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Ford’s hands-free BlueCruise system was active before fatal Texas crash

The driver of a Mustang Mach-E who crashed into a stationary car in Texas in February was using Ford’s hands-free driver assistance system, BlueCruise, according to data obtained by the National Transportation Safety Board.

It’s the first known fatality resulting from a crash involving the use of BlueCruise, 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 whether drivers are paying attention to the road.

The NTSB’s announcement that BlueCruise was active during the Texas crash comes just one day after the safety board announced it’s probing a second fatal crash near Philadelphia where Ford’s driver assistance system may have been active. Ford said at the time that it reported the Texas crash to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and that it was “actively researching all available information.” The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

That second crash also involved the Ford impacting two stationary cars, raising questions about whether the automaker’s driver assistance system has a similar problem to what Tesla has dealt with for years with Autopilot. NHTSA has spent nearly three years investigating more than a dozen crashes where Tesla drivers using Autopilot have crashed into stationary emergency vehicles.

The February crash happened just outside San Antonio. A 1999 Honda CR-V was stationary in the center lane of Interstate 10 with no lights on at around 9:50PM CT, when the Mustang Mach-E crashed into the back of it. The Honda flipped over and wound up in the left lane. The safety board said Thursday that the Mustang driver “had been operating the vehicle in BlueCruise mode before the crash.” The 56-year-old driver of the Honda died after being transferred to the San Antonio Military Medical Center, according to the police report, while the driver of the Mustang sustained “minor injuries.” Police found no signs of intoxication in the Mustang driver.

The NTSB released on Thursday what’s known as a preliminary report, and is still investigating the crash. A spokesperson said a final report is likely to be published within 12 to 24 months. NHTSA is also probing the Texas crash, according to The Wall Street Journal.






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