Ford paves the way for ‘hands-free’ driving on the highway

2023-07-24 16:02:00

After the first autonomous bus, launched on the roads of Scotland, driving without hands on British motorways is possible thanks to the option developed by Ford. This device should soon be authorized in Germany and then in France. So far, in Europe, only Mercedes has introduced a Level 3 autonomous driving system.

You will also be interested

[EN VIDÉO] How a Tesla’s Autopilot sees the world Automaker Tesla has just released a timelapse video that reveals how…

Hands-free, full speed ahead: Ford has been offering Europe’s first motorway-capable car for a few weeks now, thanks to an option that could soon arrive on the continent. When entering the M11 motorway in north London, the small SUV offers the driver to let go of the steering wheel. He advances alone at 100 km/h, brakes behind a truck, before quietly resuming his journey, well in the middle of his lane. The driver has his hands free (without really knowing what to do with them), but not touch the laptop! Above all, he must not take his eyes off the road: the car is watching him via several cameras and infrared sensors (which pass through the sunglasses).

The first self-driving bus is rolling in the UK

« Watch the road. Take back control », intimates the on-board computer after ten seconds if we look elsewhere. The car then slams on the brakes, sets the warnings. Ford has enabled this option called BlueCruise in April 2023 in the UK on its electric flagship, the Mustang Mach-E.

After a US debut in 2021, the option BlueCruise allows you to let your hands go on 6,000 kilometers of motorways in Great Britain (blue zones equipped with four lanes and central separators), from Dover to Scotland. Five hundred customers have already tested it: they will then have to pay 17.99 pounds (about 21 euros) per month to raise their hands.

Driving without hands, an option soon to be available in Germany and France?

In North America, the option is also available on the F-150 star pickup or the large Expedition SUV. Some 200,000 motorists use it, with no accidents to report, ensures Ford. Its competitor GM also offers hands-free driving.

The brands are waging a war of reputation through autonomous driving, a symbol of the automobile of the future: Mercedes already offers hands-free driving on the German motorway, but only in traffic jams (up to 60 km/h); Tesla boss Elon Musk has long promised that fully autonomous driving (so-called level 4) is for tomorrow.

A user discovers a secret “Elon mode” to unleash the autopilot of a Tesla

Ford, for its part, is banking on immediate applications, and in 2022 ended a research partnership on autonomous driving that it had with the start-up Argo AI. ” We are optimistic about the future of Level 4, but we are still far from seeing fully autonomous vehicles, produced in large volumes and profitablesaid the general manager of the American giant, Jim Farley, at the end of 2022. Things have changed and there is a huge opportunity right now for Ford to give people time when they are in their vehicles. ».

The American brand was thus the first to benefit from an exemption in the United Kingdom allowing it to offer hands-free driving, underlines Douwe Cunningham, in charge of homologation at Ford Europe. He is currently discussing with the British authorities to take the next step: allowing the car to change lanes to overtake, on activation of the indicator.

But what is this option for if you can’t type on your phone or read a book, for example? ” It’s an evolution, not a revolution “, concedes Douwe Cunningham. According to him, this improved cruise control is a step closer to level 3 of autonomous driving, which will make it possible to entrust driving to the computer in the majority of situations. ” It allows motorists to relax, especially in the middle of traffic [en] let the car do the job “says Tariq Willis, marketing expert for the American brand.

L’option BlueCruise should be available soon in Germany, then in France, with its 22,000 kilometers of eligible motorways, assures Douwe Cunningham.

The new issue of Mag’ Futura ” How does the cosmos influence us? is now available on newsstands:

I find the Mag’ Future on newsstands

In this new issue, discover:

1 central file: “How does the cosmos influence us?” “; 1 opening file on an environmental issue: “Facing Gaïa – Mountains, sanctuaries under pressure”; And many other formats to better understand the world and preserve it: The animal of the quarter, Mechanics of beauty, Where is Tech going?, Cosmic epiphany, Science in comics…
#Ford #paves #handsfree #driving #highway

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.