Autonomous Vehicle Engineering - September 2021 - 17

ADAS
would not cooperate. I was wearing a
COVID mask and removed it. Still no
reaction. I then removed my sunglasses
(which have caused driver-recognition
hiccups for me in GM vehicles
equipped with its hands-free Super
Cruise system) - bingo! The F-150's
instrument-cluster screen turned blue
and showed the " hands-free " icon. We
were BlueCruisin' in the middle lane
of M39. And I was very conscious of
keeping my eyes on the road ahead.
Larkin noted that the development
team chose audible warnings, rather
than physical alerts (no seat buzzers)
to correct driver inattention.
" The system 'finds' your eyes by
surveying all of your facial features, "
Larkin explained. " With the mask and
glasses on, it only has the top of your
head, your chin and ears to go by. That
makes it challenging to find where your
eyes are. It's not just what it sees, but
the analysis of it. " The facial-recognition
software is a joint development with the
system supplier, which is responsible
for the low-level image processing.
" What to do with that information is
all on the Ford side, " he said.
To ensure that the BlueCruiseequipped
vehicle obeys posted speed
limits, the system can automatically
adjust the road-speed setting. Or, to keep
pace with traffic, it enables the driver to
select a velocity range of up to 20-mph
above or below the posted speed.
Another handy feature: If BlueCruise
was engaged the last time the ACC was
active, BlueCruise automatically engages
with the next ACC activation.
The level of stress reduction
afforded by BlueCruise depends on
the driver's own acclimation to handsfree
driving. According to Larkin, new
ADAS features typically require about
45 minutes for drivers to 'trust' the
vehicle in most highway scenarios. Even
as I came to trust the F-150's L2 operation
during our demo drive, my heart
rate still raced while running a gauntlet
of 45-foot-long semitrucks doing their
usual 75-mph snake-weave.
I cautiously kept my hands in close
proximity to the steering wheel. " We let
the driver decide where to place their
hands, " Larkin said. " Part of our testing
is making sure that if anything happens
within a hands-free zone, the driver has
time to put their hands back on the wheel
if they need to react, if we're prompting
them that they need to resume control. "
When it was time to move into the right
lane to exit to another highway, I had to
resume manual " hands-on " control of
the vehicle. Lane-change assist still is in
development; " it'll be just a tap-the-turnindicator "
function, " Larkin promised. ■
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Autonomous Vehicle Engineering - September 2021

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Autonomous Vehicle Engineering - September 2021 - CVR4
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