The Dearborn, Mich., auto giant said in a news release its new Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology will open up "hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of divided highways in all 50 states and Canada."
Using hand-free mode, drivers will be able to take their hands off the steering wheel "on certain sections of pre-mapped, divided highway." But drivers must remain alert and watching the road ahead while they are doing so, Ford said.
The new technology includes "an infrared, driver-facing camera that will track eye gaze and head position," the company noted in its product-launch announcement.
In rolling out its new autopilot technology, which will be available on its Mustang Mach-E electric car, Ford made no bones about the fact that it is taking aim at Tesla, the Palo Alto, Calif., electric-vehicle maker, which rolled out a hands-free product six years ago.
Ford's launch of its new Co-Pilot360 system includes a graphic comparing the various features its new autopilot program with those offered by Tesla.
Ford said it would begin offering the hands-free driving technology - which it calls "Auto Drive Assist - on certain 2021 models and "across the Mustang Mach-E lineup."
"The stress of long highway drives remains a huge issue for drivers around the world," said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief product development and purchasing officer, in a statement.
At last check, Ford shares were off 0.6% at $6.29, GM shares were down 0.9% at $26.91 and Tesla shares were 1.1% higher at $1,003.