Ford BlueCruise Driver Assist Technology
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NHTSA Investigates Ford BlueCruise After Fatal Accidents

Published May 4, 2024 at 6:44 PM

The recent investigation launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has cast Ford's BlueCruise system into the spotlight. Following two fatal accidents involving Ford Mustang Mach-E vehicles, questions have arisen regarding the safety and reliability of automated driving systems.

The NHTSA probe is currently limited to the Mustang Mach-E, specifically focusing on its implementation of the BlueCruise technology, which is categorized as a Level 2 driver assistance system. The agency aims to evaluate the system's capacity to recognize and respond to the surrounding environment, as well as its ability to monitor driver attentiveness.

The tragic accidents both occurred under similar circumstances: the Ford Mustang Mach-E SUVs reportedly failed to detect and stop for stationary vehicles on the road during the night. The first crash, in Texas this past February, was followed by another fatal incident in Pennsylvania, resulting in three deaths altogether. Despite BlueCruise technology being available in various Ford and Lincoln models, the probe centers on how this particular system performed in the Mustang Mach-E.

Ford's BlueCruise theoretically permits drivers to remove their hands from the wheel for extended periods, provided they stay focused on the road using the system's driver monitoring features. However, these incidents have raised questions regarding the reliability of the system's sensors and whether its measures are sufficient for maintaining safety, particularly in complex nighttime driving scenarios.

Ford has shown its willingness to work alongside NHTSA, stating that it is working with NHTSA to support its investigation, according to TechCrunch. The company remains committed to scrutinizing the system's performance and addressing any concerns.

This investigation is not occurring in isolation, as NHTSA has recently initiated a similar probe into Tesla's Autopilot and Autosteer systems due to comparable concerns over safety. With public and governmental scrutiny intensifying, it's clear that the automotive industry needs rigorous testing and effective regulations to ensure that advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are as safe as promised.

These incidents are a stark reminder of the potential risks associated with automated driving technology. As the NHTSA's findings are awaited, it's anticipated that this investigation may prompt significant regulatory changes, reshaping how such systems are implemented and potentially setting new safety standards across the industry.

The Verge
May 4   |   2 answers
NHTSA Investigates Ford BlueCruise After Fatal Accidents

Do you think Ford BlueCruise requires stricter regulations after the recent safety probe?

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