Ford Takes on Tesla With Hands-Free Driving

Ford's new hands-free-driving product will be available on its Mustang Mach-E electric car.
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Ford  (F) - Get Report on Thursday became the latest automaker to roll out a hands-free-driving system, catching up to rivals GM  (GM) - Get Report and Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report.

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.