Texting and driving just got a whole lot easier, thanks Ford!
I'm sure you've seen that Ford have announced that their BlueCruise product will be launching soon in the UK, the system will be available on 2023 Mach-E models and is purchased via a subscription. BlueCruise claims to "Bring you hands free motorway driving" using a combination of adaptive cruise control, lane assistance and a driver monitoring camera that allows you to take your hands off the wheel.
All very impressive tech, but what's it for? Well Ford will say that it enables convenient assisted driving, which roughly translates as "isn't this driving nonsense annoying, wouldn't it be better if i could scroll TikTok or read the paper and not die in a ball of fire". Yes there is a driver facing camera to check you're still present and awake, but humans being humans we'll still find a way around this, maybe a cursory glance back at the road whilst we frantically respond to the group chat will be enough?
For the record i'm not against autonomous driving tech, its a great idea but it requires careful thought and planning to ensure its being created with the right intentions. Those intentions should primarily be safety focused instead of marketing gimmicks or making life easier. Transport Minister Jesse Norman doesn't agree however, in this article (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-65272929) on the bbc he said: "The latest advanced driver assistance systems make driving smoother and easier, but they can also help make roads safer by reducing scope for driver error." Shouldn't that be the other way around Jesse? Yes you've mentioned safety but that seems to be second fiddle to making life easier.
One saving grace is that Ford has only enabled BlueCruise to work in their "Blue Zones", which are essentially mainland UK motorways. That makes sense from a proving the tech perspective, but motorways are also long, boring and where drivers are most likely to be distracted or even fall asleep. Are you starting to see the issue here?
So we've now got access to technology that lets us be even more distracted on the roads we're least likely to be engaged with. But it's ok because it'll make journeys more convenient and easier, now i must stop ranting, and put the laptop down as I've just missed my junction.