DETROIT — Ford Motor is expanding the availability of its hands-free highway driving system to Lincoln’s entry-level Corsair crossover, as the automaker broadens the technology to lower-priced vehicles.
The 2023 Corsair will be the sixth vehicle in Ford’s lineup to offer the system and only the second Lincoln model, following the brand’s flagship Navigator SUV. With the expansion of the system — branded as ActiveGlide for Lincoln and BlueCruise for Ford — the Corsair will be the lowest-priced vehicle in the company to offer the technology.
The Corsair will be priced starting at roughly $40,000 to $55,000, which includes a plug-in hybrid electric model. Ordering for the crossover is open now, with vehicles expected to arrive in U.S. showrooms in early 2023.
Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E currently offers the technology and starts at about $50,000, including the option. The Corsair will offer the system on all three of the vehicle’s trims, company officials said.
“It was just a natural progression with Corsair being the volume sales leader,” Dan DeRubeis, Corsair brand manager, told CNBC. “I think that’s the approach that we’ll continue to take with other programs into the future.”
ActiveGlide and BlueCruise use a suite of cameras and sensors in addition to lidar-mapping for hands-free driving on more than 130,000 miles of dedicated highways in North America. It controls the vehicle’s speed and steering, while also monitoring the driver’s attentiveness through an infrared camera system.
Ford says more than 75,000 customers have enrolled in the systems, with more than 16 million hands-free driving miles accumulated through the end of August.
Ford’s systems are similar to General Motors’ Super Cruise technology, however they are not as widely available or capable in some situations such as turns, where the technology may need to hand steering control back to the driver.
The systems from GM and Ford both offer fewer capabilities than Tesla’s advanced driver-assistance systems such as Autopilot or “Full-Self Driving,” which have been scrutinized for overpromising hands-free functionality and enabling drivers to misuse the systems.
No vehicles on sale today are fully self-driving. All driver-assist systems still require drivers to pay attention.
The addition of ActiveGlide to the Corsair, including lane-changing capabilities, is part of a host of updates to the vehicle for the 2023 model year. Other changes include interior and exterior design updates such as a new grill and 13.2-inch center touchscreen, as well as new trim and color options.
Ford’s hands-free highway system is currently offered on the Lincoln Navigator as well as the Ford F-150 and Lightning pickups, Mustang Mach-E crossover and Expedition SUV.