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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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Subaru Crosstrek has been refreshed for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

Long beloved for its zippy drivability and spacious cargo area, the Subaru Crosstrek is also just underpowered enough for some drivers to make it a non-starter. The automaker is now offering a 2.5-liter four-cylinder option for the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek.

Buyers can choose the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque or the 2.5-liter that is shared with the Forester and gets 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek The car is mostly unchanged at the rear compared to the 2020 model and still just as capable. Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

Both engines are paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) in most trim levels. The standard six-speed manual transmission in the Base and Premium grades is paired with the smaller engine. Models equipped with the CVT get Intelligent and Sport drive modes.

The larger engine gets 27 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg combined. The smaller engine, mated with the CVT, achieves 28 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined. With the manual, the Crosstrek gets just 22/29/25 mpg city/highway/combined.

All models will continue to be sold with standard all-wheel drive with active torque vectoring technology. Base models get a Low Shift Mode for descending hills.

Models with the CVT come standard with a suite of Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. That suite now includes adaptive cruise control with lane centering (debuted on the 2020 Outback) in addition to automatic pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, lane departure prevention, lead vehicle start alert, automatic start-stop, rear seat reminder, and SI-Drive.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek The Crosstrek Sport features blacked out interior and exterior elements. The Crosstrek Limited is the most refined model. Photo courtesy of Subaru of America, Inc.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek will start at $22,245, just a $100 increase over the price of the 2020 model.

Subaru is adding a Sport grade ($26,495) to the Crosstrek lineup for 2021. It, along with the Limited trim level ($27,995), comes standard with the larger engine. The Crosstrek Sport gets dual-function X-Mode, which also debuted on the Outback, and includes hill descent control with snow/dirt and deep snow/mud selectable settings.

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek will make its way to a dealership near you this summer.

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Bentley's vehicle's are getting the company's new steering wheel for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

The Bentley Continental GT is a grand tourer of the grandest design. It's getting an update for 2021, giving customers more of the high-tech features and design they've requested. Bentley sells the Continental GT in coupe and convertible body styles.

The 2021 Continental GT is now available in Viridian, Patina, and Snow Quartz paint jobs - the same colors that were added to the Flying Spur this year. Viridian is a dark emerald metallic hue that is Bentley's take on classic British racing green. It features green and blue undertones, and tiny flecks of amber and gold.

2021 Bentley Continental GT Viridian is Bentley's new take on British Racing Green.Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Patina is inspiredly the look of polished metals, blending together with elements of champagne and silk. The mid-cream tone features a tinge of green.

The Snow Quartz paint job consists of three layers of pearlescent paint that results in a shimmering and lustrous whiteness.

All Continental GT coupes are now able to come with Bentley's panoramic glass roof. This is the same as in the 2021 Bentayga and Flying Spur. The sunroof features polarized glass that reduces glare and interior blind clad in Alcantara that is electronically controlled by the car's console. The blind matches the car's headliner. There are 15 headliner color options to choose from.

With the addition of the paint jobs and roof, there are now over 10 billion variations a customer can choose to personalize their Continental GT.

2021 Bentley Continental GT A panoramic sunroof is available.Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

The model also receives the automaker's new steering wheel as standard. The wheel features a revised shape and profile, with capacitive sensing throughout the wheel rim, allowing the steering wheel to detect when it is being held. The steering wheel also features a more elegant aesthetic with a chrome bezel at the bottom of the vertical spoke.

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