Ford’s BlueCruise first to allow full speed hands-free driving in UK

Ford has managed to become the first car manufacturer to launch hands-free semi-autonomous highway driving at full speed in Europe, with the introduction of BlueCruise on the UK Mustang Mach-E. 95% of British highways are covered in the so-called ‘Blue Zones’, but the functionality doesn’t come for free.

UK owners of a MY23 Ford Mustang Mach-E (built after November 3rd, 2022) now have the option of becoming the first Europeans to experience full-speed hands-free highway driving thanks to Ford’s BlueCruise driver assistance tech (not to be confused with GM’s SuperCruise).

£17,99 per month

After getting approval in April, Ford has made BlueCruise available for customers for a monthly fee of £17,99 (approx. €20,86). When they enter a so-called ‘Blue Zone’ covering 95% of Great Britain’s highways, the car’s dashboard flashes blue, indicating that BlueCruise can be enabled.

For those who want to try before they buy, Ford also offers a 90-day free trial to get acquainted with the system. Older Mach-E models with the Tech Pack or Tech Pack+ will likely get a software update to enable BlueCruise somewhere in the future.

While this full-speed hands-free driving is a first in Europe, it does come with some limitations. Drivers still have to keep their eyes on the road at all times to be able to take over control when needed, and autonomous lane changes are not yet allowed according to the UK’s regulations.

The first… in some ways

Ford is also not the first to enable autonomous driving on public roads in Europe. Back in 2022, Mercedes got permission from the German authorities to enable its Drive Pilot on the Autobahn during traffic jams in the S-Class and EQS models.

The difference here is that Drive Pilot is legally limited to 60 kph, but it does allow you to take your eyes off the road, making it a level 3 autonomous driving system compared to Ford’s level 2 BlueCruise. BMW and Porsche have announced that they, too, will enable hands-free driving on select models on UK highways from 2024.

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