Ford is taking on Tesla with its own advanced driving system that’ll debut with its first all-electric vehicle.
Ford’s Co-Pilot360 includes a hands-free driving experience called Active Drive Assist for more than 100,000 miles of highway throughout the U.S. and Canada. It was announced Thursday as the Autopilot equivalent for Ford’s upcoming Tesla Model Y competitor, the all-electric Mustang Mach-E. Other than a special first edition coming by the end of this year, the Mach-E goes is slated to arrive in 2021. Other new Ford vehicles will also offer the updated Co-Pilot360 driving system.
The new driving feature is similar to General Motors’ Super Cruise already in new Cadillacs in that it tracks the driver’s eye and head position. You have to pay attention, even when the car is driving itself. An infrared driver-facing camera tracks your eye gaze and head position and alerts you if you need to pay attention or take over driving. The camera still works with sunglasses.
Here’s an animation of the hands-free driving, which Ford made sure to point out is not available through Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistant. You have to keep your hands on the wheel at all times in any Tesla.
On a call with Ford representatives this week, a rep shared how the new system has been tested on more than 650,000 miles in every U.S. state and in all driving conditions from rainstorms to cloudy nights and sunny days. He emphasized you can take over at any point and that driver should be well aware when the car is in the automated mode.
Other features are part of the updated Co-Pilot system, like Lane Centering Mode, to keep you in the middle of the road. There’s also parking assistance as well as help with pulling out of a tight spot.
Pricing for the new driving assistance program wasn’t released yet, but it will also be available as an over-the-air update for eligible vehicles.
At least Ford’s version of Autopilot doesn’t have as misleading of a name.