Ford is Adding 'Hands Free Driving' to its Co-Pilot360 Driver Assist System Next Year
【Summary】The Ford Motor Motor Company is updating its Co-Pilot360 advanced driver assist system (ADAS) next year to include a “hands free" autonomous driving feature, the automaker announced today. The optional hands-free driving system will be available on select 2021 Ford vehicles, including the upcoming Mach-E fully-electric SUV.
The hands free driving system is called "Active Drive Assist" and will work on more than 100,000 miles of pre-mapped divided highways in the U.S. and Canada. Ford says Hands-Free Mode allows drivers to drive with their hands off the steering wheel, as long as they are paying attention to the road.
The new feature will give Ford vehicles the same autonomous driving functions as Tesla's Autopilot or the General Motors Super Cruise system available on Cadillac models.
"The stress of long highway drives remains a huge issue for drivers around the world," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief product development and purchasing officer. "By introducing driver-assist technologies like Active Drive Assist, Ford's version of hands-free driving, we're allowing our customers to feel more confident whenever they're behind the wheel."
The system includes an advanced infrared driver-facing camera that tracks eye gaze and head position to ensure drivers are paying attention to the road while operating Hands-Free Mode. The system even works if the driver is wearing sunglasses.
If drivers are not focused on the road, the system displays visual prompts on the instrument cluster, altering the driver to return their attention to the road or resume control of the vehicle.
"Introducing Active Drive Assist with a driver-facing camera makes perfect sense because the vehicle helps relieve the stress and burden of driving but still leaves you fully in control," said Thai-Tang. "And if you lose focus on the road ahead, Active Drive Assist will automatically warn and potentially slow the vehicle down until you're ready to focus back up."
The hands-free "Active Drive Assist" will debut on select 2021 Ford models, including the upcoming Mach-E fully-electric SUV, as long as customers purchase the optional "Active 2.0 Prep Package" which adds cameras and radar to the vehicle.
Ford vehicles equipped with the Active 2.0 Prep Package allows customers the opportunity to add the Active Driver Assist feature via an OTA update, since all of the required hardware will be pre-installed in the vehicle.
Ford did not disclose what the semi-autonomous option will cost.
Ford said its engineers and test drivers have thoroughly tested the new safety features, accumulating more than 650,000 miles of tests to ensure that the radar and camera-based features work in as many real-world scenarios as possible.
Ford's Co-Pilot360 is an advanced suite of driver-assist and safety features available in 2019 and later models sold in North America. The technologies include automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system, lane keeping system, a rear backup camera and auto high beam lighting.
Customers can also add more premium driver-assist technologies as add-ons, including adaptive cruise control, which matches the flow of stop and go traffic, lane keep assist, as well as evasive steering assist, which helps a driver make emergency steering maneuvers more safely.
Ford's Lane keep assist notifies drivers with steering wheel vibrations when the system detects the vehicle drifting outside of the lane towards the lane markers and provides gentle steering torque to guide the vehicle back toward the center portion of the lane.
In 2019, Ford added reverse brake assist to its Co-Pilot360, to further assist drivers while in reverse, by automatically applying the brakes if an object is detected behind the vehicle.
Ford is investing $500 million the next five years to develop new driver-assist and safety technologies, with a focus on simplifying the technologies so they work as people expect. The goal is to make people more comfortable with autonomous vehicles.
"Many people question the idea of autonomous vehicles," said Jim Farley, Ford president, Global Markets.
"Those who use advanced driver-assist technologies today say they are more open to cars doing all of the driving in the future."
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
Lucid Motors Raises the Bar for EV Range With 517 Miles on a Single Charge for its Air Sedan
Hyundai Launches IONIQ as a Futuristic New Electric Brand
Chinese Electric Automaker Xpeng Motors Files for U.S. IPO in Bid to Challenge Tesla
General Motors Unveils the Cadillac LYRIQ, Which Represents the Luxury Brand’s Future, But it Won’t Arrive Until Late 2022
Mercedes Benz is Strengthening its Alliance with China’s CATL for the Development of Electric Vehicle Batteries
Applied Information & Qualcomm to Integrate C-V2X Technology in Traffic Signals in Hawaii
Mercedes Benz Launches the Next-Generation ‘Mercedes me’ Apps to Keep Drivers Connected to Their Vehicles
China’s Baidu Announces That the World's First Autonomous Driving Compute Unit is Ready for Production
- Tesla To Hold its Battery Day on Sept 15th, Elon Musk Touts it as ‘One of the Most of Exciting Days in Tesla’s History’
- Tesla Cuts the Price of its China-Made Model 3 by 10% Order to Qualify for China's Revised Subsidies for Electric Vehicles
- Waymo Develops a Machine Learning Model to Predict the Behavior of Other Road Users for its Self-Driving Vehicles
- Auto Parts Supplier Visteon Expects Global Auto Output to Fall by 25%, Despite Early Signs of Recovery
- Here's What You Need to Know About the Canoo Subscription-only Electric, Urban People Carrier
- Ride-Hailing Company Lyft Vows to Switch to Fully-Electric Vehicles by 2030
- China’s Baidu Completes its ‘Apollo Park’, the World’s Largest Autonomous Driving & Intelligent Vehicle Testing Site
- Ford Motor Co is Targeting the Jeep Crowd with its New Bronco Adventure Vehicle Lineup
- Amazon in Advanced Talks to Buy Silicon Valley Self-Driving Startup Zoox, Reports Say
- 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime’s Official EPA Numbers Are Surprisingly Good