Ford will have its version of autonomous driving on the company's upcoming electric vehicle models. Dubbed as Active Drive Assist, the self-driving feature is tipped for introduction with the Ford Mustang Mach-E and will later find its way to the electrified F-150.
Active Drive Assist is essentially hands-free driving but not a clone of Tesla's Full-Self Driving, which is already in beta release. Ford's take is quite similar to the Super Cruise that according to General Motors will be on their EVs coming out soon.
Ford made clear that the semi-automated driving feature will be limited, at least for the early releases. The first version to debut, for instance, will be designed only for pre-mapped roads, which should indicate specific limitations, Electrek reported.
"It allows you to operate your vehicle hands-free while the driver is monitored by a driver-facing camera to make sure you're keeping your eyes on the road, with the potential for more enhancements in the future," Ford was reported as saying.
The U.S. automaker confirmed that the Mustang Mach-E will be the first to flex the exact capabilities that were packed with the Active Drive Assist, which should mean that Ford's self-driving feature is not coming out until the second half of 2021.
Ford has scheduled the Mustang Mach-E to begin rolling out in the third quarter of next year and the company said the AI-powered feature will be included in up to 100,000 units of planned Ford EVs. As mentioned, the target deployment will also cover the all-electric F-150 and the pickup truck is expected to hit the market in 2022.
Also, Ford reminded that Active Drive Assist is not coming out of the box with the Mustang Mach-E. The feature is designed as standard for some variants of the car models but would-be buyers will get it an option they would later get as an over-the-air firmware update.
The asking price for Active Drive Assist is $3,200, which is nearly thrice the amount demanded by Tesla for FSD.
Forbes decided to do a quick comparison of the two automakers' self-driving offerings and it was immediately clear that Ford's version is cheaper. The cash setback for Tesla's FSD has recently jumped to $10,000.
It should be noted, however, that Tesla's autonomous driving boasts of more and richer capabilities as the suit includes cool functions such as Summon and Auto Park. It can be said that while Ford elected to play safe with Active Drive Assist, Tesla CEO Elon Musk opted to be more ambitious.
Musk envisions FSD to eventually achieve full status, meaning free of any intervention from drivers, although his exact timeline for such a target has yet to be revealed.
Another advantage that favors Tesla is that FSD is already available while Ford's version will not be out for at least another 10 months. But Tesla is clear on one thing about FSD Beta - it remains a work in progress and therefore plagued by errors.