to function.
Level 2 systems are driver-assist systems that require a driver to have their hands on the wheel but can take over acceleration, braking, and steering under certain conditions. These systems typically include active safety features like lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking, which kick in as necessary.
These systems require complex programming to function, so it's not surprising that installing them might take some effort. However, Ford faces stiff competition in the semi-autonomous systems space, with Tesla's Full Self-Driving capability and GM's Super Cruise systems also making headlines. And since you never get a second chance to make a first impression, the company wants to get BlueCruise right.
What does BlueCruise do?
BlueCruise offers speed control, object detection, pedestrian monitoring, and lane-changing assistance, among other functions, to allow you to drive hands-free over 100,000 miles of specific pre-mapped highways. BlueCruise directs itself using GPS and map data paired with input from a forward-facing camera and radar.
However, you’re expected to be ready to retake control of the vehicle at any point. BlueCruise-equipped vehicles also have an interior monitoring system designed to keep track of driver inattention or fatigue. If a driver is not paying attention or falling asleep, the system will issue a warning and then automatically return the vehicle's control to the driver.
BlueCruise is similar to Super Cruise in its features and functions. And despite the name, Tesla's "Full Self-Driving" feature is also a Level 2 system, broadly using the same technologies to provide drivers with hands-free driving under certain limited conditions.
What vehicles will BlueCruise be available in?
MORE: Super Cruise Ousted as GM’s Premier Hands-Free Driving Feature, Presenting the New Ultra Cruise
If you bought a 2021 Ford F-150 or 2021 Mustang Mach-E with the Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 package, your vehicle should be capable of receiving the BlueCruise OTA when it becomes available.
This package is available as an option on the base models for each vehicle. It comes standard on the top-of-the-line F-150 and the Mach-E California Route 1, Premium, and First Edition trims.
Even if you have a Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0-equipped vehicle, BlueCruise is not free. The system is a subscription-based service, and the initial subscription cost is $600. That may seem a little high, but it covers the first three years of the subscription and you won’t be forced to renew when it ends. Once you've shelled out the cash, you'll have three years to play around with the tech, and maybe get attached to it.
Despite the lofty plans automakers have for Level 2 systems, the tech raises many questions about their dangers and liability. For example, what happens if you have an accident while the system is engaged? Will you be at fault, and how will your car insurance company handle your claim?
If you own a BlueCruise-equipped vehicle or another car with a Level 2 system and want to know more about how this impacts your insurance, Jerry's friendly agents can help.
The free Jerry app will also help you save money on insurance. Jerry contacts your insurance company to get the details of your current coverage so you don’t have to scale a mountain of questions. You get all the best prices and coverage with none of the legwork. Jerry even helps cancel your old policy.