Ford’s BlueCruise hands-free system under investigation after fatal crashes

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Federal information regulators person opened an investigation into Ford’s hands-free driver assistance system, BlueCruise, aft it was progressive during two caller crashes into stationary vehicles that killed aggregate people.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) said Monday that it has confirmed BlueCruise was progressive successful some crashes. One took spot successful February successful Texas, and nan different happened successful early April successful Pennsylvania. They are nan first-known fatalities resulting from crashes involving nan usage of BlueCruise.

The investigation into nan 2 crashes ratchets up nan scrutiny connected BlueCruise, which is presently disposable connected nan Mustang Mach-E, and definite Ford F-150s (including nan Lightning), Explorers, and Expeditions. The National Transportation Safety Board has already opened an investigation into nan Texas crash. Ford did not instantly respond to a petition for comment.

The caller probe comes conscionable days aft ODI closed its astir high-profile driver-assistance investigation to date into Tesla’s Autopilot. The information agency initially opened that probe successful 2021 aft aggregate reports of Teslas crashing into stationary emergency vehicles while nan drivers were utilizing Autopilot. In closing nan investigation, ODI said past week that it wished a “critical information spread betwixt drivers’ expectations of [Autopilot’s] operating capabilities and nan system’s existent capabilities” created “foreseeable misuse and avoidable crashes.”

Ford announced BlueCruise successful 2021. It is only disposable connected pre-mapped highways, and Ford pairs it pinch a camera-based driver monitoring strategy that checks whether drivers’ eyes are still connected nan roadworthy erstwhile nan strategy is active. Those correspond overmuch tighter constraints connected nan strategy than Tesla puts connected nan usage of Autopilot. But while it’s highly-rated by some, including Consumer Reports, nan caller crashes and resulting investigations propose location whitethorn beryllium a much basal problem pinch precocious driver assistance systems than immoderate of these companies are consenting to admit.