Ford’s BlueCruise, which the veteran automaker advertises as a “hands-free” driver-assist system that could be used on pre-mapped highways, will not be meeting its initial 2021 target release date. The upcoming driver-assist suite’s release would be moved to the first quarter of 2022 instead, at least according to Ford CEO Jim Farley.
Farley’s recent comments were shared in a CNBC report. While speaking about Ford’s driver-assist suite, Farley noted that the company has opted to delay BlueCruise’s release so that it could simplify the technology. This could serve Ford well, as a well-designed driver-assist system has the potential to become a recurring revenue opportunity.
Despite Farley not providing any further details about BlueCruise’s delay, Ford does seem to be very optimistic about the technology. The company has estimated that almost 80% of its Mustang Mach-E crossovers will be delivered with BlueCruise in the future since the system is standard on all trims save for the vehicle’s base model.
Ford has also noted that BlueCruise would also be available for the F-150 Lightning, though the company only expects about 15% of the electric trucks to be delivered with the system. This could be due to the fact that the Lightning is being positioned as an actual work truck, and vehicles used in legitimate work environments are typically base and lower-trim variants.
Ford advertises BlueCruise as a hands-off driver-assist system in certain pre-mapped “blue zones” across the United States. However, real-world tests of the system by noted automotive teardown specialist Sandy Munro have shown that the system has some substantial areas for improvement. During Munro’s BlueCruise test, for example, Ford Driver Assist Technology Chief Engineer Chris Billman revealed that the system requires manual interventions when navigating curves, among other things.
Munro, who previously worked at Ford, was brutally honest with his conclusions, even joking that the veteran automaker should improve BlueCruise since he would like to have his pension plan to be fully funded. “I would suggest that the sweeping curve stuff, you need to address that. I think that would be something that you absolutely flat out would want to have, better than what you’ve got today. And the reason basically is that, you know, I got a pension plan that I need to be fully funded,” he said.
Update: Ford has reached out to Teslarati to clarify that BlueCruise is already being shipped in Mustang Mach-E and F-150 models that are being built from its plants today. The Q1 2022 release referenced in this piece only impacts customers who bought earlier models before the software was available in the specific facilities. These customers are expected to start receiving BlueCruise software updates in the first quarter.
Check out Munro’s review of Ford’s BlueCruise in the video below.
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