Henry Ford helped millions of people lay hands on their first automobiles beginning more than 117 years ago. Today, his company is helping many more people take their hands off steering wheels by applying the same approach to democratizing technology to Ford’s state-of-the-art Active Drive Assist hands-free driver assist innovation.
Ford developed Active Drive Assist based on advanced computing of camera and radar sensing technologies to provide real-time hands-free driving opportunities. The technology also enables expanded hands-free driving zones in the future based on system and customer patterns.
The advanced new driver assist feature will arrive first on 2021 F-150 and 2021 Mustang Mach-E, included as standard on certain models or as relatively affordable option on others, with both vehicles becoming available to customers in late 2020. Ford expects to sell more than 100,000 F-150 and Mustang Mach-E equipped with Active Drive Assist technology hardware in their first year of alone based on company sales and take-rate projections.
“As breakthroughs in new technology allow us to help reduce the stress of long highway drives, it’s important to make sure these capabilities can be enjoyed by the largest spread of people possible,” said Hau Thai-Tang, chief product platform and operations officer, Ford Motor Company. “Active Drive Assist can help improve the driving experience while ensuring people remain aware and fully in control, all for a price unmatched by our competitors – a commitment to affordable innovations that has driven us since Henry Ford put the world on wheels.”
High tech priced right
When Active Drive Assist is not equipped as standard, it will be priced competitively, including:
- For F-150, Active Drive Assist will be available as a part of the Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 package for $1,595. The Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 package is standard on F-150 Limited and available as an option on Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum models.
- For Mustang Mach-E, it will come standard on CA Route 1, Premium and First Edition variants. It’s also available on Select trims for $3,200 as part of the larger Comfort and Technology package, which includes features such as a 360-degree camera, heated front seats and heated steering wheel.
For customers purchasing F-150 and Mustang Mach-E at this year’s launch, the hardware enabling Active Drive Assist – including forward-facing camera and radar sensors – will be available through the Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package, while customers choosing to purchase the software for $600 will receive it through an Over-the-Air Update in the third quarter of next year.
Over-the-Air Updates are quick and easy wireless upgrades that can help enhance quality, capability and improve the ownership experience over time while reducing dealer trips. This will be an early demonstration of the Ford system’s bumper-to-bumper update capability to wirelessly update nearly all vehicle computer models, enabling the addition of this type of complex innovations that require software upgrades to vehicle functions.
For example, early F-150 customers can purchase the prep package that includes the Active Drive Assist hardware and Active Park Assist 2.0 even more affordably for $895, which includes a $100 early adopter incentive. When Active Drive Assist is ready to launch with software updates, customers will then be able to purchase the software – plus a three-year service period – for $600 and receive it via Over-the-Air Update.
In the second half of 2021, new customers will be able to purchase the hardware and software together in the Ford Co-Pilot Active 2.0 package, without the need for an Over-the-Air Update to initiate the feature.
By offering innovative new technology on its most popular, mainstream nameplates, Ford expects to quickly expand the number of vehicles on the road equipped with hands-free driving technology based on company sales projections. This includes approximately 80 percent of Mustang Mach-E vehicles that are expected to be equipped with the technology.
Ford plans to continue adding mapped areas to Active Drive Assist in the future, enabling hands-free driving on even more roads and highways. After a three-year service period, customers can choose to purchase this competitively priced connected service to continue enjoying Active Drive Assist and receive new improvements via Over-the-Air Update.
How it works
Available Active Drive Assist builds upon available Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go Lane Centering and Speed Sign Recognition. It allows you to operate your vehicle hands-free while the driver is monitored by a driver-facing camera to make sure you’re keeping your eyes on the road, with the potential for more enhancements in the future. This feature is available on prequalified sections of divided highways called Hands-Free Zones that make up over 100,000 miles of North American roads.
An advanced driver-facing camera will track eye gaze and head position to ensure drivers are paying attention to the road while in Hands-Free Mode as well as when they’re using hands-on Lane Centering Mode, which works on any road with lane lines. Drivers will be notified by visual prompts on their instrument cluster when they need to return their attention to the road or resume control of the vehicle.
As part of the available Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 package, customers will also receive Active Park Assist 2.0, the latest iteration of park-assist technologies to give drivers some peace of mind when parking their F-150 or Mustang Mach-E. With Active Park Assist 2.0, simply holding a button will allow the vehicle to take control of parking in parallel and perpendicular spaces with ease. It also offers Park Out Assist with side-sensing capability so drivers can confidently navigate out of a parking spot when someone’s parked too close.
*Active Drive Assist is a hands-free highway driving feature. The Active Drive Assist Prep Kit contains the hardware required for this feature. Software for the feature will be available for purchase at a later date.
*Active Drive Assist functionality expected 3rd quarter 2021CY. Separate payment for feature software required to activate full functionality at that time.