New Ford F-150, Mustang Mach-E Feature Hands-free Driver Assist Technology

Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn says the 2021 F-150 and Mustang Mach-E will be equipped with driver assist technology to provide real-time hands-free driving opportunities.
Ford hands-free driving
Mustang Mach-E Engineer John Gilchrist demonstrates Active Drive Assist, a new driver-assist feature that allows for hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of divided highways in all 50 states and Canada. // Photograph courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn says the 2021 F-150 and Mustang Mach-E will be equipped with driver assist technology to provide real-time hands-free driving opportunities.

The technology also will enable expanded hands-free driving zones in the future based on system and customer patterns.

The new driver assist feature on F-150 and Mustang Mach-E will be standard on certain models or be an affordable option on others, with both vehicles becoming available to customers later this year.

Ford expects to sell more than 100,000 F-150s and Mustang Mach-Es equipped with the driver assist technology hardware in the first year based on company sales and take-rate projections.

“As breakthroughs in new technology allow us to help reduce the stress of long highway drives, it’s important to make sure these capabilities can be enjoyed by the largest spread of people possible,” says Hau Thai-Tang, chief product platform and operations officer at Ford. “Active Drive Assist can help improve the driving experience while ensuring people remain aware and fully in control, all for a price unmatched by our competitors — a commitment to affordable innovations that has driven us since Henry Ford put the world on wheels.”

When Active Drive Assist is not standard, it will cost $1,595 on the F-150 and $3,200 as part of a package on the Mustang Mach-E.

For customers purchasing F-150 and Mustang Mach-E at this year’s launch, the hardware enabling Active Drive Assist — including forward-facing camera and radar sensors — will be available through the Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package, while customers choosing to purchase the software for $600 will receive it through an over-the-air update in the third quarter of next year.

In the second half of 2021, new customers will be able to purchase the hardware and software together in the Ford Co-Pilot Active 2.0 package, without the need for an over-the-air update to initiate the feature.

Active Drive Assist builds on Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go Lane Centering and Speed Sign Recognition. It allows drivers to operate their vehicle hands-free while the driver is monitored by a driver-facing camera to make sure the driver is keeping his or her eyes on the road, with the potential for more enhancements in the future. This feature is available on prequalified sections of divided highways called Hands-Free Zones that make up more than 100,000 miles of North American roads.

In related news, Ford announced that the 2021 Ford Edge and performance-oriented Edge ST will include smart new technologies, including a new standard 12-inch center screen, standard SYNC 4A with optional connected built-in navigation, and cloud connectivity with conversational voice recognition, plus refinements to Edge’s interior and exterior design.

“Ford Edge is the choice for tech-savvy customers on the go,” says Angela Cascaden, marketing manager for Edge at Ford. “It offers standard Ford Co-Pilot360 technologies with driver assist features. And with SYNC 4A with over-the-air updates, customers can get the latest tech and services from Ford at any time – no dealership visit required.”

The 12-inch screen supports multi-tasking, enabled by splitting the screen into larger and smaller windows. For example, if a customer wants to keep their navigation route on the screen while changing songs, they can choose to display the radio or other streaming music services in the Adaptive Dash Cards display area.

All-new cloud connectivity combines conversational voice recognition with the power of internet-based search results, so you always have access to the latest information with almost every request — such as “Find me the best Thai restaurant” — while SYNC can make data-based suggestions to drivers. Staying in contact with friends and family becomes easier, with natural speech recognition enabling communication via SMS and email.

Removing the need to plug-in a mobile device, SYNC 4A includes Wi-Fi enabled Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and SYNC AppLink. For customers subscribed to SiriusXM with 360L, the 2021 Edge can also provide a curated listening experience with on-demand streamed content and personalized entertainment channels.

To make charging mobile devices easier, the 2021 Ford Edge adds two additional USB ports, one being a USB-C — bringing the total to four — to give backseat passengers easier access to device charging.