Ford's hands-free Bluecruise system was active before the Texas crash

Image Credit: Ford

The driver of a Mustang Mag-E that crashed into a stationary car in Texas in February was using Bluecruise, Ford's hands-free driver-assistance system. Data received by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

This is the first known fatality in a crash involving the Bluecruise utility, which Ford first announced in 2021. The system allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel on pre-mapped highways and uses eye tracking to determine if drivers are paying attention. to the road.

The NTSB's announcement that Bluecruise was active during the Texas crash comes a day after the Safety Board announced it was investigating. A second fatal accident Ford's driver assistance system may have been active near Philadelphia. Ford told TechCrunch at the time that it had reported the Texas crash to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which was “actively reviewing all available information.” The company declined to comment further on Thursday.

That second crash, which affected two Ford standard cars, raised questions about whether the automaker's driver-assistance system had a problem similar to the one Tesla has dealt with for years with Autopilot. NHTSA spent nearly three years investigating more than a dozen crashes in which Tesla drivers using Autopilot collided with stationary emergency vehicles.

The February crash happened outside of San Antonio. A 1999 Honda CR-V was stationary in the center lane of Interstate 10 without lights around 9:50 p.m. CT when a Mustang Mach-E crashed into its rear. The Honda overturned and sustained injuries in the left lane. The Mustang driver “operated the vehicle in bluecruise mode prior to the crash,” the safety board said Thursday. The 56-year-old driver of the Honda died after being transported to San Antonio Military Medical Center, while the driver of the Mustang suffered “minor injuries,” according to a police report. Police found no signs of intoxication on the driver of the Mustang. The NTSB said another driver narrowly missed the Honda moments before the Mustang crashed.

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The NTSP released what is known as a preliminary report on Thursday and is still investigating the crash. A final report will be released within 12 to 24 months, the spokesperson said. The NHTSA is also investigating the Texas crashAccording to The Wall Street Journal.

This story has been updated to note that Ford declined to comment on the NTSB's new information.

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