Ford is spearheading a remarkable quest to redefine the driving experience with its latest advancements in hands-off driving technology. The company’s BlueCruise system, equipped in select Ford vehicles, has taken a monumental step forward with the release of version 1.3. This follows just a few months after the ground-breaking 1.2 update, which introduced automatic lane changes. In this blog, we’ll delve into the recent developments, Ford’s shift from Argo AI to Latitude AI, and what the future holds for Ford’s hands-off driving technology.
BlueCruise 1.3: Evolution at its Finest
BlueCruise 1.3 comes with a series of evolutionary improvements that further enhance the system’s capabilities. One notable enhancement is BlueCruise’s increased engagement during tighter corners, ensuring smoother and safer navigation through challenging turns. Moreover, the system now positions the vehicle with even greater accuracy in narrow lanes, reducing the driver’s need to intervene manually.
Ford’s dedication to continuous improvement is evident in its rapid iteration of the BlueCruise system. Under the leadership of Sammy Omari, Ford’s executive director of advanced driver assist technologies and CEO of Latitude AI, the company has transitioned from quarterly software releases to weekly updates. This agile approach has allowed Ford to rapidly address customer feedback and significantly expand the operating window of its sophisticated advanced driver assistance system (ADAS).
The Inspiration Behind Latitude AI
Latitude AI represents a bold step forward for Ford, transforming the company from a traditional automaker into a services-oriented organization. Omari draws parallels to tech giant Apple and their approach to iOS updates across various iPhone models. This shift emphasizes that Ford’s hands-off driving technology will be continually improved and made available to customers, regardless of the specific vehicle model they own.
The Journey Towards True Eyes-Off Driving
While BlueCruise has made significant strides in offering hands-off driving capabilities, there is a frontier it cannot yet cross. Current hardware limitations prevent the system from achieving Level 3 autonomy, where the car can fully handle some driving situations but may require the driver to take control at times. Ford acknowledges the need for new hardware, including sensor redundancy and control features, to enable true eyes-off driver assistance.
Eyes-off driving is expected to become a reality in Ford’s next generation of electric vehicles, anticipated for release in 2025. This new hardware, coupled with a more refined and integrated software stack, will enable a truly transformative driving experience.
From Argo AI to Latitude AI
Ford’s shift from Argo AI to Latitude AI may appear puzzling on the surface, but the focus is distinct. Argo AI had primarily been working on level four robotaxis, a technology that remains in the early stages of technical and commercial viability. In contrast, Latitude AI’s focus lies in Level 3 autonomy, which offers a clear path to commercial success due to its appeal to customers. The ability to momentarily take their eyes off the road is a game-changer that customers are willing to pay a premium for.
Latitude AI’s goal is to develop technologies that can be swiftly and profitably integrated into Ford’s passenger vehicles. Unlike the complex and expensive Argo AI sensor package, affordability will be a key factor in the success of Latitude-powered systems.
Ford’s journey towards hands-off driving has reached new heights with the introduction of BlueCruise 1.3 and the establishment of Latitude AI. The company’s commitment to iterative development and customer feedback has propelled its advanced driver assistance system to new levels of engagement and accuracy. While eyes-off driving remains on the horizon, Ford’s vision for the future of driving promises to revolutionize the way we interact with our vehicles. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, Ford is paving the way for a safer, more convenient, and enjoyable driving experience for all.
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