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Ford's Mustang Mach-E Gets Two New Features On Its BlueCruise Hands-Free Driving System

Ford is launching the much-anticipated new version of its BlueCruise hands-free driver assistance technology, with the 2023 Mustang Mach-E the first vehicle from the automaker to feature version 1.2. The update brings automatic Lane Change Assist support to BlueCruise, allowing the electric crossover to move between lanes after the driver taps the indicator stalk.

The feature works both when BlueCruise is in hands-on and hands-off modes. The former requires the driver be on part of the pre-mapped, divided highways that Ford calls "Blue Zones"; they're the areas in which the driver-attention camera can track the vehicle operator at the wheel, ensuring they're paying attention and ready to resume driving even if their hands aren't on the controls.

Outside of those "Blue Zones," BlueCruise works as a more familiar Level 2 advanced driver assistance (ADAS) system. It combines adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping, but requires the driver keep their hands on the wheel in order for the system to remain operational.

Ford's second new feature in BlueCruise v1.2 is Lane Repositioning. That, the automaker says, was added in response to owner requests, offsetting the car in the lane when there's a larger vehicle such as a truck adjacent to them. It'll be an on-off setting to the driver, though the offset itself will vary depending on the situation. Sometimes, it could be a matter of inches, a Ford spokesperson explained to SlashGear; other times the shift will be more noticeable, and there'll be an accompanying graphic on the driver display to explain what's happening.

Predictive Speed Assist is also included in the update, again working in both hands-on and hands-off modes. It'll slow the car subtly as you enter a curve — mimicking, Ford says, the behavior human drivers typically exhibit — though it can be overruled on a curve-by-curve basis, or disabled altogether. BlueCruise v1.2 also improves lane centering, Ford says.

Although far from what would be considered true autonomous driving — a fact Ford has been upfront about from the beginning — BlueCruise (and its Lincoln ActiveGlide cousin) has generally met with a positive response. While GM's Super Cruise may have beaten BlueCruise to both automatic lane changes and lane-offsets, that hasn't stopped Ford's system from getting the overall nod in high-profile ADAS comparisons earlier this year.

BlueCruise v1.2 is available now on new 2023 Mustang Mach-E EVs, with Lincoln's Corsair expected to follow shortly. As for existing owners, Ford says it's planning an over-the-air (OTA) update for those cars later this year; that, as with other BlueCruise and ActiveGlide updates, will be free for cars within their original warranty period.

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