Hands-free driving capability is becoming an increasingly popular feature in modern cars, offering drivers the convenience of automatic acceleration, braking and turning without the need to keep their hands on the wheel. While fully automated self-driving cars may still be a thing of the future, hands-free driving offers a glimpse into what we can expect from these vehicles.
However, before making a purchase decision, car buyers need to know that only a few manufacturers currently offer hands-free driving systems. Each system has its own limitations and criteria that must be met for it to work effectively. In most cases, drivers still need to pay attention to the road at all times and be ready to take over when necessary.
Ford’s BlueCruise is one such system that provides hands-free driving capability on more than 130,000 miles of designated major highways. Updated versions also have the ability to automatically change lanes and adjust speed for sharp turns in the road. General Motors’ Super Cruise works on up to 400,000 miles of highways while Nissan’s ProPilot 2.0 operates hands-free on more than 200,000 miles of certain highways.
BMW’s extended traffic jam assistant provides hands-free driving at speeds up to 40 mph on certain roads while Mercedes-Benz will launch its first Level 3 conditional automated driving system called Driving Pilot later this year in its electric S-Class and EQS sedan models.
Tesla offers Full Self-Driving capabilities but it is not yet a self-driving system despite its name. To have hands-free capability with Tesla’s Full Self-Driving system, owners must opt for the Beta version which can operate hands-free on most regular roads or highways.
It is important for drivers to remember that while these systems offer convenience and ease-of-use, they should not be relied upon completely as they still require driver attention and intervention when necessary. As technology continues to evolve rapidly, we can expect automakers to offer even more capable drive systems in the near future.
According to Edmunds, the source of this information, hands-free driving systems are one step closer to the future.