SAN ANTONIO – During our first drive of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, we had the opportunity to test its BlueCruise Advanced Driver Assistance features. Like GM’s Super Cruise, the Ford BlueCruise allows you to remove your hand from the fixed, predefined extended wheel of a limited-access, split highway.
So far, BlueCruise is only available in select models, such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the 2022 F-150. (Also available in the Lincoln version, also known as ActiveGlide, 2022 Navigator). Now the F-150 Lightning – a brand of high-tech but otherwise well-known brand in the new electric pickup market – also offers BlueCruise. For this truck, the BlueCruise Range-topping Platinum Trim comes as standard equipment and is available as an alternative to the Loria.
From a technical standpoint, BlueCruise uses car GPS and navigation data to find out where it can be activated. It uses adaptive cruise control, lane-centering and road sign recognition software – as well as front-facing camera and radar hardware that enables their vehicle to steer, accelerate and brake, leaving it in its lane and following a safe rear. Any other vehicle in front. Inside the car, the driver’s side A-column camera and dash infotainment monitor your vision just to the left of the screen so you’re focused on the road and ready to regain steering control.
Here’s how it works from a practical standpoint: First, you need to enable adaptive cruise control. When you’re in a predefined, geofenced part of the highway where the system is allowed to activate (Ford calls these “blue zones” blue zones, “which still have 130,000 miles in North America), a message device panel on the left will tell you that you You can take your hand off the wheel.
The Blue Cruise did a great job driving our F-150 Lightning, keeping us in our lanes while resting our hands on our laps. The truck would gently rotate a bit in the wide lane, but kept a safe berth from the lane marker, and we could not intervene until another vehicle began to enter our lane. Just as you use the hand-on adaptive cruise control, BlueCruise will maintain speed and follow-up distance.
Unlike GM’s Super Cruise, however, there is no lighting on the wheels to illuminate the state of the system. It wasn’t always obvious when it would be ready or when you would need to take it in hand, especially when our eyes were fixed on something far down the street, far above and outside the instrument panel. There was a message in the dash, and a vague audio chime. This can be especially cautious when the system is disconnected and returns to adaptive cruise control mode without a compelling reason why the required bluecruise criteria are no longer met. We like the super clear cruise signals, as they help to avoid any confusion and allow us to take better advantage of the system when it is ready.
There are some other limitations, of course. There are many roads where it is not only allowed to work, for one, and when we see that we are near a certain interchange or exit ramp it tells us to occupy. That problem will improve over time. So far, BlueCruise has been unable to change lanes automatically, as systems like GM’s Super Cruise and Hyundai / Kia’s hands-on Highway Driving Assist II do. Although it is able to restart quickly after you change lanes manually. Eventually, the system stopped working at speeds of up to 82 miles per hour.
As with all automakers, Ford will continue to improve its driver assistance technology over time, and we suspect that it will be a long time before features like adding more Blue Zone miles and auto lane changes are implemented. Many vehicles nowadays, including Lightning, are capable of over-the-air updates, so you don’t have to buy new models to enjoy some future upgrades.