Ford will be offering a hands-free driver assistance system on its new 2021 Mustang Mach-E electric vehicle. The hands-free system utilizes an infrared driver-facing camera. This autonomous driving feature will go live sometime this Fall with an over-the-air update. There’s no need for Mach-E owners to visit a dealer to activate the system. However, Ford did remind us that the upgrade won’t be free.
It will cost Mach-E owners $600 to activate the so-called Active Drive Assist feature. That will make it available for a three year period. Ford didn’t provide any details on whether continuing to use the service after those three years would entail an additional cost or not. (For the record, we’re assuming that it will.)
On the F-150 pick-up truck, Active Drive Assist is already available as a stand-alone option for $895. That includes a $100 early adopter incentive. On the Mach-E, the hands-free feature will be bundled with other optional upgrades. For example, it’s included in the $3,200 Comfort and Technology package, which also features heated seats and a heated steering wheel.
Monitoring The Driver
The Active Driver Assist will actively track the driver’s eye movement. This will ensure they are not falling asleep behind the wheel or otherwise losing focus on the road. Obviously, drivers cannot retreat to the back seat just because hands free driving is enabled. The system only works on divided highways, for now. Ford’s technology builds on the radar adaptive cruise and camera-based lane-keeping technology that have been around for years. The driver-facing camera ensures that drivers are available to take over when needed.
Ford says the system will engage on more than 100,000 miles of highway in North America to start, with further expansion expected in coming years. As with all things autonomous driving, there’s still a very long way to go before cars are truly driving themselves.