Ford hands-free driving system approved for use on UK roads

The Ford Mach-E allows the ‘driver’ to remove hands from the wheel, and it’s just the start of the government’s push to a self-driving future

Self-driving cars

THIS year will see the first hands-free driving cars taking to the UK’s roads, as the Ford Mach-E is approved for sale.

The £50,000 car features cameras, radar and infrared technology to maintain the position of the vehicle in the lane, and it’s the first level-2 autonomous vehicle approved for UK sale. The goal, laid out by the government, is to eventually have level-5 vehicles (fully autonomous) vehicles in use on UK roads in years to come.

The news will likely cause some alarm, especially to those of us who consider ourselves to be vulnerable motorists, given that vehicles will be in use on 2,300 miles of the UK motorway network - over 95 percent of the major roads in the country.

Ford is the first to move to a self-driving future

The BlueCruise system is an £18 per month addition, and it enables the Ford Mach-E to accelerate and brake, while maintaining or altering the position of the vehicle within the lane it’s travelling in. It also monitors the driver’s eyes with infrared technology to ensure they still have their eyes on the road. Should the system detect that the driver’s attention is not on the road ahead, an alarm will sound and the vehicle will begin to slow down of its own accord.

The push to have autonomous driving on the UK’s roads comes directly from the top, as the UK government sees being at the forefront of technology as a boost to the country’s profile. The Guardian newspaper has quoted transport minister Jesse Norman who stated it was “great news” going on to say “I am delighted that this country is once more at the forefront of innovation. The latest advanced driver-assistance systems make driving smoother and easier but they can also make roads safer by reducing scope for driver error.”

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