One of the hottest auto technology features today is semi-autonomous driving systems. Every automaker is racing to develop and integrate them into their new vehicles. Ford’s BlueCruise has received high praise from many auto industry critics and consumers. So one may naturally wonder why it’s not included in the new 2023 Ford Super Duty.
What is Ford’s BlueCruise?
Ford BlueCruise is a semi-autonomous driving system that allows drivers to enjoy hands-free driving on certain areas of North America’s highways. Equipping a fleet of vehicles with a sophisticated vehicle telematics system, Ford has mapped out road conditions on more than 400,000 miles of highway. Drivers using BlueCruise will see these areas dubbed Hands-Free Blue Zones and can safely take their hands off the wheel when BlueCruise is engaged.
BlueCruise uses the mapped data and existing adaptive cruise control, lane-centering, sign recognition, and other advanced safety systems to operate your vehicle without needing to steer it in Hands-Free Blue Zones. The system does include an internal camera that monitors whether you’re paying attention. As the system is still new, it is far from perfect, and sudden changes in road conditions may require you to retake control of the wheel. If the internal monitoring system senses you’re not alert enough to do so, it will disengage BlueCruise. So no sleeping in the driver’s seat – yet.
Ford continues to map roads across the continent to expand the area where you can operate your Ford hands-free. They also continue improving the technology, allowing your vehicle to operate without your steering input more precisely. So far, BlueCruise has gotten considerable praise and can be found as an available option on most new Ford models. But it’s not on the new 2023 Ford Super Duty. Why is that?
Why the 2023 Ford Super Duty doesn’t have BlueCruise
According to Ford Authority, the new 2023 Ford Super Duty will not be hands-free for an understandable reason. While the 2023 model has seen an exterior and interior refresh, the overhaul lacks BlueCruise because of towing. Ford executives have noted that the primary reason many consumers purchase the Super Duty is for towing capacity, and BlueCruise cannot operate while towing a trailer.
Specifically, BlueCruise would cause challenges for drivers towing a trailer during turns or on curvy roads. Naturally, a driver would make a long arc to make a turn. However, BlueCruise would likely try to keep the truck in the middle of the lane. Doing so, however, would cause the trailer to sway considerably.
Execs further noted that the company had invested considerable time and resources in upgrading the Super Duty’s suspension architecture and powertrain options to optimize the vehicle for towing. That said, providing BlueCruise would make towing more difficult and undermine Ford’s new towing enhancements.
What tech and other features the Ford Super Duty offers
Prospective buyers shouldn’t be too disappointed by BlueCruise’s omission. As per Autoblog, the new truck offers plenty of tech features and ample power. It comes with your choice of a 6.8-liter gas-powered V8 engine, a 7.3-liter V8 with an improved air intake system, and a 6.7-liter turbodiesel version. Each comes paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission and either RWD or 4WD. And while the power figures aren’t yet available, they’re likely quite high.
There’s also plenty of tech, including a new 8.0-inch touchscreen, a 12.0-inch standard on higher trims, and a 12-inch digital instrument cluster. Super Duty’s come with WiFi hotspots, a wireless charging pad, and a head-up display. There’s also a feature called the Pro Upfit Integration System that allows drivers to program shortcuts into the controls for common functions they undertake when loading, unloading, and transporting cargo.
Further, Ford has enhanced its navigation system to account for the unique navigation needs a super Duty may have on any given workday. There’s also a new camera system that provides greater trailer visibility and other enhancements that give you more loading and trailering control and information.
Hopefully, one day the company will be able to compensate for the lane-centering issue and include BlueCruise. But until then, Super Duty drivers will still be able to partake in Ford’s huge suite of advanced driver safety tech, including adaptive cruise control.