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Ford’s BlueCruise Hands-Free System Faces Scrutiny After Tragic Accidents

ByHuey Yee Ong

May 2, 2024

Ford’s BlueCruise Hands-Free System Faces Scrutiny After Tragic Accidents

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation into Ford’s hands-free driver-assistance system, BlueCruise, following its involvement in two fatal crashes.

This investigation highlights growing concerns over the safety of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) like BlueCruise, which was operational during both incidents—one in Texas in February and another in Pennsylvania in early April. These are the first reported fatalities associated with the BlueCruise system.

BlueCruise was introduced by Ford in 2021 and is integrated into several models, including the Mustang Mach-E, and specific versions of the Ford F-150, Explorer, and Expedition. The system is designed to operate hands-free but is restricted to pre-mapped highways. Additionally, it incorporates a camera-based monitoring system that ensures the driver’s eyes remain on the road while it is active.

The scrutiny of BlueCruise has intensified following these incidents, with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also opening an investigation into the Texas crash. Ford has expressed its cooperation with NHTSA’s ongoing investigation, indicating a proactive stance towards addressing potential safety issues.

This probe into BlueCruise comes shortly after the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), a branch of NHTSA, concluded another significant investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system. In that case, the ODI identified a discrepancy between the expected and actual capabilities of Autopilot, which led to predictable misuse and subsequent crashes. This investigation initially began in 2021 following multiple collisions involving Teslas that encountered stationary emergency vehicles while Autopilot was engaged.

Despite being highly regarded by entities like Consumer Reports, the recent fatal crashes involving BlueCruise raise critical questions about the inherent safety challenges posed by ADAS. These events underscore the potential risks of relying on systems that may not yet fully account for all driving conditions and scenarios.

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Featured Image courtesy of Ford

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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