Ford's Hands-Free BlueCruise Feature Delayed Until 2022

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【Summary】Ford is taking some time to ensure that it can give customers “the highest-quality experience possible.”

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Dec 06, 2021 3:00 PM PT
Ford's Hands-Free BlueCruise Feature Delayed Until 2022

Ford is already in second place compared to General Motors when it comes to hands-free driver-assist systems. GM introduced Super Cruise in 2016 and Ford was supposed to come out with BlueCruise in 2021. Unfortunately, Ford is going to take a little bit more time to push out the necessary over-the-air-update to properly equipped vehicles for the system to work. Ford confirmed that BlueCruise will not be ready until the first quarter of next year.

BlueCruise Now Coming In 2022

From our understanding of the issue, consumers will still receive vehicles from the factory that are equipped with the necessary hardware and software for BlueCruise to operate properly. The vehicles, though, will come from the factory without BlueCruise activated. The OTA update was meant to activate the feature, letting owners use it, but it's coming at a later date. As soon as the OTA update is ready, it will be pushed out, giving owners the ability to use BlueCruise. Until then, F-150 and Mustang Mach-E owners will have to wait a little longer.

A ford spokesperson explained the situation to CNET's Roadshow. "Given the importance of this technology upgrade, we've retimed the BlueCruise over-the-air update so we can deliver the highest-quality experience possible for customers," said the spokesperson.

Originally, Ford wanted to have the OTA update for BlueCruise ready to go by the third quarter of 2021. Additionally, the automaker had a goal of selling 100,000 vehicles with BlueCruise in the first year of the system being available. The delay could set Ford's timeline back by a few months.

Trying To Perfect BlueCruise

In an earnings call with investors, Ford CEO Jim Farley stated that the automaker's engineers needed some more time to make BlueCruise easier for customers to use, reports The Verge. "We wanted to improve the customer experience," Farley said. "So we pushed it back in terms of an OTA because we want it to be much simpler for the customer than was originally planned. And that takes a little planning to consolidate. Often these Level 2 systems require multiple updates to the car. We want it to be very simple. That took a little bit more work on our team's part."

BlueCruise is Ford's version of GM's Super Cruise. The fact that both systems have "Cruise" in the name doesn't seem like a coincidence. Ford's system will be able to allow drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel on 100,000 mapped roads across the U.S. The system handles accelerating, braking, and steering, while keeping a watchful eye on the driver. Both BlueCruise and Super Cruise only work on the highway.

While Ford is playing catchup to GM, the latter has already announced a new system: Ultra Cruise. That system will allow drivers to remove their hands from the steering wheel in 95 percent of road conditions and is not exclusively for highway use. Ultra Cruise will come out in 2023.

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