- Newest version of Ford's BlueCruise and Lincoln's ActiveGlide hands-free driving systems gain additional features.
- BlueCruise 1.2 and ActiveGlide 1.2 add hands-free lane changing among others.
- They'll debut on the 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E and 2023 Lincoln Corsair.
Ford BlueCruise 1.2 and Lincoln ActiveGlide 1.2 Let You Change Lanes Hands-Free
Newest version of the systems will debut in 2023 Mustang Mach-E and 2023 Corsair
Ford is making significant updates to BlueCruise, the automaker's driver assist system that allows for hands-free driving on approximately 130,000 miles of roads in North America. The most significant updates in what's now called BlueCruise 1.2 involves the addition of hands-free lane changes, slowing for upcoming curves and what the automaker calls "in-lane repositioning."
First introduced on the 2021 Mustang Mach-E electric car and 2021 F-150 pickup, BlueCruise is also marketed as ActiveGlide in select Lincoln vehicles like the 2022 Navigator and 2023 Corsair SUVs. The newest version of this safety system will debut on 2023 versions of the Mach-E and Corsair.
In the Blue Zone
Before diving into all that's shiny and new with Ford and Lincoln's updated self-drive systems, let's take a refresher course in how it operates. To start, similar to Cadillac's Super Cruise driver assist system, BlueCruise and ActiveGlide can't simply be switched on anywhere the driver chooses to do so.
At present, BlueCruise/ActiveGlide can be activated on roughly 130,000 miles of premapped and divided highways throughout North America. As time and technology march on, the amount of usable BlueCruise-friendly roads will gradually increase too.
When the vehicle detects it's traveling along one of these mapped roadways, it signals to the driver via the digital gauge cluster that he or she is now in the Blue Zone, and Blue Cruise can be activated if the driver desires. No surprise, the indication itself involves the cluster glowing blue. Once engaged, BlueCruise manages the vehicle's speed, steering and braking, all while maintaining a safe distance to surrounding traffic.
While the vehicle determines it's safe to activate BlueCruise, a driver attention monitor ensures the person behind the wheel must stay focused on the road ahead. In other words, no napping, reading a book, or other tasks that can distract the driver. This is not a fully autonomous system, and the driver has to be ready to take the wheel at any time.
Hands-free lane changes, and more
BlueCruise and ActiveGlide 1.2 take the existing software and adds what Ford, somewhat ironically, calls a "more human-like driving feel." What the Blue Oval is referring to is less of the awkward speed and braking hesitations or ping-ponging between lane markers that some advanced driving aids exhibit.
Like Tesla's AutoPilot and Cadillac's Super Cruise, BlueCruise and ActiveGlide now allow for hands-free lane change capability. When the Ford or Lincoln vehicle detects it's approaching a slower vehicle ahead, it signals to the driver a lane change might be needed. All the driver needs to do is tap the turn signal and, once the car's sensors deem it safe to do so, the lane change is completed.
Other added features include in-lane repositioning, for times when a BlueCruise-equipped vehicle is passing, say, a large tractor-trailer. The system moves over slightly to accommodate the other vehicle's increased width. Predictive speed assist monitors the road ahead to determine if it's a good idea to slow for an upcoming sharp curve. To make certain the driver is aware of what's going on, the system sends a signal beforehand to indicate why the vehicle will be slowing down.
Ford's hands-free driving tech is becoming more human-like in how it operates. The newest versions of BlueCruise and ActiveGlide show how Level 2 driving systems are constantly evolving to create a smoother and safer on-road experience.