The all electric Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV

Ford Mustang electric vehicle will introduce hands-free technology next year

In SUVs with this technology, drivers will be able to remove their hands from the steering wheel and pull their feet away from the brake and gas pedals while driving the vehicle itself essentially on select major roads.

Mach-E will go on sale later this year, and devices will be introduced to enable hands-free driving as an option. Ford said the software to enable the functionality, called Active Drive Assist, will be sold separately by the fall of 2021. Drivers will be able to install it at home by downloading or through Ford.

The hands-free function will be very similar GM’s Super Cruise System. In addition to cameras and sensors outside the vehicle to monitor the road and other vehicles, the small infrared camera inside the car will ensure that the driver is always monitoring the road ahead. If the driver looks away for a long time, the system will not operate.
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Darren Palmer, Ford Electric Vehicle Director, said drivers tend to “overconfidence” in these types of driver assistance techniques and stop attention after about seven minutes of using a system like this. This makes driver monitoring technology important.

He said the data will not be stored from the driver’s surveillance camera. It will be used only for the immediate monitoring of the driver’s direction of view.

Ford’s Active Drive Assist system differs from Tesla’s Autopilot technology because Autopilot is not designed to allow drivers to leave the steering wheel for extended periods of time. Tesla also does not have a surveillance camera for the driver. Instead, the autopilot relies on at least a slight tension sensor from the driver’s hand to the steering wheel to indicate that the driver is involved in driving. If the Tesla system does not feel any hand on the steering wheel for a while, the autopilot will stop working.

In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took legal action against a company it sold Steering wheel weights are designed to trick the Tesla Autopilot sensors In thinking that the driver’s hand was on the wheel.
The driver will be alerted about the active driving auxiliary system status via the SUV measurement screen.

Many other automakers, including Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW and Nissan, offer systems that are similar to Tesla Autopilot that discourage drivers from removing their hands from the wheel.

Ford’s Active Driving Assist will not make changes to the highway lane, according to Ford. This is something Tesla and some other systems can do, and GM has announced that future Super Cruise systems will be able to do it.

The company said that Active Drive Assist will operate on more than 100,000 miles of divided highways in the United States and Canada. The system can be updated to allow use of more miles of highways over time.

Ford said the system includes various auxiliary technologies for the driver, such as adaptive speed control, which automatically follows the traffic ahead of you at a set distance, and maintains the automatic lane.

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The driver will be alerted when he enters a highway on which the system can operate. The status of the various driver assistance systems, including Active Driver Assist, will be indicated on the narrow computer screen directly in front of the driver that acts as the instrument cluster. Ford executives said engineers had carefully researched how to clearly indicate drivers the condition of the systems.

Once the system is turned on, drivers will be able to regain control of driving immediately using only the steering wheel, said Chris Bellman, customer experience manager for Ford Driving Assist technologies.

“We wanted to make sure you can take over without feeling like you’re in control of the car,” he said.

Some other systems, such as Tesla’s autopilot, require a powerful steering pull to return control to the driver.

Ford did not provide pricing information for hardware or software. Executives said the company plans to make the technology available on other Ford models later.

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