US probes Ford hands-free driving tech after crashes

A US road safety agency is investigating Ford's BlueCruise driver assistance system following two fatal collisions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wrote, external[1] in both cases Ford Mustang Mach-E cars collided with stationary vehicles at night, while the system was engaged.

BlueCruise is a driver assistance technology that allows hands-free driving on certain roads, typically motorways.

Ford told the BBC that it was working with NHTSA "to support its investigation".

In February, a Ford Mustang Mach-E using BlueCruise hit the rear of a stationary Honda, killing the 56-year-old driver of the stopped car, Reuters reported.

The other crash involving a Ford Mach-E occurred in March in Philadelphia.

BlueCruise checks whether drivers are paying attention using eye-tracking cameras, and prompts them to take control back over the vehicle if it identifies any drift in focus.

The NHTSA says its preliminary probe will focus on the driver monitoring aspect of the system, as well as how well it generally performs driving tasks.

The two crashes that prompted the new probe are being investigated separately by another safety body, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).


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