According to Ford, the Active Drive Assist system enables hands-free calling on more than 100,000 miles of shared highways in the United States and Canada.
Ford Motor followed Tesla in many ways when it came to the Mustang Mach-E, its new battery electric vehicle, but CEO Jim Farley took to Twitter Thursday to show that Ford has nothing to do with Tesla when it comes to that is going to test driverless technology with customers as Guinea pigs on public roads.
In a tweet about Ford’s upcoming hands-free freeway driving system, Farley said, “BlueCruise! We’ve tested it in the real world so our customers don’t have to.”
The news was a sting at Tesla and CEO Elon Musk.
In October 2020, Tesla released a beta version of its premium driver assistance system, which the company markets to customers as “Full Self-Driving” or FSD.
Only some customers who purchase the FSD option will have access to the beta version to test the latest features that will be added to the system before all bugs are fixed. The company announced that it had previously rolled out the FSD beta for 2,000 drivers but had revoked access for some drivers who allegedly hadn’t been paying proper attention to the road.
In his last update on Twitter on April 9, Musk said that Tesla “is almost done with FSD Beta V9.0. The improvement in step changes is massive, especially in weird corner cases and bad weather. All vision, no radar.”
Despite its brand name, the FSD system is unable to control a Tesla vehicle in all normal driving conditions. Tesla told California-based DMV late last year, according to records from CNBC and others, that “neither autopilot nor FSD capability is an autonomous system.”
Tesla is being criticized in the US for the Full Self Driving brand name, and a German court banned Tesla from using the terms autopilot and full self-driving in advertising because they overestimated the capabilities of a Tesla vehicle.
There have also been several accidents involving Teslas recently, leading to federal investigations into whether driver assistance technology may have contributed to or caused the collisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced last month it had opened 27 investigations into accidents involving Tesla vehicles, 23 of which are still active, according to Reuters.
According to Ford, the BlueCruise system will be released later this year on the 2021 Ford F-150 and the 2021 Mustang Mach-E after more than 500,000 miles of development testing and fine-tuning.
Similar to General Motors’ Super Cruise, Ford’s system promises fewer capabilities than Tesla’s FSD system. At Ford, however, the driver does not have to “check in” by touching the steering wheel. Instead, a camera-based system in the vehicle monitors the driver’s eyes and attention to the road.
Use of Ford and GM systems is also limited to certain pre-mapped highways in the US and Canada. Tesla does not restrict the use of Autopilot and FSD or FSD Beta in the same way.