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Ford takes on Tesla with hands-free driving for electric mustang

Bloomberg June 18 | Updated on June 18, 2020 Published on June 18, 2020

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Ford Motor Co plans to install a hands-free driving system on its electric Mustang Mach-E model coming later this year as it attempts to muscle in on the high-tech turf now dominated by Tesla Inc.

The car-makers system won’t be operational until the second half of 2021, but buyers of the first Mach-E models rolling off the line in Mexico later this year can opt for hardware that will enable it. The software that brings the Active Drive Assist feature to life must be purchased separately when it becomes available late next year, the company said.

The automaker is taking on Teslas Autopilot and Detroit rival General Motor Co’s Super Cruise. Both allow highway drivers to take their hands off the wheel, though theyre expected to keep their eyes focused on the road. Ford touted its technology as more advanced since it uses multiple infrared cameras trained on the driver to monitor eye movement -- even through sunglasses.

That is critical because drivers with hands-free systems are easily distracted but must remain alert enough to grab the wheel at a moments notice, Darren Palmer, Fords global director of battery electric vehicles, told reporters in a June 17 briefing.

Our research has shown us that after something like seven minutes of the car driving itself, humans will start to trust the system and consider doing other tasks, maybe texting or looking around, he said. No cars on sale are autonomous.

Ford said the technology will work on more than 100,000 miles of divided highways in the Untied States (US) and Canada. It didnt provide pricing for the optional Mach-E hardware and software.

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Published on June 18, 2020
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