Ford’s Level 2 self-driving car approved for UK market
The UK has become the first country in Europe to approve semi-autonomous cruising as a driver assist function on Ford’s Mustang Mach-E has been cleared for use by the Department of Transport.
The car maker’s latest electric car model offers an optional extra to its Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control systems (for a monthly £18 subscription) allowing drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel while the car drives itself in designated, geo-fenced ‘blue zones’ following approval from the Department for Transport.
The Blue Cruise system – already launched in parts of the US and Canada last year, uses radars and cameras to track road markings and other vehicles, and an infra-red camera in the car to ensure the driver’s eyes remain on the road ahead.
The £50,000 car can automatically brake, accelerate and reposition in a lane but will sound a warning and slow down if it detects the driver is not paying attention to the road, or if it leaves the motorway.
The feature will be usable on designated motorway roads – in England, Scotland and Wales including on the M25 and the M40.
Like Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control systems, BlueCruise will keep pace with other vehicles (up to the set speed and to a limit of 80mph), slow down with traffic and adjust speed according to road signs.
The features are categorised as Level 2 autonomy, defined as partial automation – with full autonomy classified as Level 5.
The UK’s Department of Transport announced a year ago that it was making updates to its set of driving rules, The Highway Code, to ensure that self-driving cars are introduced safely on public roads.
Last month we also reported how Toyota was updating its crash test simulations for automated driving.
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