It appears some Ford owners will get to BlueCruise on as General Motors and Ford officials say they’re close and plan to settle the lawsuit GM filed against Ford about using the name BlueCruise for its semiautonomous driving technology.
GM contended in a lawsuit filed in late July the use of the name “BlueCruise” would “inevitably cause confusion between the parties, the affiliation, connection, or association between them, and/or origin, sponsorship, or approval of their goods and services.”
Cruise is GM’s self-driving subsidiary. It took a controlling stake in the company in 2016 as it looked to accelerate the development of its autonomous vehicle technology. Currently, it’s testing self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EVs in California. Additionally, GM claimed the named infringed on its own semiautonomous technology, Super Cruise.
At the time, Ford officials called the lawsuit frivolous, noting the word “cruise” is commonly used throughout the industry as part of cruise control and, as a result, there is little cause for concern when it comes to any confusion.
There are several forms of semi-autonomous driving technology currently in use ranging from Nissan’s ProPilot Assist to perhaps the best known, Tesla’s Autopilot. However, GM’s Super Cruise and Ford’s BlueCruise are similar in that they can only be used in specific areas.
Ford introduced BlueCruise in April on the Ford F-150 and Mustang Mach-E models equipped with the Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 package. However, it costs additional $600 when installed via an over-the-air update. It’s a three-year subscription. The prep package costs $1,595 for the F-150 and $2,600 for the Mach-E.
Ford officials said the technology is available on about 100,000 miles of divided highways in the U.S.
BlueCruise uses advanced camera and radar technologies to allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel in “safe” areas. To ensure drivers are using the technology properly, vehicles with the technology have a driver-facing camera that tracks the driver’s eyes to ensure they’re looking at the road.
Drivers can use the technology in what Ford describes as Hands-Free Blue Zones. The vehicle will notify the driver that they are in a zone, offering them the option to activate the technology with a button available on the vehicle’s touchscreen.
Super Cruise details
GM’s version has been out longer and is available on a larger number of vehicles in its portfolio and can be used on nearly 200,000 miles of roads in the U.S. whereas it started on about 120,000. GM President Mark Reuss noted earlier this year it will be available on 22 vehicles by 2023.
First offered only for Cadillac in 2017, the auto company’s expanded its available and capability in the interim. It can now be had on several GMC models, the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV, as well as Cadillacs.
The most notable new feature is the system’s ability to automatically pass a slower vehicle without the driver’s intervention. The GMC version of Super Cruise also allows the Sierra pickup to operate in hands-free mode, even while pulling a trailer.
With Super Cruise, drivers can take hands off the wheel as long as they’re on a “mapped” section of road. These have been mapped to a much higher level of precision than what a conventional in-car navigation system is capable of — typically down to a few inches.
Drivers still need to stay attentive and ready to retake control in an emergency — or when reaching the end of a mapped road. A special camera system monitors the driver and the vehicle will slow down if they grow inattentive or, say, distracted while using a smartphone.