Ford Mustang Mach-E gets a co-pilot, not autopilot

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Ford Active Drive Assist

Ford announced that the upcoming Mustang Mach-E takes its Co-Pilot 360 suite of driver assists to the next level with a new feature: Active Driver’s Assist. The company is careful to note that this isn’t an autonomous driving feature, as Ford is far from a young auto manufacturer with a Silicon Valley state of mind. That said, I can feel anti-electric Mustang CUV sentiment coming in the comments, so as The Weeknd famously said, “I can take my time. We don’t ever have to fight, just take it step-by-step.”

Speaking of quotes, here’s a good one from Ford. Except it’s a swing and a miss:

“The stress of long highway drives remains a huge issue for drivers around the world. By introducing driver-assist technologies like Active Drive Assist, Ford’s version of hands-free driving, we’re allowing our customers to feel more confident whenever they’re behind the wheel.”

– Hau Thai-Tang, chief product development and purchasing officer

Instead of raising the ire of driving enthusiasts who love long highway drives on the empty roads pictured (below), why not mention the benefit during intense traffic on said highways?  Nobody relishes time spent in bumper-to-bumper gridlock. Or perhaps the feel behind the wheel of several 0-15-0 mph acceleration pulls over the course of 20+ minutes is indeed a thrilling element of the Mustang driving experience?

More to the point, after sampling semi-autonomous tech in one of the most congested cities on the planet (Houston, Texas), I’m confident in this tech’s staying power with motorists. It ensures you remain refreshed on your daily commute—the stress you expect upon seeing stopped cars ahead melts away once you feel the car slowing down for you.

Mach E Road Edge Detection

The stress never comes back, either, because the vehicle automatically matches the beat of the traffic pulse so you don’t have to. Indeed it’s a most excellent feature for those who can afford it, and afford repairs after a module-crushing collision or an out-of-warranty component failure…but I digress…

Ford’s Active Driver’s Assist on “sections of pre-mapped, divided highways” implies a caveat: the driver must be paying attention to the road. Like Cadillac’s Super Cruise, there’s an alertness sensor aimed at the driver’s head ensuring you don’t wind up on the local news when the gizmos fail to save your bacon. To be clear, this isn’t Tesla’s much-hyped and somewhat misleading Autopilot feature, which by Tesla’s own admission does “not make the vehicle autonomous.”

1974 Gran Torino Elite

So whether you love, tolerate, or hate the branding experiment known as the 1974 Gran Torino Elite in the Thunderbird Tradition 2021 Mustang Mach E, just know it’s trying to take the media hype and top drawer clientele from Palo Alto over to the Dearborn camp.

Which is precisely what Ford needs in order to give this electrified CUV a ghost of a chance at success. Even if I wish they called it a Taurus.

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