Ford BlueCruise Has Clear Advantage Over Tesla Autopilot

Technology / 23 Comments

But it's not absolutely perfect yet.

Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are well on the rise throughout the automotive sphere to decrease on-road fatalities and ultimately develop a foundation for autonomous mobility. Ford's relatively new BlueCruise system has been implemented into products such as the Mustang Mach-E and, based on impressions from experts on the technology, it might just be one of the best examples out there.

Consumer Reports put the system to the test and noted how it may even put GM's Super Cruise and Tesla's Autopilot to shame. BlueCruise incorporates hands-free driving on divided highways that are pre-mapped. This automates the car's steering, acceleration, and braking but the stand-out feature is its driver monitoring and warning functionalities.

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Ford
Cadillac
CarBuzz

BlueCruise bears a lot of similarities to GM's Super Cruise, which is soon to be shown up by the group's upcoming Ultra Cruise system. Both of these technologies make use of direct driver monitoring via an infrared camera mounted to the top of the steering column. This is employed to ensure that the driver maintains a steady eye on the road.

This has been considered a crucial feature in ADAS when combined with lane centering assist and adaptive cruise control. That's because it ensures that the driver is paying attention in the case of an unforeseen circumstance where said driver will have to intervene. Consumer Reports notes that this is not the case in a system such as Tesla's Autopilot.

Ford
Ford
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Nissan Titan 1st Generation 2004-2015 (A60) Review
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If BlueCruise and Super Cruise run on similar systems, what makes the former better? The key difference is the technology's motivation for driver collaboration. If the driver notices an obstacle in the course, such as a pothole or pedestrian, and assumes direct control, the system switches to a standby mode and reengages once the action is complete. With Super Cruise and Autopilot, the system cancels operation completely.

Consumer Reports notes that BlueCruise does take steps in the right direction but it's not the perfect system. For example, the driver does not receive sufficient communication in instances where they are required to put their hands back on the steering wheel. Furthermore, Ford's decision to market the system as a "hands-off highway driving experience" is likely to mislead customers when they take their hands off the wheel and are told to place them back.

Dashboard Ford
Ford

"If consumers expect that BlueCruise will do the driving for them, they are going to be disappointed," says Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports. "The reality is this is a unique, collaborative approach that balances making driving easier while keeping drivers engaged during the boring parts of driving."

In an interview with Ford representatives, it was stated that the brand chooses what to show drivers via messages in the instrument cluster with a lot of caution. It also acknowledges that feedback from consumers has been essential and is looking at making enhancements to the system in the future. A series of instructional videos are also being produced for improved clarity on how to operate BlueCruise.

Ford
Ford
Mach-E Bottle Test
Source Credits: Consumer Reports

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