Ford is serious about making the 2021 Mustang Mach-E its most high-tech vehicle to date. The electric crossover will inaugurate a technology named Active Drive Assist that will allow drivers to safely and legally take both hands off the steering wheel when the right conditions are met. It won’t turn the Mach-E into an autonomous car, however.
Bundled into a suite of electronic driving aids named Co-Pilot360, Active Drive Assist is an evolution of adaptive cruise control with lane-centering designed to take over on divided highways. The system relies on cameras, radars, and sensors to scope out the road ahead, but Ford’s approach to the technology is similar to Cadillac’s because it only works on pre-mapped highways. This safety-first solution ensures the car knows exactly where there’s a bend or a hill, but it also means motorists won’t be able to use Active Drive Assist if they’re traveling on a road that the technology doesn’t know. Ford already mapped over 100,000 miles of highways in all 50 states and in Canada.
Active Drive Assist won’t allow users to hop in the back seat for a quick nap or catch up on Stranger Things. Ford installed a driver-facing camera that tracks head position and eye gaze to confirm the driver is paying attention to the road ahead. The technology issues visual and audible warnings if it detects the driver is distracted.
Co-Pilot360 will also include blind spot assist, road edge detection, lane-keeping assist, intersection assist, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, post-collision braking, and a reverse sensing system. Some of these features will come standard on the Mustang Mach-E, while others will be offered at an extra cost.
Active Drive Assist will be available in the third quarter of 2021, so about a year after Ford begins production of the Mustang Mach-E. Early customers who want the feature will need to order a prep package, and they’ll receive the software when it’s ready via an over-the-air update. Ford dealers will be equipped to manually upload it, too.
Every variant of the Mustang Mach-E will be eligible to receive Active Drive Assist, though pricing will be announced closer to its availability date. It will be offered on other 2021 models as well.