Ford pioneers autonomous driving in Europe with BlueCruise approval

Now level 2 autonomous vehicles are operational in the U.K. with 2023 Mustang Mach-E.
Can Emir
Ford's BlueCruise technology
Ford's BlueCruise technology


Ford has been granted regulatory approval to introduce its Level 2 hands-free advanced driver assistance system in the UK. BlueCruise technology is the first to receive regulatory approval for use on the motorway network in Great Britain, making Ford the first automaker in Europe to introduce a Level 2 autonomous driving system, according to a company release.

The system is currently available on 2023 Mustang Mach-E models in the UK through a monthly subscription service costing £17.99 ($24.88). BlueCruise technology enables drivers to operate in "hands-off, eyes-on" mode on approximately 3,700 km of pre-mapped motorways in England, Scotland, and Wales, designated as "Blue Zones". The system will help drivers manage road markings, speed signs, and traffic conditions to control steering, acceleration, braking, and lane positioning.

BlueCruise uses a combination of cameras and radars to detect other vehicles on the road, and a forward-facing camera detects lane markings and speed signs. The infrared driver-facing camera below the instrument cluster monitors the driver's gaze and head pose to ensure they focus on the road. If the system detects driver inattention, warnings are displayed in the instrument cluster, followed by audible alerts, brake activations, and finally, slowing the vehicle while maintaining steering control.

Martin Sander, general manager of Ford Model E, Europe, commented, "BlueCruise can do some of the ‘heavy lifting’, to make highway driving less of a chore and give drivers that little extra confidence and convenience." Lisa Brankin, managing director of Ford UK & Ireland, noted, "BlueCruise is this next step on this journey, making motorway driving a more comfortable experience."

Engineers undertook 100,000 miles of testing

Ford expects BlueCruise to be activated in other European countries as and when regulatory conditions permit and will roll out the system to more Ford vehicles in the coming years. The automaker's engineers undertook 100,000 miles of testing on European roads to validate latest-generation advanced driver assistance systems, in addition to over 600,000 miles covered in the US and Canada before the system was introduced to those markets last year.

BlueCruise builds on Ford’s Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (IACC) capabilities, which can automatically keep pace with traffic within legal speed limits right down to a complete halt. Before transitioning to hands-free driving, BlueCruise-equipped vehicles confirm that lane markings are visible and the driver has their eyes on the road, with animated cluster transitions featuring text and blue lighting cues to communicate that the feature is in hands-free mode.

Ford is also working with regulatory authorities and exploring opportunities to deliver BlueCruise via a future Ford Power-Up software update to Mustang Mach-E models equipped with the optional Tech Pack or Tech Pack + built before 2023.

There are six levels of autonomous driving, with Level 0 being no automation and Level 5 being full automation. Level 2 is defined as "partial automation," meaning that the car can control its speed and steering, but the driver must still monitor the environment and be ready to take control at all times.

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