Ford’s Electric SUV Will Be Able to Drive Itself (Sort Of)

So long as you keep your eyes on the road…and you’re on the right road…and you bought the right option package.


The new Ford Mustang Mach-E is set to break all kinds of barriers for the Blue Oval when it goes on sale later this year. It will, of course, be Ford’s first real electric car worth a damn (no, the Focus Electric doesn’t count), but it’ll also be the first Ford that isn’t a coupe or convertible to wear the iconic Mustang badge. And as it turns out, it’ll break ground for another reason: the Mustang Mach-E will be the first Ford capable of driving itself.*

Yes, there’s an asterisk there. See, the Mustang Mach-E will be the first Blue Oval product to feature Ford Co-Pilot360 technology with Active Driving Assist — a suite of advanced driver assistance systems (a.k.a. ADAS) that give cars greater authority and capability to prevent accidents than previous FoMoCo systems. The Active Driving Assist, in particular, is of note: by combining lane centering, adaptive cruise control and a driver-facing infrared camera, it enables the Mach-E to cruise along without the driver’s hands on the wheel or feet on the pedals on more than 100,000 miles of divided highway in the U.S. and Canada.

If that sounds familiar, well, it should; it’s very similar to the capabilities of General Motors’ SuperCruise, which is currently only available in the Cadillac CT6 but is poised to spread across the carmaker’s portfolio in upcoming years. Like SuperCruise, it uses the internal infrared camera to monitor the driver’s gaze when the hands-free mode is enabled. The driver may not need their hands on the wheel, but their gaze needs to remain on the road at all times; if they get distracted (or worse), the car will warn you to take back control, even slowing the vehicle if need be.

In addition, Co-Pilot 360 also brings an automatic park function that can slide the car into both parallel and perpendicular spots at the touch of a button, an Intersection Assist function that looks for oncoming vehicles that could potentially T-bone you while turning left and brakes the car if needed. There’s also a new feature called Road Edge Detection, which can tell where a road turns into unpaved ground even when there aren’t painted lines to indicate the transition.

While the Mustang Mach-E will be the first Ford available with all these features, they won’t all be available at launch. While buyers will be able to opt for the hardware for Active Driving Assist when they buy their electric crossover, the software to implement it will be downloaded to their car “at a later date,” according to Ford. (That correlates to late 2021, according to The Verge.) And if that sounds familiar too, well, it should: that’s basically the same line Tesla takes with its Full Self-Driving option.

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