Ford announced today that it’s expanding the availability of its BlueCruise hands-free driving tech. Previously, customers had to decide whether to add the option on available models at purchase — and that decision was final. Now, the service will be installed as standard on all supported vehicles. In addition to enabling it at purchase, owners can add the service later or only activate it for months when needed (like for road trips).
You’ll still have the option of buying the feature at purchase and folding it into your financing. However, you can now also subscribe to access annually or monthly at any point after that. BlueCruise costs $2,100 at purchase (for three years), while annual subscriptions cost $800 and monthly subscriptions $75. Ford also offers a 90-day free trial if you choose not to set it up at purchase.
The automaker expects to install BlueCruise on 500,000 vehicles in North America for the 2024 model year. That’s a significant ramp-up since it’s currently only installed on less than half of that: 225,000, according to Ford.
The service’s changes will also apply to Lincolns. The 2024 Navigator and Nautilus lines and “select trims” of the Lincoln Corsair will come equipped with BlueCruise. The $800 annual and $75 monthly pricing is the same for Lincoln models.
Ford says the tech’s upcoming version, BlueCruise 1.3, will enhance performance when driving around curves and narrow lanes. The company says v1.3 lets you keep your hands off the wheel longer. “Based on our internal testing, BlueCruise 1.3 stayed engaged in hands-free mode for an average of 5X longer compared to BlueCruise 1.0, the first version of BlueCruise,” the automaker said. The 1.2 software, rolled out earlier this year, added hands-free lane changes, in-lane repositioning and predictive speed assist. The company is serious about AI-assisted driving: It created an automated-driving subsidiary earlier this year to push toward a more machine-driven future.