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Ford delays BlueCruise hands-free driving system OTA update to early 2022

For vehicles eligible for the over-the-air update, it's not happening until the first quarter of 2022 now.

Just a slight delay for the update.

Ford's hands-free highway driving system, BlueCruise, will take a little longer than expected to reach some drivers. On Thursday, the automaker confirmed the system's over-the-air update will not be ready to launch until the first quarter of 2022.

To be clear, the automaker is still delivering the vehicles equipped with BlueCruise from the factory, those being the F-150 and Mustang Mach-E. However, the OTA update is intended for customers with one of the eligible vehicles that took delivery before BlueCruise was ready. 

"Given the importance of this technology upgrade, we've retimed the BlueCruise over-the-air update so we can deliver the highest-quality experience possible for customers," a Ford spokesperson said in a statement. The company originally aimed for the OTA update to come in the third quarter of this year with the goal of selling 100,000 vehicles with BlueCruise in the first year it's available. That's certainly still possible, but the delay may make the figure a touch tougher to achieve.

BlueCruise is a direct rival to General Motors' Super Cruise system, which enables hands-free driving on specific premapped, divided highways in the US and Canada. To start, the system will support 100,000 miles of road across the countries. Like Super Cruise, BlueCruise is a Level 2 driver-assist system and does not turn a Ford vehicle into an autonomous car, according to the SAE Scale of Autonomy.

While BlueCruise preps to expand next year, GM is already kicking things up a notch, however. Ford's rival revealed Ultra Cruise at the beginning of October. This more-powerful companion to Super Cruise will allow drivers to operate a vehicle hands-free in 95% of situations -- not just on highways.