The Ford Mustang Mach-E will feature a hands-free driving mode to rival similar systems from Cadillac and Tesla.
Ford is betting big on its upcoming Mustang Mach-E. Not only is the electric pony turning our idea of a Mustang on its head—it’s a four-door, AWD EV—but it will introduce the brand’s first hands-free driving system.
The American company announced Active Drive Assist recently, the latest addition to its Co-Pilot360 suite of driving aids. ADA, when it arrives on select 2021 Ford models, will offer hands-free driving on over 100,000 miles of divided highways in all 50 US states as well as Canada. The system is an evolution of existing systems like adaptive cruise control and lane centering. In addition, it uses pre-mapped highway data collected from over 650,000 miles of Ford testing. In that sense, it’s similar to GM’s Super Cruise; Tesla’s system does not use pre-mapped information.
Select 2021 model year Fords will offer the updated Co-Pilot360 suite. Those customers who’ve already put their names down for the Mach-E will be the first to be able to spec it however. An Active 2.0 Prep Package will be available, which includes all the hardware necessary for ADA. Those that check the option will be able to buy the software at a Ford dealer or via an over-the-air update, with Ford targeting a third-quarter 2021 availability.
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Any sort of system like this needs a way to track driver attention too. Ford has included an infrared driver-facing camera, which tracks head position and eye gaze to measure attention. It works both with the hands-free mode as well as the simpler lane centering one. The system will notify the driver that they need to pay more attention if it detects them flagging. It can even slow the vehicle down if the lack of attention persists.
Mach-E models with the prep package also include Active Park Assist 2.0. This offers a one-button approach to parallel and perpendicular parking. Meanwhile the standard Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 suite includes adaptive cruise control with updated stop-and-go ability: it can now automatically resume driving up to 30 seconds after coming to a stop, a ten-time increase over the previous amount.
Other standard driver assists include cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, automatic high beams, reverse brake assist, and intersection assist. The latter uses the Mach-E’s various sensors to detect oncoming traffic at four-way stops, alerting the driver or even applying the brakes.
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Ford didn’t hold back in the release, providing a clear breakdown of available features versus the just-released Tesla Model Y:
Ford wouldn’t talk pricing with the announcement, nor comment on which other models will receive the new Co-Pilot360 system. Expect more details on the specific Mach-E trim availability over the coming months, as well as that all-important price tag.