Ford Mustang Mach-E to feature hands-free driving

Ford’s telling potential Tesla Model Y buyers its Mustang Mach-E is a better highway cruiser due to its available hands-free driving.

Tesla may have been in the electric vehicle business for longer but Ford’s making the case that its upcoming Mustang Mach-E is more technologically advanced than its Tesla Model Y rival.

Ford is touting its new Co-Pilot360 technology suite which includes features the Model Y doesn’t, including hands-free driving.

Called Active Drive Assist, the hands-free technology uses a driver-facing infrared camera that tracks the driver’s head position and eye gaze, even accounting for sunglasses.

The Level 2 autonomous driving feature allows for hands-free driving on more than 160,000km of divided highways in all 50 US states and Canada, working in tandem with the Mach-E’s adaptive cruise control and lane-centering assist.

Don’t sit back and read a book just yet, though – the feature does require you to keep your eyes on the road. If you need to take over driving again, the Mach-E will notify you via a prompt in the instrument cluster.

Active Drive Assist hardware will appear across the entire Mustang Mach-E range as part of the Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package.

The software itself won’t be available for use until an over-the-air update in the third quarter of next year and Mach-E owners will need to purchase it.

Ford plans to roll out Active Drive Assist to some other 2021 model year Fords.

Mach-Es with the prep package also include the latest version of Ford’s Active Park Assist. It includes Park Out Assist, which can help drivers navigate out of parking spots where somebody’s parked too close.

Other notable features include Road Edge Detection, which senses the edge of a lane where there’s no visible lane-marking, and a blind-spot monitoring system that nudges the steering wheel if it detects you’re about to veer in front of an approaching vehicle.

The Co-Pilot360 technology suite also features lane-keeping assist, adaptive high-beam, rear-cross traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control with stop and go and traffic sign recognition.

The autonomous emergency braking system also includes reverse braking and can detect oncoming traffic when turning left at an intersection.

Ford’s made no secret of its intention to target potential Model Y buyers, as this chart lays bare. Besides the absence of hands-free driving in the Model Y, Tesla’s crossover also lacks rear cross-traffic alert. It’s a surprising omission considering how common the feature has become in mainstream vehicles.

While the Model Y has been confirmed for an Australian launch, Ford has yet to commit to introducing the Mustang Mach-E here.