As automobiles advance toward autonomy, Ford has been developing increasingly sophisticated technology such as Co-Pilot360. Ford test drivers have logged over 650,000 miles tuning new safety features and tech before releasing them to the public. Features such as hands-free-driving and over-the-air software updates will soon be available on select 2021 Ford models.
What is Ford Co-Pilot360?
Ford Co-Pilot360 comprises several driver-assist features, including lane centering, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitor with blind-spot alert. Using all of these systems, Ford will offer hands-free driving beginning in the third quarter of 2021.
In preparation for rolling out the hands-free driving system, called Active Drive Assist, customers can add a Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package, Ford says. The Prep Package allows owners to purchase Active Drive Assist and have it installed at the dealer when available or potentially installed over-the-air at the owner’s home via Wi-Fi when the feature becomes available.
How does Ford Co-Pilot360 work?
Ford Co-Pilot360 uses an advanced infrared driver-facing camera and collision warning radar to offer driver assists. A camera tracks drivers’ head position and eye gaze even when wearing most sunglasses to ensure drivers remain focused on the road. When the camera detects a driver’s lack of attention, the system issues alerts on the vehicle’s instrument cluster and potentially slows the vehicle if the driver doesn’t regain focus.
Vehicles equipped with Active Drive Assist allow drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel on over 100,000 miles of highways throughout all 50 states and Canada. However, Active Drive Assist works only on select sections of pre-mapped, divided highways. Allowing drivers to release the steering wheel allows increased comfort on long drives. Ford says its engineers and test drivers have logged over 650,000 miles in a wide variety of environmental and road conditions gathering data to assure the Active Drive Assist system’s safety. But make no mistake: Ford is not selling Active Drive Assist as a self-driving car. Drivers will be required to remain focused on the road whether they have their hands on the steering wheel or not.
Active Drive Assist is just a small part of the Co-Pilot360 system. Other features Ford vehicles already offer are also being upgraded due to the effort surrounding Co-Pilot360. Active Park Assist allows drivers to parallel- or perpendicular-park by holding a button and allowing the vehicle to park independently. Park Out Assist uses side-sensing capabilities to help drivers navigate out of parking spaces without colliding with vehicles or structures.
Vehicles with Co-Pilot360
Co-Pilot360 is available on select 2021 Ford vehicles. They include some F-150, Expedition, EcoSport, Escape, Transit, Edge, Flex, Explorer, Ranger, Super Duty, Fiesta, Fusion, and Mustang trims. But Ford’s new high-tech EV, the Mustang Mach-E, will offer Co-Pilot360 and the Active 2.0 Prep Package on all trims. The Prep Package allows owners to purchase the Active Drive Assist software when available later this year.
Co-Pilot360 has been a part of Ford’s technology package for several years. Active Drive Assist is the next step forward and ties all the previous technologies together. Active Drive Assist improves previous technology to offer advanced safety and driver convenience features that rival luxury brands’ offerings. It appears advanced safety and driver-assist features will become standard equipment on more vehicles from all automakers.