Feds Investigating Hands-Free Driving Tech in Every Mustang Mach-E After Fatal Crashes

The NHTSA wants to know why Ford’s full suite of active safety technologies failed in a pair of deadly crashes.

byNico DeMattia|


Back in February, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) learned of the first of two recent crashes involving Mustang Mach-E electric SUVs equipped with BlueCruise, Ford's hands-free driver-assistance system. In both instances, the vehicles had BlueCruise activated and hit stationary cars at night, fatally injuring passengers in the other vehicles. Now, the NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has opened a wider investigation into all 130,050 BlueCruise-equipped Mustang Mach-Es built to date.

"ODI has opened this Preliminary Evaluation to investigate the Ford BlueCruise system equipped on the subject vehicles. This investigation will evaluate the system’s performance of the dynamic driving task and driver monitoring," said the NHTSA.

BlueCruise is Ford's hands-free, semi-autonomous driver assistance system. It only works on preselected highways, and only when certain driving conditions are met. It's important to note that Ford does not market BlueCruise as a self-driving nor fully autonomous system, but as a driver aid and clearly states that the driver must be alert at all times when using it. Despite that, the system should of course read stationary cars, even at night, and at least alert the driver. However, BlueCruise isn't the only Mustang Mach-E technology being investigated, as it isn't the only safety fail-safe that should have prevented the crash.


With Ford's Co-Pilot 360 Assist 2.0 system, the Mustang Mach-E has forward collision warnings, automatic emergency braking (which, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be as reliable as carmakers would like you to believe), and even an evasive steering assist designed to help the driver swerve out of harm's way. Somehow, all of these systems failed to prevent the two crashes that sparked the feds' investigation. Since both incidents had very similar circumstances—low-light, nighttime conditions and stationary cars—there may a specific issue that the feds can find, and that Ford can fix.

According to the NHTSA, there are only two known crashes with BlueCruise engaged currently being investigated, both of which caused a total of three fatalities.

The Drive reached out to Ford for a comment and will update this story when we receive more information.

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