Ford debuted its BlueCruise driver-assist system in 2021 on select vehicles, and now version 1.2 is in the mix. It's a notable upgrade, because it adds the capability of hands-free lane changes. It's one of a select few systems currently available that officially advertises such hands-off functionality, and it's also coming to Lincoln's version of the system, called ActiveGlide.
The system launches in the fall of 2022, initially available on the 2023 Mustang Mach-E. Ford's announcement doesn't elaborate further on availability for other vehicles, nor does it mention the possibility of updates to existing vehicles running BlueCruise. In an email to Motor1.com, a Ford spokesperson said updates weren't available yet, but more information about Ford Power-Up and Lincoln Enhance software updates will be shared when those details are available.
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We do know that BlueCruise 1.2 brings more than just automated lane changes. Ford says the system feels more natural with improved in-lane response to other vehicles, notably large vehicles in adjacent lanes. A Predictive Speed Assist function is designed to adjust speeds smoothly as vehicles approach sharper curves. It also notifies the driver of impending speed changes in such situations.
Gallery: Ford BlueCruise: First Drive
As for the hands-free lane-change functionality, it's not entirely a hands-off process. Drivers don't need to steer, but activating the system requires a tap on the turn signal. It can also offer lane-change recommendations to drivers.
"We are investing in our Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) team to constantly improve BlueCruise and ActiveGlide for our customers," said Doug Field, chief EV and digital systems officer at Ford's Model e division. "The latest improvements allow customers to command lane changes using just a turn signal, and make hands-free driving feel more human-like by smoothly slowing down for turns, and giving more room to large vehicles in neighboring lanes. These improvements are just the beginning of a constant journey toward improving safety and, in the future, giving customers valuable time back."
Ford says its BlueCruise system currently works on 130,000 miles of highways. 75,000 owners of Ford and Lincoln vehicles have enrolled in the service, which became available this year for the Mustang Mach-E and F-150.