SAN ANTONIO — Throughout our first drive of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, we had the chance to check out its BlueCruise superior driver help characteristic. Like GM’s Tremendous Cruise, Ford BlueCruise permits you to take your fingers off the wheel on sure, preordained stretches of limited-access, divided freeway.
To date, BlueCruise is just out there on choose fashions, specifically the Ford Mustang Mach-E and 2022 F-150. (The Lincoln model, known as ActiveGlide, can also be out there within the 2022 Navigator). Now the F-150 Lightning — the model’s high-tech however in any other case acquainted foray into the nascent electrical pickup market — additionally affords BlueCruise. For this truck, BlueCruise comes as commonplace gear within the range-topping Platinum trim, and can also be out there as an choice within the Lariat.
From a technical perspective, BlueCruise makes use of the car’s GPS and navigation knowledge to know the place it may be activated. It makes use of adaptive cruise management, lane-centering and street signal recognition software program — in addition to the forward-facing digicam and radar hardware that powers them, to steer, speed up and brake the car, protecting it in its lane and a protected following distance behind some other autos forward. Contained in the car, cameras on the driving force’s aspect A-pillar and simply to the left of the infotainment display on the sprint monitor your gaze to be sure to’re taking note of the street and stay able to retake management of the steering.
Right here’s the way it works from a sensible standpoint: First, you must activate adaptive cruise management. Whenever you’re on a predetermined, geofenced a part of the freeway the place the system is allowed to activate (Ford dubs these “Blue Zones,” of which there are 130,000 miles in North America thus far), a message on the left aspect of the instrument panel will let you recognize you may take your fingers off the wheel.
BlueCruise labored nicely throughout our drive of the F-150 Lightning, protecting us in our lane whereas we relaxed with our fingers in our lap. The truck would gently wander within the broad lane a bit, however saved a protected berth from the lane markers, and we didn’t discover ourselves intervening until one other automobile started encroaching upon our lane. Identical to if you use hands-on adaptive cruise management, BlueCruise will preserve the pace and following distance.
Not like GM’s Tremendous Cruise, although, there isn’t any lighting system on the highest of the wheel to brightly point out the system’s standing. It was not all the time visually apparent when it could be on the prepared or want you to take over, particularly when our eyes had been centered a long way down the street, far above and past the instrument panel. There was a message on the sprint, and a imprecise audio chime. That may particularly take one off guard when the system cuts out and reverts to adaptive cruise contrl mode and not using a constant purpose as to why the required BlueCruise standards had been not met. We desire the extra apparent cues of Tremendous Cruise, as they assist forestall any confusion, and permit us to raised benefit from the system when it’s prepared.
There are another limitations, after all. There are the various roads the place it’s merely not allowed to work, for one, and we discovered it asking us to take over after we had been close to sure interchanges or exit ramps. That downside will enhance over time. To date, BlueCruise is unable to carry out computerized lane modifications the way in which methods like GM’s Tremendous Cruise and Hyundai/Kia’s hands-on Freeway Driving Help II do. It is ready to resume rapidly after you manually change lanes, nevertheless. Lastly, the system ceases to function at 82 miles per hour.
As all automakers do, Ford will always enhance its driver help tech over time, and we doubt it is going to be lengthy earlier than extra Blue Zone miles are added, and options like auto lane change are applied. Many autos these days, the Lightning included, are able to over-the-air updates, so that you received’t have to purchase the latest fashions to get pleasure from a few of these future upgrades.