What is Ford Active Drive Assist?

Beverly Braga | Jun 23, 2020

Ford Active Drive Assist is a first-for-Ford technology, a hands-free driving assistance system that will become part of the automaker’s suite of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) known as Co-Pilot360. While Co-Pilot360 is already available on a multitude of Ford and Lincoln vehicles, a new add-on dubbed Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package will be introduced on the upcoming all-electric 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. The alphanumeric word salad option will include Ford Active Drive Assist as well as other updated features.

How Does Ford Active Drive Assist Work?

Using adaptive cruise control and lane centering assistance systems as a baseline, Active Drive Assist will further enhance driver comfort, especially when traveling long distances, by allowing for hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of mapped divided highways throughout the United States and Canada. Think Cadillac Super Cruise or Tesla Autopilot, but for Fords and Lincolns.

Ford Active Drive Assist Mustang Mach-E

Ford says the system’s sensors were extensively tested, exposed to a multitude of traffic patterns and inclement weather types during the validation process. Active Drive Assist was used in real-world conditions such as snow, rain, darkness, and traffic congestion in order to capture as much road data and sensor measurements as possible for the system to react safely and accordingly in specific driving situations.

When traveling on these pre-mapped roads and in Hands-Free Mode, Active Drive Assist will control the vehicle’s steering and speed. Although drivers will not be required to place their hands on the steering wheel, they must continue to remain alert for when the system requires them to resume control of the vehicle.

An infrared driver-facing camera will monitor head positioning and eye movement, even if the driver is wearing sunglasses. Should a driver’s attention wander, visual alerts will appear on the instrument cluster. If the driver remains unresponsive, a series of escalating visual and audible warnings will occur as the vehicle begins to slow down to a stop. What happens when the vehicle stops? We asked Ford spokespeople, who did not respond to this question.

In addition to Active Drive Assist, the Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package also will feature the latest in parking technologies. With the driver seated in the car, Active Park Assist 2.0 will direct the vehicle park itself in parallel and perpendicular spaces just by holding down a button. Park Out Assist uses side sensors to help drivers exit tight parking spaces, such as in cases when adjacent vehicles are parked too close.

What is Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0?

Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 provides the technological foundation for Active Drive Assist and Active Park Assist 2.0. It will be standard equipment on the new Mustang Mach-E and include previously available ADAS plus enhanced lane keeping assistance technology including new Road Edge Detection and blind-spot assistance functions. Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 also has an adaptive cruise control system that adjusts based on speed sign recognition technology and automatically resumes travel after the vehicle comes to a complete stop. Previously, the driver had to manually reactivate the system when the vehicle ahead began to move.

Although not directly part of the Active Drive Assist system, these technologies go hand-in-hand with the optional prep package to ensure truly hands-free driving on pre-mapped limited-access roads and in conditions under which it is safe to do so.

Ford Active Drive Assist Release Date

Mustang Mach-E customers will be the first to order the Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package, which will include the necessary camera and radar hardware to enable Active Drive Assist. Ford says Active Drive Assist will become available for purchase and activation in the third quarter of 2021, installed through a Ford dealer or via an over-the-air software update.

Following its debut in the Mustang Mach-E, Active Drive Assist will roll out to select 2021 model-year vehicles designed to provide the function. Specifications regarding pricing and features will be announced closer to the on-sale dates of those vehicles.

The information in this article is from Ford Motor Company. It was accurate on June 23, 2020 but may have changed since that date.

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