Details Surrounding Ford’s Mustang Mach-E Hands-Free Driving Revealed

by Denis Gurskiy

The vehicle autonomy race, or more specifically Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) race, is starting to heat up. Waymo has been proving its system to work, Tesla has released their FSD beta, and people are starting to take notice of the next big feature to make its way into the car industry. Today, Ford released more details about their Co-Pilot360 2.0 suite of driver assistance. This hands-free steering option to boosts up the autonomy level of the Mustang Mach-E and Ford F-150 to level 3 on certain roads.

As a refresher, Ford calls their ADAS system the Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0, it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue and the naming conventions of later additions aren’t much better.

The standard Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0 system includes the following:

  • Auto High Beams
  • BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Lane-Keeping System
  • Post-Collision Braking
  • Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Rear View Camera
  • Reverse Brake Assist
  • Reverse Sensing System

The more advanced Ford Co-Pilot 360 Assist 2.0, adds on more advanced features to the previous set and includes:

  • Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go, Lane Centering and Speed Sign Recognition
  • Evasive Steering Assist
  • Intersection Assist

Both sets are included on each electric Mustang Mach-E built. A third package set dubbed the Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 Prep Package is included on the Premium, First Edition, and California Route 1 edition. This is the package needed for hands-free driving. The Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 Prep Package includes the following:

  • Active Drive Assist Prep Kit
  • Active Park Assist 2.0

Aside from the Park Assist features included, the package itself does not come with hands-free driving, only the hardware necessary. To enable hands-free driving, owners will have to cough up an extra $600 for the necessary software update. The feature won’t actually be available on launch, instead you’ll have to wait until Ford’s estimate of Q3 2021.

OTA Updates are something we continuously see from Ford’s main EV competitor, Tesla. As the automotive world continues to transition into a tech focused customer base, software updates come as a priority. Ford says the following regarding future additions and improvements to their vehicles via OTA:

Over-the-Air Updates are quick and easy wireless upgrades that can help enhance quality, capability and improve the ownership experience over time while reducing dealer trips. This will be an early demonstration of the Ford system’s bumper-to-bumper update capability to wirelessly update nearly all vehicle computer models, enabling the addition of this type of complex innovations that require software upgrades to vehicle functions.

In summary, for those in any Mach-E that’s not the Select trim, the car will come with the Prep Package already installed and all you have to do is pay $600 for the software, once available. If you are planning to go for the cheapest trim, the Mach-E Select, then you will have to purchase the Comfort and Technology package, which includes the Prep Package along with other features such as a 360-degree camera, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, and more for $3,200. Those customers will also have to further purchase the software required for hands-free driving for $600.

Whether you purchase the Comfort and Technology package or already have the Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 Prep Package included with your higher trim, you’ll receive a $100 Early Adopter Incentive. The incentive is only made available for those purchasing there vehicles prior to the software’s release in Q3 of next year. The incentive will require a signature acknowledging that the hands-free feature is not available on launch.

Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0, will be making its way onto the electric Mustang Mach-E and future cars enabling hands-free driving in “prequalified sections of divided highways called Hands-Free Zones that make up over 100,000 miles of North American roads.” The system is taking a similar approach to GM’s Super Cruise which also allows for hands-free driving on certain limited roads across America. While GM initially started with about 130,000 miles of mapped road, the system now has over 200,000 miles of compatible road.

An interesting note is that Ford’s Active Drive Assist (their hands-free driving solution) will only offer three years of support.

Ford’s solution relies on having additional radar placed in the Mach-E along with a camera in the cabin to keep track of whether or not the driver is paying attention to the road. As always, this is still not a fully self-driving car, so while you are being allowed to keep your hands off the wheel on certain roads, you are still responsible for keeping vigilant. Ford gives the following disclaimer:

*Driver-assist features are supplemental and do not replace the driver’s attention, judgment and need to control the vehicle. Active Drive Assist is a hands-free highway driving feature. Only remove hands from the steering wheel when in a Hands-Free Zone. Always watch the road and be prepared to resume control of the vehicle. It does not replace safe driving.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E is currently in production with plans to begin deliveries in December.

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