Today, the latest vehicles are designed with hands-free driving technology to stay ahead of the competition. Every car with self-driving features uses proprietary software, depending on the manufacturer. For example, Tesla’s self-driving technology is called “Tesla Auto Pilot,” while GM’s self-driving cars rely on “Super Cruise” self-driving software.
Ford’s hands-free driving technology, on the other hand, is branded “Ford BlueCruise” — but it’s unique compared to other self-driving software from different manufacturers. So how does it work? Let’s find out!
What is Ford BlueCruise?
Ford BlueCruise is a Level 2 automation system used in Ford vehicles. It works similar to Tesla’s FSD, allowing you to drive the car without putting your hands on the wheel.
More succinctly, it can change lanes and automatically adjust the vehicle’s speed based on road conditions. Plus, it can reposition your Ford in its lane when interacting with traffic and automatically brake in an emergency. To learn more about automated driving systems, you should check out our explanation of the six levels of driving automation.
However, if you want to use Ford’s BlueCruise, you can only activate it on approved roads — currently, it has about 130,000 miles on it in North America.
Which vehicles use Ford’s BlueCruise?
Ford BlueCruise is standard on the Ford F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach. However, if you’re driving a Lincoln, it’s called Lincoln ActiveGlide—though it’s the same software, it’s branded differently. Lincoln ActiveGlide is standard on the 2023 Lincoln Corsair and 2022 Lincoln Navigator.
What about subscriptions? The BlueCruise software will cost $600, according to the Ford Media Center. Also, if you own a Ford F-150 with Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0, it should come with BlueCruise—but it’ll cost an extra $1,595 to install.
How does Ford BlueCruise work?
If you’re on a diverging highway planned by Ford BlueCruise, you’ll notice a blue light on the dashboard display — a sign that you can activate Ford BlueCruise for hands-free driving.
To enable hands-free driving, you must navigate to Features, select Driver Assist, and activate Lane Centering under the Cruise Control option. You’ll then need to press the button on the steering wheel marked with the odometer and the car symbol to enable and disable the Ford BlueCruise hands-free driving mode.
With Ford BlueCruise activated, you can fine-tune your speed and distance from other vehicles using the buttons on the steering wheel. BlueCruise can also be used to automatically change lanes by activating turn signals, according to a report from Ford.
Beyond that, if you notice a green light on the dashboard, you’ll have to put your hands back on the wheel to regain control. However, you can still use Ford BlueCruise to automatically steer, brake and accelerate your vehicle by keeping your hands on the steering wheel.
Can Ford BlueCruise Prevent Driver Distraction?
Because Ford BlueCruise is a Level 2 automation system, even with the hands-free driving mode enabled, the driver must remain focused on the road. Like reports of Teslas crashing even on Autopilot, Ford vehicles equipped with BlueCruise can still crash if drivers are distracted while using hands-free technology.
To prevent driver distraction, your Ford uses built-in cameras to monitor your eye and head movements. If the camera notices your attention elsewhere, even if you’re wearing sunglasses, you’ll get a warning on the digital display.
If you don’t turn your attention back to the road after the warning, BlueCruise hands-free driving mode will deactivate and prompt your vehicle to slow down gradually.
What conditions can affect Ford BlueCruise?
Ford BlueCruise software can only control your vehicle on approved roads called “blue zones”. Currently, Blue Zones are only available in parts of the US and Canada.
Still, BlueCruise’s hands-free driving is limited to divided highways with clear lane markings. Plus, if you’re driving close to a construction site, Ford BlueCruise’s hands-free driving feature will be deactivated—crucial so you can react to any potential hazards on the road. Likewise, if you’re driving on tight roads, you probably can’t rely on the Ford BlueCruise.
Among other things, Ford’s Autopilot system can be affected by extreme weather conditions, making it difficult to recognize lane markings in blue zones.
Is the Ford BlueCruise worth the hype?
Ford BlueCruise is as good — if not better — than Tesla’s Autopilot and GM’s Super Cruise. When used in conjunction with other driver assistance features, not only can you drive hands-free, but you can also receive potential collision and blind spot alerts.
Plus, you can combine Ford BlueCruise with Parking Assist, Evasive Driving Assist and Hill Descent Control to make driving safer than ever. The only downside to BlueCruise is that it’s only available on the latest Ford vehicles, so you’ll have to trade in your old car for a new model if you want to enjoy the technology.