Ford's BlueCruise ADAS Probed After Two Fatal Crashes

NHTSA investigates driver monitoring system after three people killed when Ford Mustang Mach-E cars slam into stopped cars at night.

Paul Myles, European Editor

April 30, 2024

1 Min Read
Ford Mustang Mach-E Interior
BlueCruise under the microscope by safety investigators.

Safety regulator investigations are opened on Ford’s BlueCruise ‘hands-free’ advanced driver assistance system following two fatal accidents.

BBC News reports the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wrote in both cases that Ford Mustang Mach-E cars collided with stationary vehicles at night while the system was engaged.

Ford tells the BBC that it is working with NHTSA “to support its investigation.” The first incident occurred in February in San Antonio, where the Mach-E hit the rear of a stationary Honda car, killing the 56-year-old driver of the stopped car. Two people died in a similar incident involving a Mach-E a month later in Philadelphia. The Mach-E drivers survived both crashes. 

BlueCruise ADAS claims the ability to monitor the driver’s behavior and attention levels using in-cabin eye-tracking cameras and issues prompts should it notice any lack of focus on the driving functions of the vehicle. It’s this area of the system where NHTSA says it will conduct its preliminary investigations.

The two crashes that prompted the latest probe are also being investigated separately by another safety body, the National Transportation Safety Board.

Tesla’s similar Autopilot is still under investigation by NHTSA following multiple crashes despite the automaker claiming it has issued a “fix” for safety issues identified in its system.

The BBC's technology editor, Zoe Kleinman, tried the BlueCruise system on U.K. motorways and reported some issues such as undertaking in the inside-hand lane (an illegal maneuver in the U.K.) and speeding up on ramps off the highway, requiring her to brake and deactivate the system. She comments: “Overall, it felt like the start of a new tech with a long way to go before it’s truly useful, that’s if drivers ever feel safe enough to hand over control.”

About the Author(s)

Paul Myles

European Editor, Informa Group

Paul Myles is an award-winning journalist based in Europe covering all aspects of the automotive industry. He has a wealth of experience in the field working at specialist, national and international levels.

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