Ford released a new video of its BlueCruise hands-free driving system earlier today. It didn’t come with a straightforward approach, either as the company’s CEO, Jim Farley, took a jab at Tesla in a Tweet that highlighted the new driver assistance feature.
Ford’s BlueCruise is the legacy automaker’s crack at a semi-autonomous driving functionality that aims to increase driver safety on the roads. Tested over a fleet of Ford vehicles that include the Ford F-150 pickup and the Mustang Mach-E, Ford employees accumulated over 100,000 miles of travel while using BlueCruise. Compared to other semi-autonomous driving features currently available on the market, Tesla Autopilot has been used for an estimated 22.5 billion, yes billion, miles of driving through its testing. This has been accumulated through the use of Tesla’s owners to improve the Autopilot and Full Self-Driving suites’ performance that the automaker offers to customers. Basic Autopilot is included with all Tesla vehicles, while Full Self-Driving currently costs $10,000.
To test BlueCruise’s capabilities while traveling on the road, Ford performed the Mother of All Road Trips, or MOART, as it referred to the testing phase. It wasn’t a matter of testing the features on clean, dry roads, either. Ford drivers inevitably hit severe weather during the massive trek across some of the United States’ most popular highways and interstates, ensuring its confidence while traveling through some of the more challenging terrains and road conditions that can provide some motor vehicle operators with headaches.
The reason Ford chose to have its employees operate the testing scenario instead of its real-world owners is unknown. However, criticisms of Tesla’s use of its owners to test the Full Self-Driving Beta seems to be the subject of Ford CEO Jim Farley, who tweeted that “We [Ford] tested it in the real world, so our customers don’t have to.”
Recently, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated that Tesla’s use of its real-world owners to test its FSD Beta was a “potential risk to motorists and other road users,” according to a note written by NTSB chief Robert Sumwalt, according to CNBC. However, drivers have essentially pleaded as to why they should be included in the testing phase. Tesla owners are never required to utilize Autopilot or the FSD Beta if they do not want to. Owners have called for an expansion of Tesla’s Beta program in several cases, and it has led to CEO Elon Musk nearly doubling the size of the testing group. Tesla has also removed owners from the FSD Beta testing sequence if they did not utilize it properly.
Ford’s BlueCruise will vary depending on the vehicle that is being driven. It will cost $1,595 in the F-150 pickup and $3,200 in the Mach-E, Fox Autos said. It will require a three-year, $600 subscription to connected service in the all-electric Mach-E and will be updated through Over-the-Air software updates.