Ford hands-free tech promoted for EV age


“Look, mom, no hands!”


New reports show Ford is poised to inject its groundbreaking self-driving technology, BlueCruise into new 2021 F-150 work trucks, as well as some of its Mustang EV cars equipped with a ‘Copilot 360’ package.


The BlueCruise technology, which Ford says has been tested over 500,000 miles, allows drivers to remove their hands from the steering wheel in designated blue zones that show up on a navigational display. When outside of a blue zone, as Craig Cole writes on Roadshow, “your grubby paws just have to be on the steering wheel.”


This is not the type of technology that allows drivers to zone out – in fact, the BlueCruise package also has a driver-facing camera that tracks eye gaze to make sure that drivers are paying attention.


Ford reportedly hopes to sell 100,000 of these vehicles for this model year, and the move mirrors other similar development by major electric vehicle makers including, of course, Tesla with its autopilot design, which is still being looked at with many dubious eyes.


“In 2016, electric vehicle and clean energy company Tesla Inc. faced numerous questions about its autopilot technology after a Florida driver was killed when the sensors and cameras failed to see and brake for a tractor-trailer crossing a road,” writes Dashveenjit Kaur at Tech HQ April 12. “Tesla now faces more scrutiny than it has in the last five years for its autopilot.”


As for Ford stock, it is basically in the same place it has been since 1988, and under half of the price that shares were worth in December 1998. To be clear, that’s zero over three decades for inflation, and zero for three decades against the S&P 500. Ford is also down over five days, and one month, although shares are slightly up over six months, all of that indicating that it will take more than a new hands-free technology to make Ford a more valuable player in the auto world.


Still, it’s worth paying attention to these types of innovations as you ponder the future of the automotive sector.