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NHTSA to investigate fatal crashes involving self-driving Ford Mustang Mach-E

Published Apr 29th, 2024 5:28PM EDT
Image: Ford

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Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced an investigation into reports that certain self-driving vehicles from Ford are prone to crashing into stationary cars. To date, the NHTSA has documented two incidents where Ford Mustang Mach-E vehicles crashed into stationary cars that “were located within the travel lanes of controlled-access highways.”

Tragically, both incidents resulted in at least one fatality. In both instances, the crashes occurred at night while Ford’s self-driving system, BlueCruise, was engaged.

The investigation, still in its early stages, will closely examine the self-driving system found in the nearly 130,000 Mustang Mach-E vehicles sold over the last four years. 

The Post adds:

The NHTSA investigation includes Mach-E vehicles with Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 that have a number of driver assistance technologies including BlueCruise, which was introduced in 2021 and is currently available in a range of Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

The investigation will evaluate the system’s performance on the dynamic driving task and driver monitoring, NHTSA said.

What is the Ford Mustang Mach-E?

The Mustang Mach-E is an all-electric SUV version of Ford’s iconic Mustang. Incidentally, Ford on its website notes that Consumer Reports rates its BlueCruise technology as the best Driving Assistance System on the market, beating out the likes of Jaguar, Subaru, Tesla, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and a slew of others.

Ford’s BlueCruise technology outperformed the competition by a significant margin. All told, BlueCruise received an overall score of 84. Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz and Tesla received scores of 72 and 61, respectively. The testing criteria included overall performance, the ability to keep a driver engaged, ease of use, handling unresponsive drivers, and clarity on when the technology is safe to use.

Ford, meanwhile, says that it will cooperate fully with the investigation.

Interestingly, coverage of this investigation has been somewhat muted compared to similar investigations involving Tesla. This, however, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

For starters, Tesla was a pioneer when it comes to self-driving cars. In turn, many people associate autonomous driving with the company despite a lot of competition from sophisticated players. Additionally, with Elon Musk at the helm of Tesla, the company naturally attracts a lot more attention. The spotlight on Tesla has only grown as Musk has become increasingly outspoken on a variety of political issues.

On a related note, you might recall that Tesla just a few weeks ago settled a high-profile lawsuit regarding a deadly Autopilot crash.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.