Ford Blue Cruise, your new driving assistant
Autonomous driving is not yet a reality. The day when your vehicle will drive itself is not here yet. But more and more driving assistants are allowing you to enjoy a safer ride. That’s the case with Ford’s latest technology, the Blue Cruise system. Blue Cruise is a system that allows you to have your hands free while driving your Ford.
Be careful though, you have to stay alert, and the system is only available on previously registered roads. This is not insignificant since the network covers more than 300,000 kilometres, crossing Canada and the United States and even including some of Canada’s national parks.
A cutting-edge technology
To navigate, the Blue Cruise system uses cameras and radar detection. Building on the existing Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with stop and go, lane centering and speed sign recognition, Blue Cruise will allow the driver to drive hands-free.
However, the system will only activate on sections of divided highways pre-qualified for the “hands-free blue zone.” Obviously, this mapping will be extended to other roads over time.
When you’re behind the wheel, you don’t have to wonder for long if Blue Cruise can be activated. The system uses a blue light on the digital instrument cluster to indicate when the vehicle is in a hands-free zone.
Unlike other systems, the dashboard indicates that the feature is in hands-free mode with text and blue light signals that are effective even for colour-blind drivers. A visual message on the dashboard alerts the driver when he or she needs to return attention to the road and/or regain control of the vehicle.
Easy to use
The Blue Cruise system, while a marvel of technology, doesn’t require much driver knowledge. It is activated like a conventional cruise control system. All you have to do is press a button on the steering wheel. The selected speed can be increased or decreased in increments using plus/minus buttons, and it can be deactivated by pressing the brake and then resumed by another button. It also lets you choose how much distance you want to maintain from the vehicle in front of you.
But what sets it apart is its ability to take control of steering and keep you centered in your lane as long as its cameras can clearly see lane markers on a pre-qualified highway – and as long as you’re paying attention. A camera in the instrument cluster watches your eyes to make sure they stay on the road.
No need to get absorbed in reading your favourite newspaper. Safety first! The proof is that if you’re too engrossed in your infotainment screen or your passenger, and you turn your head too long, your Ford will give you a warning. Visually first, then with a sound. If you choose to ignore it, Blue Cruise will raise the tone, increase the volume of the alarm and eventually deactivate itself.
And Blue Cruise is effective in all road conditions. A dozen Ford vehicles went on a real rally across America, in all conditions, to test it. Even in the cold and snow!
Blue Cruise won’t really drive your car for you. But it will undoubtedly be a pleasant companion for long rides while guaranteeing the safety of your family.