Ford is going to offer its latest hands-free driver-assistance system with the new 2021 F-150 and Mustang Mach-E models but there’s a catch.
While customers will get the necessary hardware for the system to work with their new 2021 F-150 or Mustang Mach-E, either as standard equipment or an option on certain trims, Ford’s hands-free driver-assistance system won’t come online until the third quarter of 2021 via an over-the-air software patch.
Ford said that the new Active Drive Assist will be standard for the 2021 F-150 Limited and for the 2021 Mustang Mach-E CA Route 1, Premium, and First Edition models.
Here’s how much it will cost you
As for the rest of the F-150’s range, the hands-free driver assistance system will be a $1,595 option while Mustang Mach-E Select buyers can get it as part of the $3,200 Comfort and Technology Package, which also includes a 360-degree camera, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.
Ford will also offer the hardware for the Active Drive Assist, which includes a forward-facing camera and radar sensors among others, as a separate ‘prep package’ together with the Active Park Assist 2.0 for $895, which includes a $100 early adopter incentive.
Customers will then have to pay $600 for a three-year subscription for the software of the hands-free Active Drive Assist, when that is ready to launch, in which case they’ll receive it via an over-the-air update.
So to sum up, owners of upper level trim cars that already come equipped with the hardware as standard, will pay $600 for the software subscription. Otherwise, owners of lower trim levels will have to pay for the hardware (via options) and an additional $600 for the software.
“In the second half of 2021, new customers will be able to purchase the hardware and software together in the Ford Co-Pilot Active 2.0 package, without the need for an Over-the-Air Update to initiate the feature,” the company said in a statement.
Ford’s new Active Drive Assist system builds upon the existing adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function and the Lane Centering and Speed Sign recognition systems. The system will allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel on prequalified sections of divided highways, the so-called ‘Hands-Free Zones’ that make up over 100,000 miles of North American roads.
Ford’s new system also uses an advanced driver-facing camera that will track eye gaze and head position to make sure drivers are paying attention to the road while in Hands-Free mode, as well as when they are using the hands-on Lane Centering mode.
“As breakthroughs in new technology allow us to help reduce the stress of long highway drives, it’s important to make sure these capabilities can be enjoyed by the largest spread of people possible,” said Hau Thai-Tang, chief product platform, and operations officer, Ford Motor Company. “Active Drive Assist can help improve the driving experience while ensuring people remain aware and fully in control, all for a price unmatched by our competitors – a commitment to affordable innovations that has driven us since Henry Ford put the world on wheels.”
Ford expects to sell more than 100,000 F-150 and Mustang Mach-E equipped with Active Drive Assist technology hardware in their first year in the market.