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Home / Features / I used Ford’s BlueCruise driver assistance on a road trip and I’m excited for self-driving

I used Ford’s BlueCruise driver assistance on a road trip and I’m excited for self-driving

This more basic hands-off driving is impressive, and it gives me an exciting look at the future of self-driving that's around the corner.

Blue Ford Mach E driving on motorway at night

When it comes to EVs, I’m very much in the middle-of-the-road. No pun intended. The cool tech inside, one-pedal driving, and the foot-down launches all compel me to buy one. The range and the charging experience completely turn me off. But we’re not talking about any of that right now, instead we’re looking at self-driving. Or, at least, how it’s presented at the moment. I got behind the wheel of the Mach-E (one of the best EVs) to test out BlueCruise on a road trip.

It’s Ford’s advanced version of cruise control, where it promises you can take your hands off the wheel. The tech is rather impressive, and it shows me that we’re getting closer to actual self-driving in the UK.

Henry’s got the wheel… so you don’t have to

BlueCruise is Ford‘s advanced driver assistance system. In fact, this tech was one of the first Level 2 hands-free advanced driver assistance systems to arrive in the UK. It offers a compelling reason to get behind the wheel of the Mach-E.

When activated, BlueCruise monitors road markings, speed signs and evolving traffic conditions. It uses an array of five radars to detect and track the position and speed of other vehicles on the road. It also uses a forward-facing camera to detect lane markings and speed signs. You can switch BlueCruise on across 2300 miles of pre-mapped motorways across the UK – designated Blue Zones, as acknowledged by Highways England. Oh, and while the tech comes included for three months, the BlueCruise subscription will set you back an extra £17.99 a month.

That’s pretty advanced stuff, but similar to Tesla’s Autopilot or Polestar’s Pilot Assist. However, in promo material, Ford advertises BlueCruise as “hands-off driving”. And that sounds a lot more like self-driving. So to try this out, I got behind the Mach-E and let BlueCruise take the lead on a road trip.

Ford's Adaptive Cruise Control in action on a motorway

Ford’s self-driving tech here does exactly what it describes. When you’re on one of the roads in the Blue Zones, you can continue the drive with your hands off the wheel… as long as you keep your eyes on the road. The car monitors where you’re looking and will alert you to take control if you’re not looking at the road. The idea here is to make sure you’re still aware of the road, so you can take over if required. It will only work up to 80mph, and won’t help you change lanes. But you can go with your hands off the wheel for as long as you’re in a Blue Zone.

When you can’t use BlueCruise, you get and advanced version of Adaptive Cruise Control. Here, you need to keep your hands on the wheel. If you do take your hands off the wheel, you’re promptly reminded to put them back – lest a loud beeping chastises you, before eventually requiring you to take control. Things are like other Adaptive Cruise Controls, which plenty of cars can do, and have been able to do for a while.

Interestingly, the in-car settings on the Mach-E don’t actually mention BlueCruise. In fact, there’s no mention of the feature name, just Adaptive Cruise Control. But BlueCruise is a rather impressive feat. It’s excellent at reacting to traffic around you, even when someone cuts in front of you. And it does a great job at sticking to its lanes. It won’t help you change lanes like Tesla or Polestar’s offerings, so isn’t quite so smart. But it makes up for this by letting your drive with your hands off the wheel.

Self-driving is right around the corner

Plenty of cars use more advanced tech across the pond in the US, but additional safety restrictions in the UK have meant things need to be further developed. Have you seen videos of Teslas zipping about in the full self-driving beta? That’s where self-driving is heading.

Since we can’t get our hands on this on these shores for now, BlueCruise is an exciting look at the future of self-driving that’s right around the corner. And it’s making EVs more compelling than ever.

Profile image of Connor Jewiss Connor Jewiss


Connor is a writer for Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website. He has been writing for around seven years now, with writing across the web and in print too. Connor has experience on most major platforms, though does hold a place in his heart for macOS, iOS/iPadOS, electric vehicles, and smartphone tech. Just like everyone else around here, he’s a fan of gadgets of all sorts! Aside from writing, Connor is involved in the startup scene. This exciting involvement puts him at the front of new and exciting tech, always on the lookout for innovating products.

Areas of expertise

Mobile, macOS, EVs, smart home

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