Ford accelerates development of hands-off driving with BlueCruise 1.3 update

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Ford is pushing ahead with its goal of keeping drivers’ hands off the wheel for as long as possible with the release of BlueCruise 1.3. This comes just a few months after the 1.2 release, which introduced features like automatic lane changes.

BlueCruise 1.3 will allow the system to remain engaged through tighter corners and accurately position the vehicle in narrow lanes. Although these updates may not be groundbreaking, Ford’s focus is on rapid iteration and evolution.

Under the leadership of Sammy Omari, Ford’s executive director of advanced driver assist technologies and CEO of autonomous driving subsidiary Latitude AI, the company has significantly increased the frequency of software releases. Ford now releases internal software updates every week, compared to the previous quarterly releases.

Customer feedback plays a critical role in this iterative process. By analyzing data shared by customers who opt-in, Ford’s engineers can understand when and why BlueCruise interventions occur. This feedback loop has enabled Ford to expand the operating window of its advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) by three times with BlueCruise 1.3.

Notably, Ford sees itself not just as a car company but also as a services company, following a similar approach to companies like Netflix. Ford aims to continuously provide updates to its BlueCruise system, ensuring that customers receive ongoing improvements and new features.

While Ford is planning to expand BlueCruise to rural and urban streets, it currently does not support eyes-off driving. Achieving this level of autonomy, referred to as Level 3 driving, will require new hardware with sensing redundancy and control features like power steering redundancy. This functionality will be introduced in Ford’s next generation of electric vehicles (EVs), expected in 2025.

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In terms of technology, Ford is considering its options for the perception piece of BlueCruise, which currently utilizes software licensed from Mobileye. Ford’s newly formed autonomous driving division, Latitude AI, has a team of experienced perception engineers that may influence the future use of Mobileye’s software.

The transition from the now-terminated Argo AI project to Latitude AI has resulted in over 550 employees, most of whom were previously working on the Argo project, joining the new division. Latitude AI’s focus is on creating Level 3 driver assistance technology for passenger vehicles, rather than fully autonomous robotaxis.

The goal is to develop a more affordable solution that can be integrated into consumer vehicles in the near future. The Argo AI sensor package, which is more expensive than the vehicles themselves, is not viable for widespread consumer use.

The BlueCruise 1.3 release will be available for compatible Ford Mustang Mach-E SUVs this summer, with F-150 Lightning owners receiving the update by the end of the year.

Sammy Omari personally tests each new version of BlueCruise by taking the latest release for a test drive in a vehicle equipped with the system every Friday. This dedication to hands-free driving technology highlights Ford’s commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is BlueCruise 1.3?

BlueCruise 1.3 is an update to Ford's hands-off driving system that allows the system to remain engaged through tighter corners and accurately position the vehicle in narrow lanes.

How frequently does Ford release software updates for BlueCruise?

Ford now releases internal software updates every week, compared to the previous quarterly releases.

How does customer feedback contribute to the development of BlueCruise?

Customer feedback plays a critical role in the development process. By analyzing data shared by customers who opt-in, Ford's engineers can understand when and why BlueCruise interventions occur, helping them make improvements and expand the operating window of the system.

How does Ford view itself in terms of its approach to services and updates?

Ford sees itself as not just a car company but also a services company, aiming to continuously provide updates to its BlueCruise system to ensure ongoing improvements and introduce new features for customers.

Does BlueCruise support eyes-off driving?

Currently, BlueCruise does not support eyes-off driving. Achieving this level of autonomy, known as Level 3 driving, will require new hardware with sensing redundancy and control features, which will be introduced in Ford's next generation of electric vehicles expected in 2025.

What is Ford's plan for expanding BlueCruise to different types of roads?

Ford plans to expand BlueCruise to both rural and urban streets in the future.

What technology does Ford currently use for the perception piece of BlueCruise?

Ford currently utilizes software licensed from Mobileye for the perception piece of BlueCruise, but the newly formed autonomous driving division, Latitude AI, may influence the future use of this software.

What is the focus of Ford's autonomous driving division, Latitude AI?

Latitude AI's focus is on creating Level 3 driver assistance technology for passenger vehicles, rather than fully autonomous robotaxis, with the goal of developing a more affordable solution for widespread consumer use.

When will the BlueCruise 1.3 update be available for Ford Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning owners?

The BlueCruise 1.3 update will be available for compatible Ford Mustang Mach-E SUVs this summer, with F-150 Lightning owners receiving the update by the end of the year.

Who personally tests each new version of BlueCruise?

Sammy Omari, Ford's executive director of advanced driver assist technologies and CEO of Latitude AI, personally tests each new version of BlueCruise by taking the latest release for a test drive in a vehicle equipped with the system every Friday.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

Advait Gupta
Advait Gupta
Advait is our expert writer and manager for the Artificial Intelligence category. His passion for AI research and its advancements drives him to deliver in-depth articles that explore the frontiers of this rapidly evolving field. Advait's articles delve into the latest breakthroughs, trends, and ethical considerations, keeping readers at the forefront of AI knowledge.

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