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    Ford’s hands-free BlueCruise feature is now available as a monthly or annual subscription

    Ford’s hands-free BlueCruise feature is now available as a monthly or annual subscription


    Ford owners can decide to activate the Level 2 driver-assist feature after buying their car as a $75 a month or $800 a year subscription.

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    A backseat view of a man behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang on the highway
    Image: Ford

    Ford is changing how it sells its hands-free BlueCruise driver-assist feature to its customers.

    Previously, customers had to decide at the dealership whether they wanted to purchase a new Ford vehicle with BlueCruise hardware installed — and they couldn’t go back and change their minds if they opted not to include it. Now, the hardware will come standard on many new vehicles, and customers can decide at any time whether they want to activate it. Most notably, they can choose to pay for it as a monthly or annual subscription.

    Most notably, they can choose to pay for it as a monthly or annual subscription

    The news comes as the broader auto industry is shifting to subscription products as a major new source of revenue. Everything from driver-assistance features to heated seats is on the table — with customers growing increasingly nervous about having to pay more often for services they previously only had to purchase once.

    BlueCruise is a Level 2 system, meaning the vehicle controls major functions like acceleration and braking as well as lane centering and automatic lane changing. And it only works on divided highways in the US and Canada. But while drivers can take their hands off the steering wheel and their feet off the pedals, they need to keep their eyes on the road and be ready to take control at a moment’s notice. Ford said that BlueCruise-equipped vehicles have already traveled over 100 million miles.

    Ford says, at present, 225,000 vehicles are equipped with BlueCruise. And it projects that an additional 500,000 vehicles will have it by the end of 2024. The company also says the feature works on 97 percent of controlled access highways in the US and Canada — which translates to around 130,000 miles of road.

    Now, customers will have several new ways in which they can get access to the feature. They can pay for it when they order their vehicle online or from a dealership, with a three-year commitment costing $2,100. If a customer doesn’t choose this option, they can also activate a $75 a month or $800 a year subscription — with a 90-day complimentary bonus.

    The new payment structure will first come to all trims of the Ford Mustang Mach-E and will soon be available to all 2024 model-year vehicles where BlueCruise is available, like the F-150 Lightning, Ford F-150, and Ford Expedition.

    The news also comes on the heels of Ford’s announcement of the hiring of former Apple executive Peter Stern to oversee the automaker’s software services.

    Ford is not the only company shifting to subscription payments for its advanced driver-assist products. Tesla started offering its Full Self-Driving feature as a $199 a month subscription in 2021. GM’s Super Cruise costs $2,500 to install upfront as well as a monthly rate to keep it active.