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Ford brings hands-free driving to F-150 and Mach-E with Active Drive Assist

The system will be made available in late 2021 via an over-the-air update.

By this time next year, you and the family could be cruising hands-free down the California coast in your Mustang Mach-E.

When it comes to hands-free driving on public roads, Cadillac's Super Cruise is king. That's mainly due to its use of premapped highways and a driver-facing infrared camera to ensure that the proper attention is being paid to what the vehicle is doing. Never one to let GM rest on its laurels, Ford is now getting in on the game with its Active Drive Assist technology.

What exactly is Active Drive Assist? Much like Super Cruise from Cadillac, it's designed to let drivers operate their vehicles hands-free on certain roads. It uses the vehicle's radar sensors and cameras to maintain following distance and speed, and position within a lane. Also, like Super Cruise, Active Drive Assist uses a driver-facing camera to monitor attention levels.

Which Ford vehicles are going to get it? According to Ford's Friday press release, it will be first made available on the 2021 F-150 as standard equipment on the Limited trim or as an option on King Ranch, Lariat and Platinum models. It will also be standard on Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium, Edition One and CA Route 1 trims. The Select trim can get it as part of the Comfort and Technology package.

Ford is planning on launching the feature to properly equipped vehicles in Q3 of 2021, but there's a catch. The service will be included for three years, but then drivers will have to pay for it. People planning on buying an F-150 or Mach-E at launch will have to shell out for Ford's Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package before being able to get the software update when it becomes available.

Is it all complicated? Yeah, but this is Ford, and it frequently bundles complex options like this. Still, if you can get your head around buying the right spec of vehicle, it sounds like this will be a great addition to CoPilot 360's already useful feature set.

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