In 2021, Ford’s driver-assistance feature, formerly known as ActiveGlide in its Lincoln models, secured the runner-up position in the competition for Level 2 hands-free driving systems, coming in behind GM’s Super Cruise. The updated version, BlueCruise 1.2, has now been released for 2023. Initial impressions suggested that without hardware modifications, the updated system would likely disappoint. Contrary to expectations, the system demonstrated significant improvements.
Detailed Look at the Lincoln Corsair
Two road tests were conducted to investigate the advancements.
Ford BlueCruise 1.2: Enhanced Lane Stability
The original BlueCruise suffered from an inability to maintain a stable position within its lane, leading to continual adjustments from the steering wheel even on straight roads. However, the newly updated software eliminates this erratic behavior.
While traveling to a family cottage, the dashboard indicated that BlueCruise was available. A simple tap of the cruise control initiated the system. The interface, displaying a blue-themed Lincoln driving down a similarly colored road, was more visually engaging than its predecessor and provided clearer information regarding the car’s current status, outpacing even Super Cruise in this regard.
The system executed flawless driving without requiring manual intervention for over an hour, even during turns which would have previously caused the system to relinquish control.
Limitations of BlueCruise 1.2 in Traffic Management
BlueCruise’s performance in heavy traffic still requires refinement. The system is not as adept at anticipating traffic conditions as Super Cruise and lacks the smoothness in applying brakes or throttle in stop-and-go scenarios. Thus, manual intervention was necessary to avoid causing motion sickness, particularly for passengers sensitive to such conditions like my spouse, Karen.
Technical Shortcomings: GPS and Lane Awareness
While Super Cruise utilizes high-definition GPS, BlueCruise relies on standard GPS and camera data to determine vehicle positioning. This limitation makes it difficult for the system to identify the exact lane the vehicle occupies, especially in heavy traffic.
Lane Change Capabilities: Not Fully Autonomous
BlueCruise now offers the ability to change lanes but requires manual engagement. The system requires the driver to signal for a lane change, and even after successfully changing lanes, the vehicle continues to drive in the new lane until further signaled to return.
Safety Measures: Shoulder Hugging
BlueCruise 1.2 now incorporates a safety feature that temporarily moves the vehicle towards the road shoulder when passing other cars, providing additional space between the vehicles. This feature seems more aggressive in Ford’s system compared to Super Cruise.
Construction Zone Awareness: A Point of Concern
BlueCruise does not currently recognize construction zones, which poses a safety risk. Super Cruise, by contrast, is equipped to identify such zones and deactivate itself, compelling the driver to resume control.
Sunset Sensitivity: An Ongoing Issue
The system continues to face challenges during sunset conditions, leading to alerts requesting driver attention even when the driver is fully focused on the road.
Towing and Tunnel Limitations
Hands-free driving is not currently possible with BlueCruise while towing or traversing tunnels, a limitation not found in Super Cruise.
Future Prospects: BlueCruise 1.2 Reflects Tangible Advancements, But Room for Improvement Persists
Ford is already developing BlueCruise 1.3, which promises to further refine the system’s capabilities. While BlueCruise 1.2 has made remarkable strides over its predecessor, it continues to lag behind Super Cruise in several key areas. However, the rapid advancements in Level 2 and even Level 3 driving systems suggest this landscape could change dramatically in the near future.
Note: An error in the original article, which stated that Super Cruise does not shift towards the shoulder while passing another vehicle, has been corrected.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ford BlueCruise 1.2 Review
What is the main focus of the review?
The main focus of the review is to provide a comprehensive analysis of Ford’s updated BlueCruise 1.2, a Level 2 hands-free driver-assist system. The review covers the system’s improvements, functionalities, and comparative performance against GM’s Super Cruise.
How does Ford’s BlueCruise 1.2 differ from its previous version?
The BlueCruise 1.2 offers significant enhancements over its predecessor, such as smoother steering, less “ping-pong” action within the lane, and a visually appealing interface. It also adds new features like the ability to move over when passing another vehicle.
Does BlueCruise 1.2 perform better than GM’s Super Cruise?
While the review acknowledges that BlueCruise 1.2 has narrowed the gap with GM’s Super Cruise, it maintains that Super Cruise still holds the lead. BlueCruise 1.2 does introduce some features that surpass those of Super Cruise, but there are also areas where it lags behind, particularly in traffic awareness and smoothness of braking.
Can BlueCruise 1.2 handle lane changes?
Yes, BlueCruise 1.2 can handle lane changes, but it requires driver engagement for initiation. Unlike Super Cruise, which automatically assesses the situation and changes lanes, BlueCruise requires the driver to tap the turn signal stalk to initiate the lane change.
What are the limitations of BlueCruise 1.2?
The system still lacks a high-definition GPS receiver and relies on radar map data rather than lidar. It also struggles in scenarios like stop-and-go traffic, construction zones, and during sunsets. It cannot be used for towing or driving through tunnels.
Is Ford planning further updates to the BlueCruise system?
Yes, a version 1.3 of BlueCruise is already in the works. This upcoming version is expected to improve the system’s performance in handling tighter curves and in positioning the vehicle even more accurately.
Was there an error correction in the review?
Yes, the review was updated to correct an error stating that GM’s Super Cruise doesn’t move over to hug the shoulder while passing another vehicle. In fact, it does, but to a lesser extent than Ford’s BlueCruise.
More about Ford BlueCruise 1.2 Review
- Ford’s Official BlueCruise Page
- General Motors Super Cruise Overview
- Level 2 Automation Explained
- Comparative Analysis of Driver-Assist Systems
- Automotive Radar and Lidar Technologies
- Understanding Vehicle GPS Systems