In-Car Tech

Ford Co-Pilot360 adds hands-free driving capability, other high-tech innovations

Software monitors whether or not the driver is watching the road while the technology is employed.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology, a suite of numerous driver-assist features is adding Active Drive Assist to its roster. Active Drive Assist allows for hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of divided highways in all 50 U.S. states and Canada.

"The stress of long highway drives remains a huge issue for drivers around the world," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief product development and purchasing officer. "By introducing driver-assist technologies like Active Drive Assist, Ford's version of hands-free driving, we're allowing our customers to feel more confident whenever they're behind the wheel."

Active Drive Assist is an evolution of Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering. The ability to have hands-free operation is a first for Ford. Now the company goes up against similar products from Tesla (Autopilot) and Cadillac (Super Cruise).

Ford Co-Pilot360 In the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E, the technology is displayed on the driver information screen.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

According to the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker, "Hands-Free Mode allows drivers on certain sections of pre-mapped, divided highways to drive with their hands off the steering wheel – if they continue to pay attention to the road ahead – granting them an additional level of comfort during long drives."

The system works to ensure that while the driver can operate the vehicle hands-free, they are paying attention to the road. An infrared driver-facing camera tracks eye gaze and head position. This technology is similar to what Subaru uses as part of its EyeSight safety and driver assistance system.

At the same time, Lane Centering Mode operates to keep the vehicle in its lane. Drivers will be notified by visual prompts on their instrument cluster when they need to return their attention to the road or resume control of the vehicle.

"Introducing Active Drive Assist with a driver-facing camera makes perfect sense because the vehicle helps relieve the stress and burden of driving but still leaves you fully in control," said Thai-Tang. "And if you lose focus on the road ahead, Active Drive Assist will automatically warn and potentially slow the vehicle down until you're ready to focus back up."

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Ford will debut the new technology in the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford isn't the only automaker readying hands-free driving capability for the market. Volvo recently announced that such a feature will be available on the forthcoming redesigned XC90 though specifics on where that capability will be able to be used is still pending.

To perfect the technology, Ford's team took the company's Active Drive Assist test vehicles on an extensive road trip exposing its sensors to operate in snow, rain, bright sun, dark nights, traffic jams, and open roads in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. The trip was designed to expose the sensors to specific scenarios that drivers face as part of daily driving in the real world.

Active Drive Assist begins rolling out on select 2021 model year Ford vehicles and will be available across the Mustang Mach-E lineup.

Those who get their Mustang Mach-E order in early will have Active Drive Assist hardware available as part of the Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package at time of purchase. Ford currently plans to give customers who purchase the prep package the opportunity to purchase Active Drive Assist software and receive the feature at a Ford dealer or via an over-the-air update in the third quarter of 2021.

The Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package also includes Active Park Assist 2.0, the latest iteration of park-assist technologies. Active Park Assist 2.0 works by holding a button, which gives the vehicle permission to take control of parking in parallel and perpendicular spaces. It also offers Park Out Assist with side-sensing capability that allows drivers to navigate out of a parking spot when another vehicle has parked too close for comfort.

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New off-roader

Ford Bronco Production Officially Begins

The Ford Bronco is finally ready for primetime.

Ford

The time is finally here. After years of speculation and several months of pandemic-related delays, the Ford Bronco is starting to roll off the assembly line. The SUV marks the first new Bronco model in Ford's lineup in 15 years, not counting the Bronco Sport, and is one of the most hyped and sought-after vehicles to hit the market in quite some time. Ford's announcement that production has begun will be accompanied by a special YouTube presentation that Ford says will include interviews with the Bronco team and with reservation holders at the automaker's new Modification Center.


2021 Ford Bronco Ford added 2,700 jobs to support Bronco production.Ford


Bronco production has driven Ford to invest $750 million into its Michigan Assembly Plant, and the automaker says it has added 2,700 jobs to support the rollout. Ford's push to begin production can't come soon enough. Over 125,000 Bronco orders have been placed, and multiple delays have pushed the vehicle's arrival back, meaning there is considerable demand for the off-road legend.

Ford is ready to capitalize on the craze and will offer several ways to customize the new vehicle. At its 1.7 million square-foot Modification Center, The Blue Oval will factory-install several optional modifications that include equipment such as a front bumper safari bar, graphics packages, roof racks, and more. That's on top of more than 200 factory-backed accessories that can be installed at the dealer, either at or after the time of purchase.


2021 Ford Bronco Delays and production difficulties have pushed the Bronco back.Ford


If you are hoping to get behind the wheel of a new Bronco, it could be a while. Even buyers that have been in line for a while now might not see their new vehicle until late 2021 or 2022, and the vehicle's official rollout will almost certainly re-spike demand. Even so, many feel it's worth the wait, and Ford's vehicle configuration tool is live, so go check it out for yourself.

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Have you ever seen such a big front lip spoiler?

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The Ford Mustang's nearly 60 years on the U.S. auto market has seen it evolve through several generations, body shapes, and powertrains. That means that if you're shopping for a used Mustang, you've got a huge variety of cars to choose from. Making things even better, Ford and its performance partners have created some truly impressive special editions of the car over the years.


2000 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R The Cobra R got a prominent rear wing.Bring a Trailer


Back in the 1990s and 2000s, Ford's Special Vehicle Team had a big hand in building the Mustang's recent performance legacy. One of its coolest cars was the Mustang SVT Cobra R, which debuted in 2000 as the fastest Mustang ever built. That pedigree set the Cobra R apart from others in the crowded Mustang catalog, and this car's nearly $100,000 current auction price shows that the R is still quite desirable today.


2000 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R A six-speed manual transmission was standard.Bring a Trailer


The Cobra R wasn't a common car to begin with. Ford only made 300 for the 2000 model year, so this car would be quite a find even with ten times the mileage. The R was SVT's only Mustang for 2000 and put down some impressive numbers for the time. The cars got a 5.4-liter V8 that produced 385 horsepower when new, but many outside performance tests showed that the R was capable of putting down more power than advertised. The engine was paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. Ford claimed the powertrain could propel the Cobra R to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.7 seconds and noted that it could go on to reach a top speed of 170 mph.


2000 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R The car is in nearly brand-new condition.Bring a Trailer


To the average person, the Cobra R could be written off as just run-of-the-mill Mustang with an aftermarket body kit, but there are subtle indicators that help identify it as the beast that it is. The Cobra R has a tall rear wing spoiler and an insanely long front lip spoiler. The hood has been bumped out with a large power bugle and there's a side-exit exhaust with chrome tips.


2000 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra R The 5.4-liter V8 was rated at 385 hp when new.Bring a Trailer


As cool and rare as this particular car is, it's hard to get too excited about it. With around 890 miles on the clock, the temptation to continue hiding it away in safe storage somewhere is strong. A large part of what makes this Cobra R special is its condition, so driving it might suck some of the fun out of ownership. That said, the R generated quite a bit of interest. There are just a few hours left for the car to crest the $100,000 mark, but regardless of its final selling price, we hope the next owner is willing to add some miles.

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